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Old 10-25-2014, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,536,189 times
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MIT professor Donald Sadoway has invented "dirt batteries" that can be made locally all over the world, that are so cheap they can be used for large scale energy storage everywhere. And This could be the missing link to allow renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.

Quote:
What if batteries were as cheap as dirt?

In a new video produced by investment advisors Alger, Donald Sadoway explains how truly cheap, scalable energy storage could change the way the electric grid has worked for the last 150 years.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLN0F2aldlI

The charismatic inventor and professor of materials chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has become well-known for his lab’s path-breaking work on affordable, long-lasting, large-format liquid-metal batteries (see related TheEnergyCollective.com coverage: “New Formulation Leads to Improved Liquid Battery” and “Re-Inventing the Grid”).

Electricity is the one commodity for which bulk storage is currently impractical. This fact, coupled with the at-the-speed-of-light physics of electricity means that generators must meet electricity demand instantaneously by ramping up and down to respond to fluctuating loads. That's no small feat of engineering, and the continent-scale power grids built since the days of Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse probably constitute the largest, synchronized machines ever built by humankind.
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But what if we could really make batteries "as cheap as dirt" as Sadoway envisions?

In that kind of future, we would finally have a practical buffer between electricity supply and demand, and excess production could be stored for when it's needed most. Used in this manner, batteries offer a fine complement to nuclear power stations, enabling reactors to run at full output 24-7, saving nighttime production to meet midday peaks in demand (see: “Can Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy Learn to Get Along?”).
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,536,189 times
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And in this longer followup, visionary Professor Sadoway looks ahead 50 years, and talks about using his liguid-metal battery designs to free renewable energy sources from their intermittancy limitations, how to break the electrical grid into micro-grids, how to fully electrify the world, and how to use an electrical steel making process to clean CO2 from the air.

Yeah, the sponsor is an investment company, but the message is fascinating science visioning, not a commercial.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iwG32R2R5o
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Old 10-25-2014, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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....A simple study of REACTIVE power and the ability of any system to meet instantaneous demand response all the while maintaining 60 Hz may be beneficial....
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:06 PM
 
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It could revolutionize the EV industry. Cost of the battery is a major barrier. Now if they can extend the range and reduce charging time, gasoline gets serious competition.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,536,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
It could revolutionize the EV industry. Cost of the battery is a major barrier. Now if they can extend the range and reduce charging time, gasoline gets serious competition.
I may be wrong, but I think this liquid metal battery type, operating at high temperatures but somewhat low energy densities and heavy weights, is destined for static installations, not mobile use, where the energy density required is much higher.

The significance is that if you have solar cells on the roof, and a "dirt battery" storage system, you can charge up during the day and draw upon the stored energy when the sun is down.
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Old 10-26-2014, 11:04 AM
 
Location: DC
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If it were that easy, it would have already been done.
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Old 10-26-2014, 11:15 AM
 
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Maybe? Seems a lot of the grid balancing act is fixed by expanding generation with peakers. Inevitably the peakers will become the generators, as installing new capacity is a no-no. Then, I see the grid balancing including batteries and the AC-DC-AC equipment needed to utilize them.
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Old 10-26-2014, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,536,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCforever View Post
If it were that easy, it would have already been done.
Couldn't that be said about just about any new technology that has ever been discovered? The point is, inventing thistechnology has been incredibly complex, refining it has taken a lot of effort, and it has only recently achieved a level of practicality. But one of the new solar concentrator generating plants in California is running a large storage battery of Professor Sadoway's design, and it is performing as expected.

Sometimes the good stuff just takes time, as well as a bit of courage to step out past the known.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:22 AM
 
Location: DC
6,506 posts, read 6,426,164 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Couldn't that be said about just about any new technology that has ever been discovered? The point is, inventing thistechnology has been incredibly complex, refining it has taken a lot of effort, and it has only recently achieved a level of practicality. But one of the new solar concentrator generating plants in California is running a large storage battery of Professor Sadoway's design, and it is performing as expected.

Sometimes the good stuff just takes time, as well as a bit of courage to step out past the known.
It will likely be years before utility scale batteries are commercially viable. I've seen virtually this same announcement every few years for the last 35 years. Someday it will come true. Betting that today is that day is a poor wager. This technology is still at the laboratory R&D phase.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,536,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCforever View Post
It will likely be years before utility scale batteries are commercially viable. I've seen virtually this same announcement every few years for the last 35 years. Someday it will come true. Betting that today is that day is a poor wager. This technology is still at the laboratory R&D phase.
Is it? I understand it has been deployed on at least one big solar farm in the California desert. And there's something similar being used in Kona, Hawai'i.

But the argument that because something hasn't been done yet it's not likely ever to be done ignores the fact that history is full of technical advances that hovered on the brink for years, until suddenly something clicked somewhere. Maybe some other development was needed first. Maybe the right opportunity needed to present itself, or the right sponsor. There are many different factors that can cause a critical breakthrough to occur.

In this case, I think the need for large scale energy storage to solve the intermittancy issue with renewable energy sources has created the kind of urgency that brings a lot of attention to bear. That may enough to push this technology past the tipping point. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.
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