Concrete battery

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Anaxagoras
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Concrete battery

Post by Anaxagoras » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:24 am

Energy Vault to build grid-level, gravity-fed battery from a tower of concrete blocks
Meeting our growing energy demands without continuing to destroy the planet might be one of the biggest challenges of our time, and it calls for some pretty creative solutions. Swiss company Energy Vault has just launched an innovative new system that stores potential energy in a huge tower of concrete blocks, which can be "dropped" by a crane to harvest the kinetic energy.
Neat idea, huh? All mechanical. Not a typical battery with an electro-chemical reaction. Just a bunch of heavy blocks that get stacked to store potential energy and unstacked to release the energy. They claim up to 90% efficiency, which sounds maybe too good to be true but I honestly don't know.
The company says each tower can be built to have a capacity of up to 35 MWh and 4 MW peak power based on their size, with the modularity of the system allowing capacity to be increased by building more towers. While it might seem big and cumbersome, the crane can be generating power in as little as 2.9 seconds, and has a roundtrip energy efficiency of about 90 percent. And unlike chemical storage systems, once those bricks are stacked up, that energy won't "leak" out or degrade.
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Abdul Alhazred
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:13 pm

How much power is used to stack them?
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Rob Lister » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:23 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:13 pm
How much power is used to stack them?
The maker claims 90% efficiency so the answer is 110% of the power derived from dropping them.

For comparison, li-ion has 99 percent charge efficiency

The article neglected the as-built cost per kW and kWh.

Better put, does it weigh more or less than the usual duck.
Last edited by Rob Lister on Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:25 pm

On the plus side, the "battery" can be "recharged" without using electricity.

But how cost effective is slave labor these days? :p
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ceptimus
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by ceptimus » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:24 pm

Looks like a maintenance nightmare to me. I don't think it would work well in freezing conditions or in high winds. Perhaps it's worth a try in a hot country that doesn't suffer many windy days, but I'm very sceptical. The blurb says it can use cheap recycled concrete substitute for the blocks, but I don't think these would have the necessary mechanical strength to allow them to be stacked into a tall, stable, tower. Ordinary concrete would do the trick, but it's not a very green material to produce in the first place.

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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Rob Lister » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:40 pm

ceptimus wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:24 pm
Looks like a maintenance nightmare to me.
maybe
I don't think it would work well in freezing conditions or in high winds.
It'd be okay.
Perhaps it's worth a try in a hot country that doesn't suffer many windy days, but I'm very sceptical.
stop being a hater

I can't believe I am defending this.

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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Anaxagoras » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:51 pm

The biggest reason to be skeptical is that as of now it's only an idea. I don't think they've built the first prototype yet.
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Witness » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:35 am

Anaxagoras wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:51 pm
The biggest reason to be skeptical is that as of now it's only an idea. I don't think they've built the first prototype yet.
Another being that they are very discreet about the specs (height, mass of the blocks, &c.).

And as for maintenance, as ceptimus said, near the sea and its wind turbines you'd also have corrosion, and in dry country sand and grit. (The Sahara killed one of my cameras, and it wasn't during a sandstorm…)

But at least it's a fresh idea. :)

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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:31 am

Thunderf00t destroys.



As usual, he breathlesss goes on far too long, but the short-long of it is that a fucking water tower or lake reservoir would do the same thing without the massively numerous moving parts.

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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Anaxagoras » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:23 pm

He's a meanie.

But, he's absolutely right. A liquid makes much more sense than building blocks. Not as heavy in the same volume but every other property favors the liquid.
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by ed » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:35 pm

Why not a massive armature that rides on pylons set in an area with large tides. Tide comes in, fucker goes up, generates power. Tide goes out, the reverse (except for the power generation).

It occurs to me that the output would be a sinusoid with a period of 8 hours.
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Anaxagoras » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:37 pm

The problem with tides is that nobody can explain them.
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:16 pm

ed wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:35 pm
... a sinusoid with a period of 8 hours.
Alternating current. :BigGrin3:
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:21 pm

ed wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:35 pm
Why not a massive armature that rides on pylons set in an area with large tides. Tide comes in, fucker goes up, generates power. Tide goes out, the reverse (except for the power generation).

It occurs to me that the output would be a sinusoid with a period of 8 hours.
I think the mechanical leverage required for a massive float to turn a generator in response to the tides makes that very impractical. Something more extreme, for example, would be anchoring a cable and generator on both sides of the San Andreas Fault.

But there are tidal generators. Their major issues are cost, saltwater corrosion, and barnacles.

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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:50 pm

One interesting proposal from a while back was giant submerged turbines to harness the Gulf Stream.
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Anaxagoras » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:00 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:50 pm
One interesting proposal from a while back was giant submerged turbines to harness the Gulf Stream.
I suppose there's lots of forces of nature that would make great power sources if only there were a practical way to harness them. When I was younger I wondered if we couldn't harness the power of lightning somehow. Unfortunately, we don't need a huge, instantaneous current, we need a moderate steady current, and you can't really convert the former into the latter. Or at least no one has figured out how to yet.
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:20 pm

IIRC the objections were ...

1) Would require massive cooperation between the USA and Cuba.
2) Would mess up the climate in Europe (but I say fuck'm).
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Anaxagoras » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:28 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:20 pm
IIRC the objections were ...

1) Would require massive cooperation between the USA and Cuba.
2) Would mess up the climate in Europe (but I say fuck'm).
I'm sure there's lots of practical engineering problems too.

Then there's the cost, salt water corrosion and barnacles, like Rob says. Any equipment you put in the ocean is going to have those issues.

How about the Great Lakes? Is there not a lot of water flowing through those?
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:47 pm

Hydroelectric at Niagara Falls is already in place.

Why go underwater when you don't have to?
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Re: Concrete battery

Post by sparks » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:14 pm

Wave generation. Unfortunately, this method is merely second-hand wind generation. Why bother? Just put a shit load of wind turbines off shore. Sorry about the view. And fuck you too lady.

As for tide generation, the best idea back when seems to have been a large catch basin with gates. Gates are open until high tide, then close the gates. Tide goes out, you release the stored seawater through your turbine blades. The higher the tides, the better this looks and I don't believe anyone ever built one because it was a shit idea to begin with. ed.!!! :)
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