Canuck MegaBattery "Cleans Up" Wind Power

Thu, 2008-03-06 17:00James Glave
James Glave's picture

Canuck MegaBattery "Cleans Up" Wind Power

The trouble with wind is that it's a bit like Adam Sandler's career. Sometimes it blows, and sometimes it doesn't.

That's just fine if all you want to do is fly a kite, but if you're an electrical utility seeking a steady supply of carbon-free juice for millions of homes and businesses, the resource needs a Plan B.

For one Canadian company, that plan B is “battery.”

If the deal goes through as expected, next year Richmond, B.C.-based VRB Power Systems will install an enormous “flow battery ” in a wind farm at Donegal, Ireland.

When the North Atlantic is truly honkin', turbines will feed a steady 32 megawatts of juice into the island's grid while simultaneously charging VRB's battery.

The battery itself will be large enough to need its own warehouse. Picture a series of enormous plastic tanks containing electrolyte solution. Power will be stored in the bank and later released to the grid via a central “cell stack,” about the size of a large commerical refrigerator.

When fickle air currents abruptly die or shift and the Donegal turbine blades slow, VRB's two-megawatt-hour storage system will seamlessly kick in to pick up the slack, “filling in” the power hiccups, and turning a stop-and-go proposition into a resource that the company calls 95 percent constant.

VRB says its batteries–which can be endlessly scaled-up in size as need arises–could also work with widely distributed solar systems such the California Solar Initiative . As part of Arnie's Million Solar Roofs initiative, the Golden State has set a goal to create 3,000 megawatts of new, solar-produced electricity by 2017.

Comments

Sandler’s career does indeed sometimes blow but, not to cut him short, the rest of the time it pretty much sucks. Look at windpower from the perspective of those places where solar is an equal option. The two, in combination, can be nearly ideal in the right places.

A vanadium redox flow battery? Its not new - this technology has been in use for years. But 32MW? Thats… big. I dont think a VRFB that size has ever been built.

It will work, I am sure of it - one advantage of flow batteries is that increasing capacity just means getting a bigger tank. But cost-effective… I am not sure.

If it works well though, once one company has shown its success I predict every other wind farm is going to want one of their own.

The battery won’t be 32 MWH, that’s the whole wind farm’s output. The battery’s specs are still tba but will be closer to 2MWh.

Imagine sailing in the battery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

Cheers,

Emil Möller

How much land destruction results from Vanadium mining? When these megabatteries cease operating, and they will, where and how will these huge warehouses full of toxic waste be disposed of? How serious would a short circuit explosion of a toxic chemical warehouse containing hundreds of MWh of energy be?

I wonder if the battery has the integrated electronics that the normal removable ones do? The “lifetime” and “calibration” issues could be interesting if the battery is just a bare battery rather than a “battery package” with the other stuff integrated into it. http://www.blogspan.org/

World is moving fast we can ascertain from the technologies that are introducing day by day. MegaBattery is really a good thing and it will save electricity too. If you are willing to setup these things than you must need professional hands. For these works I would like to recommend you Jackson Electrician. For high quality professional works.

It started as a discussion about the potential for a future hydrogen economy. The protagonist of a hydrogen economy argued that hydrogen is one of the only methods to store electricity - electricity is used to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be stored and run through a hydrogen internal combustion engine or fuel cell to produce electricity when required.The antagonist argued that the efficiency losses in electrolysis, storage and subsequent electrical generation rendered hydrogen impractical as a method of electricity storage and that a hydrogen economy could never come about due to these inefficiencies, and that alternative methods of electricity storage would be used instead.
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Renewable energies are increasingly seen as the best solution to a growing global population demanding affordable access to electricity while reducing the need for toxic fossil fuels that are creating unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s the underlying message of a new report — REthinking Energy: Towards a New Power System — published this week by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

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