Reply to post: Re: 350kW!!!!

700km on a single charge: Mercedes says it's in it for the long run


Re: 350kW!!!!

In the sense you mean it, indeed no it definitely won’t. Wind power often achieves less than 5% of its rated capacity across the whole of the U.K. for a couple of weeks at a time, so you need 30GW storage for a fortnight!

To give a feel for the safety issues of energy storage failure, for a technology like pumped hydro, it’s 1000 Dinorwigs. Look at the map of the U.K. and realise that there is nowhere you can be more than 10 miles from such a one. The risk of building them so close is unacceptable, because a dam failure would wipe out a large town with a tsunami costing tens of thousands of lives.

Dinorwig actually proves that this tech *isn’t* appropriate to cover windpower outages. If safety weren’t an issue, they would have built it closer to where the energy would be used, reducing the transmission costs, but they didn’t. It’s not just where the mountains are. Compare it with a nuclear power station. Those are also built in out-of-the-way places for safety reasons, with similar generating potential (1-2GW). But Dinorwig only generates power for 5 hours at full whack, and wind power needs 300-hour (at least) coverage to make it usable as a primary source. You need to find 60x as many safe sites for hydro as nuclear, when you think of it as wind power cover. In a country the size of the U.K. that isn’t going to happen.

Why did they build Dinorwig at all? Simple. In the old days, storage meant “for as long as it takes a coal-fired or nuclear station to spin up”, which is a couple hours, and a good match for Dinorwig’s capabilities. It’s wind and solar that make demands that can’t be met.

Ironically, we do know of one extremely stable, energy-dense storage medium, with engineering legacy. Hydrocarbon. And that’s not as crazy as it seems. If we had a means of driving carbon-capture from the atmosphere electrically into hydrocarbon, that would be a great storage tech, and then burn it in a standard gas turbine when needed. It would also be *the* grand solution for the atmospheric CO2 levels already baked in.

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