DailyDirt: Better (Bigger) Batteries

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Battery technology is getting better all the time, but unfortunately not quite at the same pace as Moore's law. While some folks lament the bottleneck of pocket-sized batteries that limit the operation of a phone or laptop to just a few hours (or a couple days on standby), some bigger batteries out there are limiting the growth of renewable energy use. Here are just a few battery projects that could solve some larger scale energy problems. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  1. identicon
    tek'a, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 11:29pm

    battery installation should be ready to produce electricity in 2016

    "Produce" feels wrong in this case. It is just a way to smooth out the grid and reduce peaking generators, things like that, right? The facility is energy storage and supply, so, supply?

    Other than that, why are all the really cool things supposed to be seven to ten years away forever? It's probably just perception.. I want the future now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 11:57pm


    not really, all energy is stored in a way, and then gets released or "produced" by a device. So it is in fact a correct usage of the word.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re:

    Not really, electrical energy from a power station is not stored it's generated as required, with significant standby running costs.

    The benefit of batteries is they can stop off peak power and use it for peak, the first post if correct batteries do not produce power, they store it.

    Batteries are also DC, Direct Current, the grid is AC (alternating current) for the batter to be grid connected you require an inverter. Batteries are 'lossy' they take more energy to charge than they can deliver when discharging, plus the inverter has losses as well.

    Also being low voltage and high current you need very heavy cables to transfer power and you cannot transmit it long distances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I meant the fuel from the power station, in a way its stored power. Coal, oil, gas, its all stored. much like a battery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 18th, 2013 @ 10:45am


    "Produce" feels wrong in this case.

    The use is correct. By definition, batteries produce electricity through chemical reactions. This is as opposed to things like supercaps, which don't produce electricity themselves but simply store it for later use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    DB (profile), Oct 18th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Tying this into renewable energy is a red herring.

    Most renewable sources are indeed irregular and unpredictable. Solar PV is an obvious one. It only works during the day, with most power only during the few hours around noon. And there are both short-term and long term interruptions: a passing cloud can cause a sudden 90% drop in power production, and a storm system can effectively shut off power from the system for a week.

    But with current usage levels and patterns that irregularity isn't a crisis. Solar PV and wind power are contribute such a small percentage of the electric power generation that even increasing them by an order of magnitude won't, by themselves, require batteries on the grid.

    Batteries on the grid would actually be much more useful to run large power plants more efficiently. It takes hours to ramp up the power output of a large coal fired plant, largely because of the thermal stresses of increasing the temperature of the boilers. Nuclear plants are even slower. The fission reaction is a long cascade of different processes, with many intermediate unstable atoms. Turning up the plant is like throwing a giant log on the fire. The reactor will continue producing lots of power for days, and a major amount of power for the following weeks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Coal, oil etc. is stored FUEL, not power, to convert fuel into power you need further processes, ie. A power station.

    A power station burns coal and 'produces' electricity, a battery takes electricity and gives out (most) of the electricity you put in it.

    If a power station acted like a battery, it would use coal to produce coal, or store the energy in the same form as it was received.

    A power station takes coal and produces (it's product) electricity.

    A battery takes that product (electricity) and stores it in that for (electricity) it has no product of it's own, you fill it up with a product and later you can take that product out of it (plus losses).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re:

    batteries store electrical energy through chemical reactions (ionic potentials).

    Chemical reactions created by the application of that same electricity (ie, you charge the battery).

    Supercaps store their electrical energy from electrostatic fields, inductors store their electrical energy from electromagnetic fields.

    But if you can only do a '2 terminal' analysis of a batter, or a bank of super caps then you would not be able to determine any real difference, you would find from your analysis that you are able to apply electrical power to the 2 terminals, and see that you able to retrieve that same energy back out.

    Now do the same 2 terminal analysis on the output of a coal fired power station, would your analysis be different.

    Again, unless you put electricity in a battery it is not going to produce any electricity OUT of the battery, a battery is an electricity store, not a producer of electricity.

    or, before you can get electricity out of a battery, you need to produce it and put it in the battery, then that battery can store that electricity and supply it at another time.
    But the battery itself cannot produce that electricity, you need something like a generator, to generate electricity and produce it for the battery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re:

    I have a bucket here full of water, can I therefore say that the bucket produced that water ? or would it be more accurate to state that the bucket is storing that water ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Fuel is energy you dullard

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2013 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    no it is not you dullard, fuel is 'potential' energy, it's fuel before then.

    Try using a piece of coal to run your computer !!! fuel is fuel, energy is energy.. I don't expect you to understand... you know.. SIMPLE WORDS !!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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