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(Nano Werk)   Cool: Department of Energy announces $30 million in new funds to develop reliable solar energy. Degree of difficulty: when the sun isn't out   (nanowerk.com) divider line 74
    More: Interesting, Department of Energy, financing, solar energy, ARPA, data storage device, power transfers, 33rd state, converters  
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904 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Jul 2013 at 3:30 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-19 01:56:22 PM  
The Sun is always out.
 
2013-07-19 02:34:22 PM  
Orbiting mirrors.
 
2013-07-19 03:17:40 PM  
30 million?  WOW!
 
2013-07-19 03:19:00 PM  
Molten salt
 
2013-07-19 03:36:15 PM  

the_sidewinder: Molten salt


bingo.
 
2013-07-19 03:40:42 PM  
Seems dumb.  Just invest in more Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.  If the Sun is out and is generating more solar power than can be used, water is pumped up hill with the excess.  Water with gravity goes through turbines to generate electricity again when not enough power from the Sun.
 
2013-07-19 03:41:05 PM  
I thought Solyndra already went under.
 
2013-07-19 03:43:43 PM  

meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt

bingo.


yep, or any other way to store thermal energy. either use it to make steam and run normal turbine generators,

or... peltier junctions wired up backwards....on smaller scales..
 
2013-07-19 03:43:53 PM  
The Polish already tried this.
 
2013-07-19 03:43:56 PM  
Drill the sun.
 
2013-07-19 03:44:55 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt

bingo.

yep, or any other way to store thermal energy. either use it to make steam and run normal turbine generators,

or... peltier junctions wired up backwards....on smaller scales..


Solar. Power. Fly. Wheels.
 
2013-07-19 03:46:52 PM  
Just ask the Germans what they're using.  They've gone deep into solar energy and Germany is about as sunny as Alaska is.
 
2013-07-19 03:47:59 PM  

the_sidewinder: Molten salt


notebookspec.com
 
2013-07-19 03:49:32 PM  

BigLuca: The Polish already tried this.


No, that was their project to make a water cooled submarine that generated energy by means of a screen door attached to a flywheel.
 
2013-07-19 03:49:39 PM  

SevenizGud: I thought


I really doubt that.
 
2013-07-19 03:53:06 PM  
the $ would be FAR FAR FAR better spent finding higher efficiency normal PV's that operate without one of the 5 most rare elements in existence, combined with a huge thrust to actually commercialize working Li-Air batteries (yay for theoretical energy density on par with gasoline)  to store excess generation during the night.
 
2013-07-19 03:54:02 PM  
Morton salt.
 
2013-07-19 04:04:20 PM  

LasersHurt: Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt

bingo.

yep, or any other way to store thermal energy. either use it to make steam and run normal turbine generators,

or... peltier junctions wired up backwards....on smaller scales..

Solar. Power. Fly. Wheels.


I like that too,

making electricity is fairly easy, and can be done many ways. scale and economy are the bigger hurdles.
 
2013-07-19 04:05:13 PM  

Leader O'Cola: the $ would be FAR FAR FAR better spent finding higher efficiency normal PV's that operate without one of the 5 most rare elements in existence,


You don't have any idea at all what you are talking about, do you?
 
2013-07-19 04:14:33 PM  

Leader O'Cola: commercialize working Li-Air batteries (yay for theoretical energy density on par with gasoline)  to store excess generation during the night.


Sigh.  For stationary storage, energy density means exactly jack and shiat.  Low cost and high cycle life is all that matters.  Flow batteries are probably the best bet there.  Lithium Air batteries will be great for electric vehicles.  But they likely will never be used for grid storage.  Unless it ends up being super cheap.
 
2013-07-19 04:22:05 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: LasersHurt: Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt


making electricity is fairly easy, and can be done many ways. scale and economy are the bigger hurdles.


Let's see. There's boiling water (nuclear, oil, gas and coal units), running water through dams (hydro), or converting sunlight into electricity through esoteric means. Or we can use orbiting mirrors to boil water.
 
2013-07-19 04:24:10 PM  
 
2013-07-19 04:27:29 PM  
For what they want to do it seems pretty simple.
Pump water uphill into a reservoir (or pump air into a tank, crank weights up an incline, flywheels, etc...) and then recover the power at night.   You can also spend the daytime power on more energy demanding industries like steel mills or for making fuel from air or water.

The real way to get endless solar power is to go where the sun don't stop shining.

dl.dropboxusercontent.com
 
2013-07-19 04:30:02 PM  

the_sidewinder: Molten salt


Yeah, isn't there a big test plant in Cyprus doing exactly this?
 
2013-07-19 04:31:24 PM  
I rather like Musk's latest idea. Building charging stations with large batteries to minimize charging times for electric cars. And charge the greenies to store their excess power.
 
2013-07-19 04:32:45 PM  

simplicimus: Cerebral Knievel: LasersHurt: Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt


making electricity is fairly easy, and can be done many ways. scale and economy are the bigger hurdles.

Let's see. There's boiling water (nuclear, oil, gas and coal units), running water through dams (hydro), or converting sunlight into electricity through esoteric means. Or we can use orbiting mirrors to boil water.


Electrochemical (batteries, etc)
Thermoelectric
Piezoelectric
Wind generation
Betavoltaics (radioactive decay)

And that list is just from 30 seconds pulling from the wikipedia entry on Electricity Generation.
 
2013-07-19 04:33:59 PM  

Munden: Seems dumb.  Just invest in more Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.  If the Sun is out and is generating more solar power than can be used, water is pumped up hill with the excess.  Water with gravity goes through turbines to generate electricity again when not enough power from the Sun.


Difficulty: finding a place to put your pumped-hydro storage reservoir.
 
2013-07-19 04:39:22 PM  

Driedsponge: simplicimus: Cerebral Knievel: LasersHurt: Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt


making electricity is fairly easy, and can be done many ways. scale and economy are the bigger hurdles.

Let's see. There's boiling water (nuclear, oil, gas and coal units), running water through dams (hydro), or converting sunlight into electricity through esoteric means. Or we can use orbiting mirrors to boil water.

Electrochemical (batteries, etc)
Thermoelectric
Piezoelectric
Wind generation
Betavoltaics (radioactive decay)

And that list is just from 30 seconds pulling from the wikipedia entry on Electricity Generation.


Batteries release stored energy, usually less than was put in. Thermal power is used to boil water. Wind is useful, the other two I don't see in widescale use  anytime soon.
 
2013-07-19 04:40:13 PM  

Munden: Just invest in more Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.


Hydroelectricity is only 7% of the nation's power generation, and IIRC we're already at about 2/3 of the country's max potential for hydropower.  Growth is limited.
 
2013-07-19 04:42:07 PM  

Di Atribe: The Sun is always out.

there
FTFY
 
2013-07-19 04:42:55 PM  

Driedsponge: Betavoltaics (radioactive decay)


That's an interesting thought experiment: using excess solar power to run a particle accelerator to create fissionable materials to use in nuclear power plants. I wonder what the percentage efficiency that would entail?
 
2013-07-19 04:43:16 PM  
For all you suggesting "pumped storage hydroelectricity", it already has been deployed. It uses proven technology though is has problems with efficiency (~75%), size, and capital cost. It can make economic sense when excess energy would go to waste.

ARPA is probably looking for advances in flow battery technology though they surely are open to other schemes not measured in acres.
 
2013-07-19 04:46:20 PM  

meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt

bingo.


My first thought as well.
 
2013-07-19 04:56:30 PM  

Ambitwistor: Munden: Just invest in more Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

Hydroelectricity is only 7% of the nation's power generation, and IIRC we're already at about 2/3 of the country's max potential for hydropower.  Growth is limited.


'Pump stored' means you take excess electricity on the grid and run pumps that move water from a reservoir to another at a higher elevation.  Then when you need the electricity back you drain the upper reservoir into the lower through a hydro plant.
 
2013-07-19 04:57:02 PM  

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: Drill the sun.


Sounds dangerous.

comedycentral.mtvnimages.com
 
2013-07-19 05:00:20 PM  
spinoff.comicbookresources.com
already covered this with their satellites...
 
2013-07-19 05:04:55 PM  
If the sun went out we'd have bigger problems than electricity generation on our plate anyway.
 
2013-07-19 05:18:06 PM  
You can barely run a baseball team on $30 million.  A year.

Whee.
 
2013-07-19 05:24:12 PM  

dragonchild: You can barely run a baseball team on $30 million.  A year.

Whee.


Looking at it another way, each American is being asked to chip in about a dime to work at solving one of the major issues of our day.
 
2013-07-19 05:25:23 PM  
Flywheels and molten salt can be set up anywhere... Pumped hydro, maybe notsomuch.

Peltier junctions would be great for generating power in otherwise wasted space if they weren't so darn inefficient... Just drill deep groundwater wells alongside a road or parking lot and make use of the temperature difference between the hot blacktop and the 10C water 100' down. You could have a sealed, no-moving-parts source of predictable power with a huge reservoir of heat on one side and of cold on the other.

Of course, I'd like to see every warehouse and Walmart roof covered with the cheapest / most cost effective possible PVs for grid storage... Ideally, some sort of roll-on paint. Having the highest level of efficiency might not always trump sheer cheap area.

Leader O'Cola:

the $ would be FAR FAR FAR better spent finding higher efficiency normal PV's that operate without one of the 5 most rare elements in existence, ...

Just curious, but what element are you referring to?
 
2013-07-19 05:27:24 PM  

maxheck: Of course, I'd like to see every warehouse and Walmart roof covered with the cheapest / most cost effective possible PVs for grid storage... Ideally, some sort of roll-on paint. Having the highest level of efficiency might not always trump sheer cheap area.


If they could incorporate some sort of PV system into roadbeds that would also be cool. With the sheer amount of road surface area in the US efficiency would not be a problem.
 
2013-07-19 05:27:37 PM  

Hollie Maea: dragonchild: You can barely run a baseball team on $30 million.  A year.

Whee.

Looking at it another way, each American is being asked to chip in about a dime to work at solving one of the major issues of our day.


I got $6 in my pocket right now, I'll cover 59 other farkers just because I'm feeling generous.
 
2013-07-19 05:30:17 PM  

theorellior: Munden: Seems dumb.  Just invest in more Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.  If the Sun is out and is generating more solar power than can be used, water is pumped up hill with the excess.  Water with gravity goes through turbines to generate electricity again when not enough power from the Sun.

Difficulty: finding a place to put your pumped-hydro storage reservoir.


It's called a dam. Because the solar (or wind) stuff produces electricity that goes to the grid that power can then be delivered anywhere and doesn't need to be on site.
 
2013-07-19 05:32:53 PM  

drjekel_mrhyde: Di Atribe: The Sun is always out. there
FTFY


More like fixed it for subby. Since I was just using their terminology.
 
2013-07-19 05:36:27 PM  

theorellior: maxheck: Of course, I'd like to see every warehouse and Walmart roof covered with the cheapest / most cost effective possible PVs for grid storage... Ideally, some sort of roll-on paint. Having the highest level of efficiency might not always trump sheer cheap area.

If they could incorporate some sort of PV system into roadbeds that would also be cool. With the sheer amount of road surface area in the US efficiency would not be a problem.


There was a guy a few years ago raising money for that.  Haven't heard about him for a few years.  He got several lawmakers on board in spite of the fact that almost every number he said was wrong.
 
2013-07-19 05:40:59 PM  

Ambitwistor: Munden: Just invest in more Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

Hydroelectricity is only 7% of the nation's power generation, and IIRC we're already at about 2/3 of the country's max potential for hydropower.  Growth is limited.


I don't understand how the percentage of hydroelectrically generated power we're currently using has to do with anything.  Growth is limited if you're thinking of hydroelectric dams but check out the wiki on pumped-storage hydroelectricity - it can be a more or less closed system and avoid many of theenvironmental and negativeimpacts of a dam.
 
2013-07-19 05:44:55 PM  
Hollie Maea:

theorellior: maxheck: Of course, I'd like to see every warehouse and Walmart roof covered with the cheapest / most cost effective possible PVs for grid storage... Ideally, some sort of roll-on paint. Having the highest level of efficiency might not always trump sheer cheap area.

If they could incorporate some sort of PV system into roadbeds that would also be cool. With the sheer amount of road surface area in the US efficiency would not be a problem.

There was a guy a few years ago raising money for that. Haven't heard about him for a few years. He got several lawmakers on board in spite of the fact that almost every number he said was wrong.


I can see a lot of problems with PV road surfaces, but every time I fly I look out the window on takeoff and approach, see the immense acreage of warehouses that tend to cluster around airports and wonder just how much power all that area could produce even with low-single-digit efficiencies.

It doesn't even have to pay for the building underneath it, although it can be done.
 
2013-07-19 05:49:29 PM  

simplicimus: Driedsponge: simplicimus: Cerebral Knievel: LasersHurt: Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt


making electricity is fairly easy, and can be done many ways. scale and economy are the bigger hurdles.

Let's see. There's boiling water (nuclear, oil, gas and coal units), running water through dams (hydro), or converting sunlight into electricity through esoteric means. Or we can use orbiting mirrors to boil water.

Electrochemical (batteries, etc)
Thermoelectric
Piezoelectric
Wind generation
Betavoltaics (radioactive decay)

And that list is just from 30 seconds pulling from the wikipedia entry on Electricity Generation.

Batteries release stored energy, usually less than was put in. Thermal power is used to boil water. Wind is useful, the other two I don't see in widescale use  anytime soon.


Capacitors and some rechargeable batteries store energy.  Normal batteries work on chemical reactions and the electricity released is a byproduct of that reaction.

Not all thermal power is used to boil water.  The process name escapes me right now but there is a thermodynamic cycle that uses temperature differences as a way to generate electricity directly.
 
2013-07-19 05:54:39 PM  
This is as much a political fight as it is technical. The big power companies are already fighting to make PV generators (including home roof installations) pay extra fees to access grid electricity. In effect, levying a tax on solar power. Truly large scale renewable energy generation (and we're not at that scale yet) will severely impact the commercial utility industry, and they will not go down without a fight. Interesting times.
 
2013-07-19 05:56:24 PM  
Driedsponge:

simplicimus: Driedsponge: simplicimus: Cerebral Knievel: LasersHurt: Cerebral Knievel: meat0918: the_sidewinder: Molten salt


making electricity is fairly easy, and can be done many ways. scale and economy are the bigger hurdles.

Let's see. There's boiling water (nuclear, oil, gas and coal units), running water through dams (hydro), or converting sunlight into electricity through esoteric means. Or we can use orbiting mirrors to boil water.

Electrochemical (batteries, etc)
Thermoelectric
Piezoelectric
Wind generation
Betavoltaics (radioactive decay)

And that list is just from 30 seconds pulling from the wikipedia entry on Electricity Generation.

Batteries release stored energy, usually less than was put in. Thermal power is used to boil water. Wind is useful, the other two I don't see in widescale use anytime soon.

Capacitors and some rechargeable batteries store energy. Normal batteries work on chemical reactions and the electricity released is a byproduct of that reaction.

Not all thermal power is used to boil water. The process name escapes me right now but there is a thermodynamic cycle that uses temperature differences as a way to generate electricity directly.


Peltier junctions?
 
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