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Could this energy storage system be successfully deployed in Ireland?


feargach

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These people have "a highly reversible, gas cycle machine that works as both an engine and a heat pump": Our PHES Technology

I'd like the views of only competent people, who have studied and have more than a passing knowledge of, engineering.

Even if you are a 100% climate denier, you can still perceive the need for non-imported energy in a world of economic uncertainties such as this.

The very survival of the Euro is in doubt. The smaller countries of the Eurozone could very easily find themselves being forced to undergo an overnight transition to a worthless currency with which it is impossible to obtain cheap oil.

Therefore, it behooves them to find ways to be less dependent on their energy sources. Most countries, after all, strive to produce all of their vital medicines, their penicillin and aspirin, at home rather than depend on the international markets. Because there is a non-zero chance of an international market failure similar to 2008 endangering the arrival of medicines, countries have decided not to take a gamble for short-term price savings.

It's a bit like the difference between a torch and the lights in your house. If you measure the hours of illumination, the extent of illumination, then the ESB is vastly more cost-effective than the torch. But you have the torch for those moments when for whatever reason, the ESB is unable to help you.

Anyway, these guys have a very interesting system of electricity storage. I presume they have patented it, but patents run out eventually, or maybe their patent can be circumvented by using similar but not identical methods.

So for those in the know: can this actually be done in Ireland for a reasonable cost?

It basically takes an energy source, turns it into heat, then transfers that heat between two containers filled with gravel. It's been implemented and works great, it produces energy reliably whenever it's needed.
 


GDPR

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There definitely needs to be a change in energy supply. The ideal is to have individual houses producing their own energy (solar panels etc. but not wind power which is a waste of money). At the very least towns/suburbs should control their energy supply. None of us should be dependent on nationl energy companies, let alone multi-nationals, to supply our energy.

New Scientist has an article on energy being produced from air, which is interesting because it would use carbon dioxide therefore would help reduce CO[SUB]2[/SUB] levels (which may lead to a global cooling problem...). However, it is not feasible yet.

I haven't any information on the method you mention, but if it works and is easy to produce on a local level, imho it would perhaps end the need for multi-national supply.
 

Pat Gill

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feargach,

Isentropic have a number of Irish investors and are building a demonstration project sized to support the grid at local distribution level.

The problem for this company and for all other electricity storage companies is that modern electricity markets do not really have a market mechanism to allow storage to earn a living other than arbitrage.

Electricity storage is a hot topic at the moment and as a global industry is projected to be worth over $100 billion a year by 2020

You might be interested in reading this article Grid-connected energy storage: a new piece in the UK energy puzzle | In-depth | The Engineer
 

wombat

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These people have "a highly reversible, gas cycle machine that works as both an engine and a heat pump
It looks a bit like a Sterling engine - Philips worked on it for years but I've no idea how successful they were. Their claim of 70% efficiency looks high based on having some kind of reciprocating cylinder driving a generator. They talk of a modular system which suggests that the individual containers are relatively small. When I looked at the diagram, my first reaction was that it looks like an air dryer skid, so I'd guess the 2 vessels are probably approx 1m dia x 2m high.
Short answer is that it might have application on a small specialty installation but I doubt it would be suitable for large scale power generation.
 

feargach

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Short answer is that it might have application on a small specialty installation but I doubt it would be suitable for large scale power generation.
Why would that be? Suppose all the wind turbines in a western county were hooked up to one of those: wouldn't that be just the job for countering intermittency in wind energy? Any time the wind blows, the county's powered directly, any time it's calm, the PHES will maintain power levels until the wind start blowing again or a turf-powered station powers up. That way you could have a 100% import-free power system: direct from wind 90% of the time, PHES for calm periods 9% of the time and turf-burning power for the 1% rare periods when calm episodes last so long it might exhaust the storage ability of PHES.

It would be an insurance policy against a Eurozone collapse where Ireland would face extremely painful period trying to get petrol from Saudi (and other fossil imports from other places) using a heavily devalued punt. Organisations could run skeleton services using electric vehicles, such as buses and ambulances.

Nevertheless, if you say there is some engineering flaw in the matter preventing this from occurring, I'd like to know. I consider myself competent to make up my own mind on economic matters, so I will be hard to persuade if you tell me that economic cost is the reason it can't work. I will challenge you for evidence on any economic arguments you put forth, but engineering I will take on trust.
 

GDPR

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It looks a bit like a Sterling engine - Philips worked on it for years but I've no idea how successful they were. Their claim of 70% efficiency looks high based on having some kind of reciprocating cylinder driving a generator. They talk of a modular system which suggests that the individual containers are relatively small. When I looked at the diagram, my first reaction was that it looks like an air dryer skid, so I'd guess the 2 vessels are probably approx 1m dia x 2m high.
Short answer is that it might have application on a small specialty installation but I doubt it would be suitable for large scale power generation.
That's the way we should be going - small installations for household use. Energy autonomy.

Leave large scale power generation to the manufacturers who need more electricity than most, and cannot be served by a series of small installations.
 

Pat Gill

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It looks a bit like a Sterling engine - Philips worked on it for years but I've no idea how successful they were. Their claim of 70% efficiency looks high based on having some kind of reciprocating cylinder driving a generator. They talk of a modular system which suggests that the individual containers are relatively small. When I looked at the diagram, my first reaction was that it looks like an air dryer skid, so I'd guess the 2 vessels are probably approx 1m dia x 2m high.
Short answer is that it might have application on a small specialty installation but I doubt it would be suitable for large scale power generation.
wombat,

I have been keeping an eye on this company for a few years now, at first I doubted that they could achieve the compressor efficiencies which would be required but they were quite clever and attracted an investment from a certain asian compressor manufacturer with good tech.

They see their market at the local distribution transformer and industrial sites with their own generation.

I last spoke to them about a year ago and at that stage the storage tanks at full scale will be about 10m high and 25m diameter.
 

Dan_Murphy

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That's the way we should be going - small installations for household use. Energy autonomy.

Leave large scale power generation to the manufacturers who need more electricity than most, and cannot be served by a series of small installations.
Why? Surely we would benefit with greater economies of scale with national companies?

I agree that as a country we need to massively reduce our imports of energy from other countries, but household level sounds too low to me.
 
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Why? Surely we would benefit with greater economies of scale with national companies?

I agree that as a country we need to massively reduce our imports of energy from other countries, but household level sounds too low to me.
These things don't easily scale up and when they do as they scale up the efficiencies tend to drop off.

I'd like some more pumped storage in place, just for the elegance of it.
 

supermac2

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There definitely needs to be a change in energy supply. The ideal is to have individual houses producing their own energy (solar panels etc. but not wind power which is a waste of money). At the very least towns/suburbs should control their energy supply. None of us should be dependent on nationl energy companies, let alone multi-nationals, to supply our energy.

New Scientist has an article on energy being produced from air, which is interesting because it would use carbon dioxide therefore would help reduce CO[SUB]2[/SUB] levels (which may lead to a global cooling problem...). However, it is not feasible yet.

I haven't any information on the method you mention, but if it works and is easy to produce on a local level, imho it would perhaps end the need for multi-national supply.


Ask this guy seems like the solution is the re. But we need another Whitaker / lemass to make the dream a reality

http://www.seas.harvard.edu/directory/mbm


EnviroSolutions - Daily News
 
Last edited:

wombat

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They see their market at the local distribution transformer and industrial sites with their own generation.

I last spoke to them about a year ago and at that stage the storage tanks at full scale will be about 10m high and 25m diameter.
That's interesting, it's quite a size, any idea what the energy/ power capacity is. I still have doubts about a 70% overall efficiency with a reciprocating compressor/ expander driving an electrical generator but if people are putting cash into it, they must be pretty confident.
 

wombat

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Nevertheless, if you say there is some engineering flaw in the matter preventing this from occurring, I'd like to know. I consider myself competent to make up my own mind on economic matters, so I will be hard to persuade if you tell me that economic cost is the reason it can't work. I will challenge you for evidence on any economic arguments you put forth, but engineering I will take on trust.
I guess Pat Gill's reply illustrates why you can't make an engineering assessment with very little information, the device is many orders of magnitude bigger than I imagined from info shown. All I can say is that there is no obvious reason why it won't work, it's definitely not a perpetual motion machine.
 

Pat Gill

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That's interesting, it's quite a size, any idea what the energy/ power capacity is. I still have doubts about a 70% overall efficiency with a reciprocating compressor/ expander driving an electrical generator but if people are putting cash into it, they must be pretty confident.
wombat,

You can get a clearer picture of the proposal from the following link.


http://www.nationalgrid.com/NR/rdonlyres/13B80693-2958-4C5B-ABCB-FCB50E585EFB/38388/Isentropic.pdf

The above link dates from 2009 and was passed to me by a contact at National Grid and this link is from this year and illustrates their progress to date.

ETI | ETI invest £14m in energy storage breakthrough with Isentropic
 

Finbar10

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Dec 3, 2008
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Feargach, you're right to point out this company (you're not the first though, Pat Gill has talked about this in the past, I enthused about them here 2 or 3 years ago, all probably buried somewhere in one of the giant environmental threads). I've been pretty interested in energy storage and Isentropic's approach is probably the most intriguing I've seen. Sounds very plausible, but only time will tell if it works out. But things continue to go well for them. If I was very wealthy (unfortunately not! :( ) I would have thrown a speculative investment punt their way.
 

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