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#576 2021-07-23 12:33:21

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,858

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Thanks Calliban.

Calliban wrote:

Hardness of ice increases as temperature declines.
http://www.minsocam.org/ammin/AM43/AM43_48.pdf

At -50°C it is as hard and strong as ordinary grade concrete.  You would need explosives to mine it.  Or lots of low grade heat.


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#577 2021-07-23 18:22:36

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,858

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Yes I recall the article.


tahanson43206 wrote:

The company behind the technology described in the article at the link below would appear to be solidly in Louis' corner:

https://www.fool.com/investing/2021/07/ … renewable/

But Somerville, MA's Form Energy has built a battery powered by pellets of iron, one of the world's most common elements, which costs a mere $6 per kilowatt-hour of storage on individual cells. Packaged in a battery system, the cost comes squarely in line with experts' $20 per kilowatt-hour target.
Form Energy's battery functions by intaking and expelling oxygen, and using an electrical current to charge and discharge iron to rust and back again, charging the battery in the process.

I wonder what efficiency is possible with this curious mechanism.

The article reminds me of a discussion started by (I think Louis) when I first joined the forum.  It was about a company (or more likely a college) investigating combustion of iron power as a way to create steam.  The output of the process would have been clinkers of rust.

A battery based upon the principle of oxidation of iron would (presumably) not require high temperatures.

If someone with posting privileges is inspired to investigate this report, I'd be interested to learn more about the concept.

If the process has reached the press, it would (presumably) have patent applications on file, so there might be something available in US government files.

(th)


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#578 2021-07-23 18:30:11

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,858

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Form Energy's battery (referred to by TA) does sound like it could be the Holy Grail of green energy - and who would bet against a Bezos-backed company? 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech … -days.html

I particularly like the idea it can store energy for 150 hours potentially. That's over 6 days - and I think that would mean in a country like the UK, a green energy system could be entirely reliable, with no intermittency in output. When I've looked at charts of very low wind/solar in the UK the maximum period seems about 3-4 days.

I am not sure how the $20 per KwH of storage figure translates into cost of power ouput per KwH.


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#579 2021-07-23 18:46:14

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,858

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Re land usage, that can of course (I assume) be addressed by building "up".  I can't see any particular reason why you couldn't have a ten level warehouse if you wanted. It would be a lot more expensive of course, but could last for hundred years.  However in the USA, there is still abundant land available in most States so it's probably not much of an issue there.

I think as well, that in terms of solar and wind such a system would allow you to operate with fewer wind turbines and solar panels, thus taking up less acreage for the energy generation (I am assuming that would be the case because currently a lot of energy is earthed ie wasted when there is an oversupply but with this system, in perods of over supply all the excess energy could be stored, so at other times the "oversupply" can be fed back into baseload. I am not sure how much smaller the wind and solar capacity could be but I'm thinking maybe something like 10%.

Exciting times!   

kbd512 wrote:

tahanson43206,

While very interesting from a cost and simplicity perspective, and I do like technology that is both simple and cheap because it means John Q. Public understands how to use and maintain it and can actually afford to do so (it looks stupidly simple to me, which is why it just might work), Form Energy says they can achieve a power storage density of around 3 MW / 450MWh PER ACRE of land surface area, and that each individual battery cell is approximately the size of a washing machine.  Their pilot project battery would then cover about 1/3rd of an acre of land, provide 1MWe of continuous power and store 150MWh of energy (1MWe for 150 hours).  For comparison purposes, a fossil fuel energy storage mechanism providing 150MWh of energy, at 50% thermodynamic efficiency, requires roughly 7,412 gallons of crude oil.  Current combined cycle gas turbines achieve 65% thermal efficiency and solid oxide fuel cells can achieve 80% thermal-to-electrical efficiency, so Form Energy's solution faces stiff competition wherever land area is at a premium.  Apart from that issue, which is significant in many places, I like every other aspect of what they did.  It's cheap, abundant, easily recyclable, and completely non-toxic (Iron / Oxygen / Salt / Water).  If we can obtain enough energy to mine the raw materials without falling into an energy trap, then it makes good sense to me.  They're claiming that their battery can also last for 20+ years, which is highly desirable and perhaps more important than all other considerations.  We need to start thinking about energy generating and storage technologies in terms of human lifetimes, and start building infrastructure that withstands the test of time, because renewable energy doesn't provide the same amount of surplus energy as coal / gas / oil or nuclear energy.

Large Scale, Long Duration Energy Storage, and the Future of Renewables Generation

Form Energy Announces Pilot with Great River Energy to Enable the Utility’s Transition to an Affordable, Reliable and Renewable Electricity Grid

As the above link indicates, Form Energy is demonstrating a 1MW / 150MWh capacity battery for Great River Energy.


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#580 2021-07-23 19:29:12

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

The duration of power stored energy to usage has to do with current draw design and not the batteries ability.

There are batteries used in smoke detectors that have a 10 year period of use for providing power…. so hope is nothing without facts....

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#581 2021-07-23 20:06:22

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,612

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

Louis,

Is it easier to stack washing machines that weigh as much as SUVs when they're sitting on the ground or when they're 100 feet up?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

You need 8,993m^2 to store 1GWh worth of electricity.

1/3 acre = 1348.950792

1348.950792 / 150MWh = 8.99300528m^2 per MWh

8.993m^/2 * 1,000MWh = 8,993m^2

Net generation for US nuclear plants was 809TWh in 2019.

809 * 0.5 = 404.5TWh (assumes wind and solar combined provide a 50% capacity factor to provide half of the total power requirement)

404.5TWh = 404,500,000MWh

404,500,000MWh * 8.99300528MWh/m^2 = 3,637,670,635.76m^2 = 3,637.67km^2

But nuclear power only provides 20% of our power so that figure represents 10% of the requirement if you make 50% and store 50% of what you need when wind and solar produce nothing.

So... 36,376.7km^2

That's equivalent to the total land area of Maryland and Rhode Island combined.  Granted, those are two of our smallest states, but you should drive through both of them to get a sense for how big they truly are, then imagine a battery sitting atop every square inch of both states.

When these things are filled with electrolyte, they will weigh about as much as 1/4m^3 of Iron plus 3/4m^3 of H2O (at least 2,725kg/m^3, and possibly double that based upon the prototype design I saw- tough for me to judge mass, but it looks like a giant steel cheese grater).  That means you'll need a foundation more solid than any skyscraper in existence to hold up the crushing weight of a 10 story battery made that way, and then that structure will cover the entire land area of Rhode Island.  A 50 story skyscraper with 3,000m^2 of floor space per floor only weighs approximately 250,000t (steel reinforced concrete, excluding the foundation, obviously).  Each square meter of "battery space" weighs as much as 1/9th of that entire 250,000t building, excluding the foundation.  If the actual battery weight is closer to 5,000kg, then that's delving deep into the realm of absurdity.

Maybe for offshore use in floating platforms so we don't have to construct the world most solid and therefore expensive foundation across a land are twice the size of Wales?

Or maybe this is pure fantasy?

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#582 2021-07-23 20:34:38

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,297

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

For kbd512 re #581

Thanks for the easy-for-me-to-follow math in your reply to Louis ...

The idea of a floating platform is actually pretty good, although (I suspect) you may have tossed if off as a free bonus.

The best place for both wind and solar plants is floating on various oceans, and the battery system we're discussing in this (recent) sequence looks (to me at this point anyway) as capable of deployment at sea. 

Production of Hydrogen (and Oxygen as a useful byproduct) or Ammonia is practical at sea, and the infrastructure for shipping stored energy around the world already exists.

***
An objection that Calliban makes repeatedly is that wind and solar power devices require maintenance.  That fact could be taken into account in a well conceived vertically integrated facility at sea .... The materials needed for the initial configuration of a "permanent/self-maintaining" facility would be a one time investment.  Lubricants would needed to be imported, but I suspect even they can be fabricated on site, because Carbon is available from the atmosphere. It seems to me that thinking on this scale is needed to overcome all the traditional objections.

Can anyone (who is a member with posting privileges) think of anything I've overlooked?

(th)

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#583 2021-07-24 08:41:35

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,858

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

I think there's a maths error in your post in the following section.

404,500,000MWh * 8.99300528MWh/m^2 = 3,637,670,635.76m^2 = 3,637.67km^2

But nuclear power only provides 20% of our power so that figure represents 10% of the requirement if you make 50% and store 50% of what you need when wind and solar produce nothing.

So... 36,376.7km^2

Surely you should be multiplying the 3,637.67 figure by 2.5 (20% x 2.5 = 50%) not 10 to get the storage requirement (as defined by you - not me, see below).  That would give you a figure of 9094 sq kms as the total land area under your analysis

However, that's still to misread the situation.

No way would you be storing 50% of the energy requirement. You would be storing whatever percentage in a year's total green energy output (solar + wind + hydro + geothermal + energy from waste + wave + tidal + sea current + biofuel) fell short of the required total.  Remember the non-intermittent elements like hydro and energy from waste can probably be ramped up to 15% of total during periods of low wind and solar. So it's really a question of how do you ensure the remaining 85% is non-intermittent using the storage system. 

For that, you have to look at days when wind and solar fails to meet 85% of the energy requirement and days when it exceeds that requirement (possibly above 100% on some days). When I've looked at the UK there are maybe on average 3-4 days per month when there is very low wind and solar. But there are also days when there is an abundance of wind and solar energy. The shortfall periods maybe amount to 10% of the total produced. That would amount to roughly 36 days of needing to be supplied from stored energy but of course you aren't just draining batteries all the time, you are also replenishing them in times of surplus. I suspect the 150 hours target storage time (just over 6 days) was chosen carefully and  equates to this sort of scenario where you are having to provide about 10% of the total energy output from storage (let's say beyond diurnal storage which won't be an issue). 6 days would cover both a freakish low period and also a period when Period A of low wind and solar is followed quickly - say within a week by a second Period B of low wind and solar.

At 150 hours, the overall storage capacity would be less than 2% of 85% of annual energy output.

So on your figures I make that a total area  requirement for the Form Energy system of 309.2 sq. kms. Somewhat less that your figure! If all the units were housed in 10 storey equivalents of concrete car parks that would be a land requirement of 30.9 sq kms or 5.5 kms x 5.5 kms.  If that were split into 1000 facilities dotted around the country each unit would be 4000 sq. metres or 63 metres x 63 metres.

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

Is it easier to stack washing machines that weigh as much as SUVs when they're sitting on the ground or when they're 100 feet up?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

You need 8,993m^2 to store 1GWh worth of electricity.

1/3 acre = 1348.950792

1348.950792 / 150MWh = 8.99300528m^2 per MWh

8.993m^/2 * 1,000MWh = 8,993m^2

Net generation for US nuclear plants was 809TWh in 2019.

809 * 0.5 = 404.5TWh (assumes wind and solar combined provide a 50% capacity factor to provide half of the total power requirement)

404.5TWh = 404,500,000MWh

404,500,000MWh * 8.99300528MWh/m^2 = 3,637,670,635.76m^2 = 3,637.67km^2

But nuclear power only provides 20% of our power so that figure represents 10% of the requirement if you make 50% and store 50% of what you need when wind and solar produce nothing.

So... 36,376.7km^2

That's equivalent to the total land area of Maryland and Rhode Island combined.  Granted, those are two of our smallest states, but you should drive through both of them to get a sense for how big they truly are, then imagine a battery sitting atop every square inch of both states.

When these things are filled with electrolyte, they will weigh about as much as 1/4m^3 of Iron plus 3/4m^3 of H2O (at least 2,725kg/m^3, and possibly double that based upon the prototype design I saw- tough for me to judge mass, but it looks like a giant steel cheese grater).  That means you'll need a foundation more solid than any skyscraper in existence to hold up the crushing weight of a 10 story battery made that way, and then that structure will cover the entire land area of Rhode Island.  A 50 story skyscraper with 3,000m^2 of floor space per floor only weighs approximately 250,000t (steel reinforced concrete, excluding the foundation, obviously).  Each square meter of "battery space" weighs as much as 1/9th of that entire 250,000t building, excluding the foundation.  If the actual battery weight is closer to 5,000kg, then that's delving deep into the realm of absurdity.

Maybe for offshore use in floating platforms so we don't have to construct the world most solid and therefore expensive foundation across a land are twice the size of Wales?

Or maybe this is pure fantasy?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#584 2021-08-03 15:42:32

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,858

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

I think there was a big error in kbd's calculation but not sure if kbd accepts that...(see post above).

Anyway we are seeing very interesting developments all round. Void posted a link to http://www.novasolix.com/

What I particularly like about their presentation video is that, although they have a very good story to tell about efficiency, they realise it means nothing unless you can drive down price and destroy the competition. Essentially they are saying the same that I am - it's not EROI that is crucial, it's price and price reflects the amount of labour coming together in a product.

Whether novasolix has what it takes to make the grade we will see, but I like the concept and it's one that will work well on Mars.


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#585 2021-09-09 12:12:09

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,297

Re: Going Solar...the best solution for Mars.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/sola … 51060.html

This report ought to be encouraging to forum members who are advocating for solar cells ...

Solar Startup Born in a Garage Is Beating China to Cheaper Panels
Ashlee Vance
Thu, September 9, 2021, 4:05 AM
(Bloomberg) -- About seven years ago, Vince Allen barged into the garage he shared with some flatmates in a Sydney suburb and set about trying to shake up the solar industry. He was at the time a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, and he had an idea for making solar panels much cheaper: replace the expensive silver typically used to pull electricity out of the devices with plentiful, cheap copper.

Shi, the SunDrive investor nicknamed “Sun King,” said it will be hard to find enough affordable silver if the solar business grows as predicted. Over the next decade, he expects to see manufacturers move to a 50-50 split between silver and copper in the solar cells. “The shift to copper is something that we’ve long desired but has been very hard to do,” he said.

He recalled visiting Allen at his homemade lab and being surprised by what the PhD student had accomplished. “He had all these simple tools and things he’d bought off Amazon,” Shi said. “Innovation really is related to the individual and sometimes the right moment, and not to being at a big company with lots of resources.”

(th)

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