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Alternative Energy and Appropriate Storage Innovation

Image credit: www.nationalgeographic.org

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Daami A.
Daami A. Jul 23, 2021

We are fast moving away from the non-renewable sources of energy which relies excessively on fossil fuels which include coal, gasoline and natural gas to the alternative energy sources which are also referred to as renewable sources of energy. We are fast moving away from the non-renewable sources of energy which relies excessively on fossil fuels which include coal, gasoline and natural gas to the alternative energy sources which are also referred to as renewable sources of energy.

Fossil fuels cause massive pollution in the human, plant and animal environments. They deplete the ozone layer and are a major cause of global warming which is of increasing peril to life on planet Earth. In addition to these dangers, this energy source is limited, they are not being recreated.

To solve these problems, renewable energy sources are being explored from the sun, wind, tide, water, biomass, geo-temperature and hydrogen.

Energy is being obtained ̶ however not as actively ̶ and great knowledge is wanting as regarding appropriate methods to store massive renewable energy.

Humanity needs your ideas and mine to obtain better alternative energy output and superior sustainable methods to store sustainable energy.


A variety of energy storage technologies have been developed or are under development for alternative electric power, including:
  • Pumped-storage hydropower
  • Compressed air energy storage (CAES)
  • Batteries
  • Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS)
  • Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES)
  • Super-capacitors

This is the future that we can safely anticipate, especially when there is a speedy depletion of other energy resources (non-renewable). Of course, the most important energy aid still remains the sun from where we can derive photo voltaic power and fulfill various energy and power requirements.

Lately, many agencies have started to build mono-crystalline and polycrystalline solar cells, which can be used in several sectors like aerospace, the aviation industry, residential electricity generation, traffic lights, automobiles etc. Solar energy apart from different renewable energies is being looked at as one of the key areas because it is a clean energy source.


Pumped-Storage Hydropower

Pumped hydro has been in use considering the fact that 1929, making it the oldest of the central station energy storage technologies. In fact, until 1970 it was the only commercially reachable storage option for generation applications. It is a type of hydroelectric energy storage.

Conventional pumped hydro facilities consist of two large reservoirs, one is positioned at base level, and the other is situated at a different elevation. Water is pumped to the upper reservoir the place it can be stored as potential energy. Upon demand, water is released back into the decrease reservoir, passing through hydraulic turbines, which generate electrical power as high as 1,000 MW.

The barriers to extended use of this storage technology in the U.S. include high construction expenses and long lead times as well as the geographic, geologic, and environmental constraints associated with reservoir design. Currently, efforts aimed at growing the use of pumped hydro storage are focused on the development of underground facilities.


Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES)

CAES plants use off-peak energy to compress and keep air in an airtight underground storage cavern. Upon demand, stored air is released from the cavern, heated, and expanded via a combustion turbine to create electrical energy.

In 1991, the first U.S. CAES facility was built in McIntosh, Alabama, by the Alabama Electric Cooperative and EPRI, and has a capacity ranking of 110 MW. Currently, manufacturers can create CAES machinery for facilities ranging from 5 to 350 MW. EPRI has estimated that greater than 85% of the U.S. has geological characteristics that will accommodate an underground CAES reservoir.

Studies have concluded that CAES is competitive with combustion turbines and combined-cycle units, even without attributing some of the special benefits of energy storage.


Batteries

In recent years, much of the focal point in the development of electric energy storage technology has been founded on battery storage devices. There is currently a wide variety of batteries available commercially and many extra in the design phase.

In a chemical battery, charging causes reactions in electrochemical compounds to store energy from a generator in a chemical form. Upon demand, reverse chemical reactions motive electricity to flow out of the battery and back to the grid.

The first commercially available battery was once the flooded lead-acid battery, which was used for fixed, centralized applications. The valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery is the latest commercially available option. The VRLA battery is low-maintenance, spill- and leak-proof, and relatively compact.


Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS)

A Flywheel is a circulating mechanical device that is employed to store rotational energy. The FESS uses the kinetic energy stored in the rotating mass of a flywheel with very low frictional losses.

The electric energy input accelerates the mass to speed via an integrated motor-generator and the energy is discharged by drawing down the kinetic energy using the same motor-generator.

Flywheels are presently being used for a number of non-utility related applications. Recently, however, researchers have begun to explore utility energy storage applications. A flywheel storage system consists of a flywheel that spins at a very high velocity and an integrated electrical apparatus that can function either as a motor to turn the flywheel and store energy or as a generator to produce electrical strength on demand using the energy stored in the flywheel.


Advanced Electrochemical Capacitors/Super-Capacitors

Super-capacitors are also recognized as ultra-capacitors are in the earliest stages of development as an energy storage technology for electric powered utility applications. An electrochemical capacitor has components related to both a battery and a capacitor.

Consequently, cell voltage is constrained to a few volts. Specifically, the charge is stored by ions as in a battery. But, as in a conventional capacitor, no chemical response takes place in energy delivery. An electrochemical capacitor consists of two oppositely charged electrodes, a separator, electrolyte, and current collectors.

Presently, very small super-capacitors in the range of seven to ten watts are broadly available commercially for consumer power quality functions and are commonly found in household electrical devices. Development of larger-scale capacitors has been focused on electric powered vehicles.

The future is something that we cannot predict but yes, as time passes, most of the current energy sources will attain a point from where we will not be able to use them. This is the place alternative energy sources come into play and will be one of the major driving forces of the world strength requirements.

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