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Chesapeake Energy Corporation Message Board

  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Apr 26, 2013 2:35 PM Flag

    Storage System Lets Wind Farms Deliver Power on Windless Days

    Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:42pm
    MIT, David Chandler

    Offshore wind could provide abundant electricity — but as with solar energy, this power supply can be intermittent and unpredictable. But a new approach from researchers at MIT could mitigate that problem, allowing the electricity generated by floating wind farms to be stored and then used, on demand, whenever it’s needed.

    The key to this concept is the placement of huge concrete spheres on the seafloor under the wind turbines. These structures, weighing thousands of tons apiece, could serve both as anchors to moor the floating turbines and as a means of storing the energy they produce.

    Whenever the wind turbines produce more power than is needed, that power would be diverted to drive a pump attached to the underwater structure, pumping seawater from a 30-meter-diameter hollow sphere. (For comparison, the tank’s diameter is about that of MIT’s Great Dome, or of the dome atop the U.S. Capitol.) Later, when power is needed, water would be allowed to flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, and the resulting electricity sent back to shore.

    One such 25-meter sphere in 400-meter-deep water could store up to six megawatt-hours of power, the MIT researchers have calculated; that means that 1,000 such spheres could supply as much power as a nuclear plant for several hours — enough to make them a reliable source of power. The 1,000 wind turbines that the spheres could anchor could, on average, replace a conventional on-shore coal or nuclear plant. What’s more, unlike nuclear or coal-fired plants, which take hours to ramp up, this energy source could be made available within minutes, and then taken offline just as quickly.

    The system would be grid-connected, so the spheres could also be used to store energy from other sources, including solar arrays on shore, or from base-load power plants,...


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    • Neat idea, but just incredible maintenance hurdles. By design you have 1000 separate generators and fairly complex control systems (salt water destroys most equipment) to offset the capacity of one NG generating plant. The numbers on cost would be earth shattering. Any network that has 1000 times the control and maintance regimen of one system is not going to be economically feasible. This is a laboratory trained engineer posing a solution, although neat in concept, that is going nowhere because is it a disaster from a practical standpoint. If you really want to kill it, compare it to one essentially mainenance free gas turbine. I am only a BS engineering graduate from Cornell, so I imagine that the lab guys will trash this comment.

      • 1 Reply to moshenfreke
      • The green energy solutions seem like great ideas until you try to make them work in the real world. Solar is great while the sun shines but one cloud can instantly shut down a whole field of panels and a gas turbine somewhere will have to be quickly throttled up to take up the slack. Wind is less intermittent but has the same problems. For wind and solar to really be useful sources there needs to be some sort of practical mass storage available and we just don't have that technology at this point. Some states have mandated that some percentage of their power come from renewable sources, but those sources are almost universally more expensive than conventional sources and they tend to make the power grids less stable because the base load plants are having to be continually throttled up and down to accommodate the "green" sources.

        Everyone thinks green energy is the cat's rear end but in reality it doesn't work out that well.

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