Skip to main content

We are on the threshold of a revolution!  An economic revolution, an environmental revolution, and a social revolution.  But there are powerful forces that don't want that revolution to happen. Ever since Ronald Reagan embraced the Oligarchs that bought the Republican party in the late 70's, they've been pressing their boots on the back of the neck of democracy.

While we've been rightfully up in arms about the new Oligarchs from Wall Street, we may have forgotten about the fossil fuel Oligarchs that have over 100 years experience in corrupting governments and suppressing people around the globe.  One of the biggest threats to democracy today comes from the Koch brothers who follow the gospels of the 19th century robber baron bible.

But there is a threat on the horizon that could rob these 21st century plutocrats of the power of their money.  But the threat won't come like a thief in the middle of the night, but rather from the overwhelming power of the noon day sun.  Once we cross the Alternative energy threshold, these fossil fuel Oligarchs will have their political power neutered, and they will be exposed as the psychopathic planetary threat they really are.

But crossing the Alternative energy threshold is by no means assured and they will fight the market forces tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.

So what do I mean by the Alternative Energy threshold?

I'm talking about the economic forces that will take hold of energy production from non fossil fuels sources like solar and wind, and push it through the economy like a new conspiracy theory at a Tea Party convention.  When Solar and Wind become cheaper than coal, oil, and NG, it's game over for fossil fuels, and our children just might survive the damage to the atmosphere that fossil fuels have already done.  We're close, but we're not there yet.

Below, is what's been happening to the cost of solar and wind over the last couple of decades.

And here's the cost of solar compared to some fossil fuels.
And then there's the price of wind turbines:
It seems that every new technology needs to have a killer app before it really has a big impact on society.  In the late 1800's oil was used in lamps, but it really took off with the invention of the internal combustion engine.  And it took word processing and spread sheets to make the desk top computer more than a toy for nerds.  The killer app for Alt-E, is the battery.

The intermittent nature of solar and wind will keep it a secondary electricity source until we are able to smooth out the production curve.  And because Solar/Wind are electricity sources, we'll never penetrate the fossil fueled transportation market until we have a high density, economical storage system.

Once we get good, inexpensive batteries, things are going to change fast.  Who's going to put $20 worth of gas in their car when they can put in $6 worth of electricity to go the same distance?  People will have batteries and an inverter in their basements.  They'll charge the batteries with cheaper night time electricity, and use the storage during the day when electricity is more expensive.  And at some point, people with a roof full of solar panels will start asking if it's even worth the expense to hook up to the grid.  Of course the utility companies will use batteries to smooth out the fluctuations in the grid.

So Why don't we have these batteries now?  It takes 4 things to get us across the threshold.

1) Cost

2) Energy density

3) longevity

4) Recharge speed.

Most of these qualities are interrelated, but we don't necessarily need them all to cross the threshold.  Battery technology is advancing rapidly, but not fast enough.  Any new technology could use a kick start and batteries are no exception.  Here are some of the latest advances in battery technology.

The people at Oak Ridge National Laboratories are working on some new chemistry for batteries.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 24, 2014 — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new and unconventional battery chemistry aimed at producing batteries that last longer than previously thought possible.
When ORNL researchers incorporated a solid lithium thiophosphate electrolyte, the battery generated a 26 percent higher capacity than what would be its theoretical maximum if each component acted independently.


The improvement in capacity could translate into years or even decades of extra life, depending on how the battery is engineered and used.

Breakthroughs in nanotechnology batteries are coming fast.
Lead researcher Dr. Kevin Ryan explains, “We have developed a new germanium nanowire-based anode that has the ability to greatly increase the capacity and lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries. This breakthrough is important for mobile computing and telecoms but also for the emerging electric vehicle market allowing for smaller and lighter batteries that can hold more charge for longer and maintain this performance over the lifetime of the product.”
Even old types of batteries like flow batteries are getting a new look.
Harvard University researchers say they’ve developed a new type of battery that could make it economical to store a couple of days of electricity from wind farms and other sources of power. The new battery, which is described in the journal Nature, is based on an organic molecule—called a quinone—that’s found in plants such as rhubarb and can be cheaply synthesized from crude oil. The molecules could reduce, by two-thirds, the cost of energy storage materials in a type of battery called a flow battery, which is particularly well suited to storing large amounts of energy.
As you can see, improvements in battery technology (and I haven't even mentioned hydrogen) are advancing on many fronts.  This is literally, civilization saving technology.  But we can't wait for the "market place" to decide which technology should advance and which should be left on the curb, especially with the Oligarchical fossil fuel industry fighting it every step of the way.  If ever we needed government to step in for the wellbeing of our nation and the planet, now is the time.  Confront your democratic candidates and demand they take action to support the fast advancement of all Alt-E technologies.  Once we cross the Alt-E threshold, with the help of advanced battery technology, fossil fuels will become a dark dirty chapter in future history books.

Originally posted to pollwatcher on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kosowatt.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (251+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, suspiciousmind, marleycat, Gooserock, Egalitare, Portia Elm, CentralMass, OpherGopher, Laurel in CA, Roadbed Guy, basquebob, Cronesense, Caddis Fly, Kevskos, wilderness voice, tmay, leftykook, Bryce in Seattle, jguzman17, TheDuckManCometh, bfitzinAR, Heart n Mind, Phil N DeBlanc, weck, LaughingPlanet, cordgrass, hbk, FischFry, SeaTurtle, smokeymonkey, Joieau, Retroactive Genius, cotterperson, Involuntary Exile, SCFrog, millwood, laurak, DRo, offgrid, clinging to hope, The Hindsight Times, oldpotsmuggler, Catte Nappe, whl, skepticalcitizen, Dvalkure, AnnetteK, Jim P, HedwigKos, unfangus, letsgetreal, EricS, tegrat, deepeco, nicteis, Shockwave, The Jester, GDbot, GeorgeXVIII, chimpy, LynChi, jfromga, DEMonrat ankle biter, elwior, Gurnt, countwebb, Gowrie Gal, pat bunny, dRefractor, Buckeye Nut Schell, oortdust, Sun Tzu, Jay C, Woody, No one gets out alive, HeartlandLiberal, JeffW, GAS, ichibon, libera nos, Timaeus, socal altvibe, Cassandra Waites, antooo, jasan, jbob, Drocedus, foresterbob, hlsmlane, majcmb1, flitedocnm, Loudoun County Dem, susakinovember, Habitat Vic, mkor7, glitterscale, asym, AdamR510, WarrenS, political mutt, dksbook, Prognosticator, The Nose, sea note, onionjim, JimWilson, camlbacker, martinjedlicka, Eric Stetson, Pakalolo, rbird, Choco8, Notreadytobenice, mookins, One Pissed Off Liberal, tacet, helpImdrowning, TheLizardKing, trivium, Norm in Chicago, wader, nirbama, yet another liberal, ChemBob, zerelda, hooktool, terabytes, defluxion10, Thutmose V, Tool, trumpeter, BocaBlue, blackjackal, WisVoter, sturunner, Tinfoil Hat, goodpractice, thanatokephaloides, JML9999, RiveroftheWest, Gay CA Democrat, agincour, LookingUp, monkeybrainpolitics, IndieGuy, BeerNotWar, Angie in WA State, triplepoint, enhydra lutris, chira2, bbctooman, rapala, Little Lulu, Words In Action, dewtx, livingthedream, pcl07, Glen The Plumber, linkage, Susipsych, Mike Kahlow, carpunder, tofumagoo, Alumbrados, Pat K California, Born in NOLA, elziax, slowbutsure, CwV, FarWestGirl, marina, jiffypop, 1BQ, ozsea1, here4tehbeer, akze29, divineorder, Chi, stagemom, CA Nana, peptabysmal, BYw, pickandshovel, UncleCharlie, lastman, eagleray, 3rdOption, jazzmaniac, Laughing Vergil, shopkeeper, berko, frostbite, zukesgirl64, psnyder, Santa Susanna Kid, also mom of 5, YucatanMan, fcvaguy, BusyinCA, owlbear1, zmom, splashy, melo, James Wells, historys mysteries, Bule Betawi, JayC, Lujane, Josiah Bartlett, reflectionsv37, 207wickedgood, begone, chuck utzman, FindingMyVoice, dotsright, CA ridebalanced, Bluefin, thomask, YellerDog, Puddytat, myboo, Robynhood too, Denver11, blueoasis, Airmid, Unknown Quantity, RUNDOWN, kurt, radarlady, PeteZerria, mudslide, dot farmer, PeterHug, BlogDog, GreyHawk, America Jones, sidnora, Onomastic, flowerfarmer, radical simplicity, Byron from Denver, northsylvania, Oldowan, ZappoDave, caul, 88kathy, ColoTim, spunhard, 2dot, bill warnick, HoundDog
  •  The Oil Industry is 2 Centuries Old Not 1. (68+ / 0-)

    It was whale oil through the 1800's, and it captured national financial and military capabilities to foster and protect it. Petroleum was able to come in and displace whale oil because it served a pre-existing app, indoor lamps, and it turned out to be more plentiful and easier to produce.

    Transportation was a new killer app for petroleum that came along when petroleum was already well established and booming for the lighting business, which its dominant useless waste product (gasoline) was a perfect match for. Unfortunately for our future, petroleum drastically reduced the incentives for energy efficient transportation, which existing infrastructure the petroleum interests accordingly invested billions into destroying here in the US.

    Wind and solar are a relatively perfect match for the existing power grid, much less suitable for the surviving petroleum-dominated transportation we have especially in the US.

    Renewable energy faces a much more potent hurdle than intrinsic economics now: our private sector national government is beginning to impose taxes and bans on renewable energy across the half the states it overtly governs, and it is preventing subsidies and supports for green energy in the other states and at the national level where the private sector national government has achieved blocking strength.

    The market and the nation are not open competition, they're severely rigged for their established owners. Mere superior profitability and defense against national security threats are not enough to displace that power structure.

    My feeling is that alternative energy long ago surpassed the necessary affordability threshold when its benefits for the climate crisis are considered. Efficiency improvements less than a scale of 10fold probably aren't going to take green energy beyond a niche and hobby market penetration.

    What science is saying we need for degree and pace of energy change is going to require political and economic war to accomplish. We'll be long past committed to catastrophe before economics and popular approval can do the job.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:39:46 AM PDT

  •  thanks for the diary (31+ / 0-)

    My stock-consultant friend's mantra ever since I  have known her is "batteries will never be advanced enough--solar and wind are never going to be viable as large-scale energy sources."  I always knew she was wrong.  Let's hope it's too far along to kill this time...

  •  Unfortunately your "cost of solar" analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Odysseus

    only includes the cost of the actual photovoltaic panels (which, even if they go to zero, leave substantial other costs in place).

    And wind seems like a very good idea, until rampant NIMBYism comes into play (D'ohh!!!)

  •  a problem with "2) Energy density" (14+ / 0-)

    is that the higher the energy density of a "battery" the more it resembles a "bomb".

    And "rapid charge" tends to track with a potential for "explosive discharge".

    The "flow battery" avoids that by separating reactants (it's essentially a "fuel cell" coupled with a "fuel producer") but it also adds a level of complexity and cost.

    The "magic battery" that solves everything remains elusively "right around the corner" . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 06:51:35 AM PDT

    •  Nothing magic about it, it's just science (21+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure why you believe higher energy densities are somehow explosive, especially given the variety of chemical paths new battery technology is taking.

      Battery technology has already made impressive gains, and as the above shows, many new advances have obstacles that are about production scaling, not basic chemistry.  All we need is the same incentives that the fossil fuel industry has had and the world will change.

      •  Perhaps the "bomb" rhetoric was unnecessarily (0+ / 0-)

        inflammatory (no pun intended!! meh) but the reality is that when lithium batteries (to give one example) unexpectedly burst into flame (whether it be on a Boeing 787 or in somebody's shirt pocket cell phone) a lot of bad publicity ensues.

        Perhaps deservedly so. Perhaps not.  Who knows.

      •  why? maybe because (3+ / 0-)

        I've worked with reactive chemicals and seen what can happen when "high energy" chemical reactants are mixed (like they are in single-phase batteries).

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:37:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Rate of reaction vs. energy density are different (12+ / 0-)

          things.  Seriously, the few megajoules in a car battery, if released all at once, would be a 'significant' threat.

          Also, from an engineering perspective, fewer moving parts is a good thing.

          If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          —Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:55:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You mean like gasoline? (6+ / 0-)

          I seem to recall that's pretty explosive too yet no one bats an eye there

          •  without an oxidizer (0+ / 0-)

            gasoline is not "explosive" at all.  You have to add air to gasoline vapor even to get it to burn.  A battery, on the other hand, has all the necessary reactants together in one package, just like a (what was that word again?) bomb does.  As energy density rises so does the hazard, and the need to be able to withdraw energy means that many of the "normal" bomb stabilization techniques are not available.

            Granted we're not talking "excitement" on the level of Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane, but when you start approaching the energy density of ANFO (which a "good" battery would have) you're not talking exactly benign either, and "stabilization" becomes a very real issue.

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:17:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  More nonsense (3+ / 0-)

              First off, ANFO is a low energy density combustible solid, at only 6.3MJ/kg, a mere seventh of gasoline's energy density. Nonetheless, it's still about 9 times more energy dense than the best lithium ions.

              You mention ANFO because it's explosive. There are no explosive lithium ion batteries. None. Some of the cobalt chemistries pose a fire risk if manufactured poorly or abused. Fire is not an explosion, and cobalt chemistries are not typically used in EVs. More to the point, the fastest charging chemistries are actually the most stable and non-combustible. They have to be in order to charge quickly - you can't charge quickly if you're heat-unstable. You have it all backwards.

              Batteries will likely never get to the point (at least during our lifetimes) where the amount of electricity stored by the battery is a large fraction of the energy in the chemical bonds, so the fact that it can "charge" is irrelevant. And nor do they need to get to that point. First off, electric drivetrains gain an automatic ~3x efficiency boost by bypassing Carnot losses. Secondly, batteries don't need to be comparable to the weight of gasoline, the drivetrains as a whole need to be comparable. You can't make a fair comparison just by taking one part in isolation. Yeah, batteries are heavier than gasoline. So? Electric drivetrains are lighter than gasoline drivetrains. The Tesla Roadster goes from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds using a motor the size of a watermelon. My favorite motor, the EMRAX 228, puts out 134 horsepower peak and 55 horsepower continuous... from a package 9 inches by 3.4 inches that weighs a mere 12kg. Its gross bias and an absurd comparison to only look at one part of each drivetrain (batteries vs. gasoline) rather than the whole.

              The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

              by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 03:07:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Woot (0+ / 0-)

              Gasoline doesn't explode?   That's great news for all those not killed when tankers explode!  I am guessing oil trains don't explode either.  And natural gas?  Totally non reactive, amirite?

              Honestly, of the pro fossil fuel cover, this argument has to be the dumbest yet. The notion that batteries involve some massive new risk is rather overblown.   In either case, for transportation, it is traveling at speed that kills more than anything.  Nice theory, but rather irrelevant

      •  because that's what it is? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You do realize that when Li+ batteries fail the best case senario is a fire and the worst case is a minor explosion?

        Der Weg ist das Ziel

        by duhban on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:32:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and gasoline tanks? (12+ / 0-)

          Almost anything electrical can start a fire.  What about Alkaline batteries, or NiCad's, or a dozen other types of batteries?  And compared to the 10's if not hundred's of millions of LI batteries out there, worrying about explosions under designed conditions, boarders on paranoia.

          •  that's a very fair point (3+ / 0-)

            and I'm not  really saying that just because it could be a bomb that we shouldn't use it. I'm just pointing out that there are dangers and they definitely scale with size. Catastrophic battery failure in a laptop battery is bad, catastrophic battery  failure in a battery bank large enough to hold charge for a solar/wind farm is far far worse.

            I'm not against alternative energy (in point of fact I think we need to cut the military budget and take that savings directly into 50/50 infrastructure and renewable production) but we do need to have a serious conversation about storage if renewables are going to to move beyond 20%. That includes being honest about the pros and cons.

            That's all.

            Der Weg ist das Ziel

            by duhban on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:38:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  it is the lower energy density (0+ / 0-)

            of alkaline or NiCad batteries that make them less a hazard.  And not particularly useful for large scale energy storage.  Get ten times the energy density of NiCad or NiMH and you're talking a really interesting electric car battery, and something to be more than a little worried about.  The higher the energy density the worse it gets.

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:25:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, what poses a fire risk... (0+ / 0-)

              ... in the cobalt-based li-ions, the only variant that poses a fire risk, is that metallic lithium can plate out on the anode due to excessive lithium release from the cobalt-based cathode or its formation of dendritic spines which puncture the membrane. It has nothing to do with the energy density of the cell.

              The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

              by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 03:14:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  actually Li+ batteries are already effectively so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      which is a major reason why you don't see many massive Li+ storage batteries.

      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:32:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, the reason you don't see many massive (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Li+ storage batteries is because they cost several times as much per watt hour as lead-acid. And FYI, mass storage of lead-acid batteries (one of the lowest energy density techs on the market) is far more of an explosion risk than mass storage of, say, lithium spinel batteries. There have been many buildings destroyed due to lead-acid battery banks because they can leak hydrogen which accumulates under overhangs and can be easily ignited.

        It's a total myth that electrical energy density correlates with fire risk.

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 03:18:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure what you mean (0+ / 0-)

          but chemically the greater the energy storage the more you have to 'dance on the edge' (as one of my professors once put it). Meaning that the more energy stored in the system the easier it becomes to push a system past tolerance.

          Now I will point out I was specifically talking about Li+ batteries which do have a chance of fire in the case of catastrophic failure.

          And yes acid-lead batteries are much more dangerous but than again you're talking about a battery that relies on concentrated acid to work.  Not to mention as you pointed out the H2 production.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:47:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's simply not the truth. (0+ / 0-)

            Here's a question for you: if you had a pipe bomb that was made of a 100 gram segment of aluminum pipe and filled with 500 grams of nitroglycerin, which is more energetic, the pipe or the nitroglycerin?

            I think you know the answer - it's the pipe.  Your intuition misleads you because nitroglycerine is so unstable. But unstable does not mean energy dense or vice versa, in any way shape or form (often it's just the opposite!).  Containing a large amount of potential to discharge electrical energy does absolutely not imply it wants to burn.

            You keep talking about "Li+ batteries" as if they're a single chemistry. They are not. There's all sorts of lithium chemistries on the market, and they all have widely differing properties. Some of the laptop-style cobalt based ones, you simply need to cut open and they burst into flames. The spinels, by and large, are so stable that about the only way to burn them is by holding them in a blowtorch. They usually don't even smoke like the lithium phospates (A123 and their ilk) do.

            If you accept the fact that that lead-acid batteries are more dangerous then what exactly is the argument you're trying to make? Lead-acid is one of the least energy dense batteries on the market. You're trying to claim that batteries get more dangerous with increasing energy density. This is simply not a fact. The amount of Ah that you can store and the discharge voltage are almost entirely unrelated to the flammability of the battery.  Even with the cobalt-based li-ions, they've been increasing in energy density and decreasing in flammability risk at the same time as their designs have evolved.

            And do I even need to get into how batteries are actually handled in EVs versus in bulk storage or in consumer devices?

            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

            by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:20:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

              Where are you getting these energies? Are you talking breaking bonds? Because I'm not inclined to simply accept your word that 'that's how it is'. I think you are confusing density for energy density. Yes the pipe is more dense but not in  the energy. In point of fact the bond energy in lead is ~86 kilajoules which is paltry compared to the 1.5 megajoules in nitroglycerin.

              Yes there's a lot of work done in Li+ batteries and I never meant to imply there's only one type of Li+ battery. Let's be clear here spinels are a recent thing. We can talk safety after a couple years of data and waiting to see what happened.

              I'm honestly not sure what you're objecting to. Is it the larger the energy capacity of a system the more care you have to take with it? The idea that Li+ (admittedly up to recently) have been unstable and as such a bad idea to make a large bank of?

              Der Weg ist das Ziel

              by duhban on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:32:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're mixing things up. (0+ / 0-)

                I said aluminum pipe, not lead. Aluminum burns at 31MJ/kg, while nitroglycerine explodes at 6.4MJ/kg.

                No, spinels are not a recent thing. The fact that you think they are just reflects how little you know about the industry. RC and EV enthusiasts have been using them for much of a decade, and they've been around in the lab far longer. And what safety data do you need beyond it requiring a blowtorch to burn them? Do you have any clue how much people abuse these things? And I'm not just talking about corporate stress testing, I'm talking hobbyists too. The RC community especially, they do things like run them down to zero volts, five minute charges and discharges, etc, with little charge management and no cooling systems. They beat the heck out of them in a manner no EV battery would ever come close to experiencing.

                The problem in this conversation is that you don't know the market. Lithium ion power tools, for example, have been with spinels and phosphates from the beginning since they first started hitting the markets in the mid 2000s.

                I'm honestly not sure what you're objecting to,
                How are you missing that I'm objecting to your completely false assertion that the higher the electrical energy or power density of a battery, the more likely it is to burn? When lead-acid literally blow up buildings when it goes awry, yet you can drive a steamroller over a spinel cell without a problem?

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:56:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that seems a bit contrived (0+ / 0-)

                  given that most pipes are in fact not made of Al but steel or plastic or well anything but Al. More over Al is fairly stable. I have no reservations about taking a hammer to 100 grams of Al. I have severe reservations about doing so with any amount of nitroglycerin.

                  More over I'm talking commercially not academically. There's a lot of things that exist in the academic world that are promising but until they are commercially available all they are is promise. You are correct in that this isn't my area and as such all I can do is what others do which is do my research as best I can. My research says that spinels have only become commercially available in 2013. If you have something that says definitely I'd love to read it.

                  There is nothing false about my point. 1 J being released spontaneously is amusing 1MJ being released spontaneously tends to be anything but amusing. This doesn't even get into the specific hazards of Li+ namely that you have a pressured, flammable electrolyte. And no I've never said that lead acid is safe either but don't down play the cons to other batteries either.

                  Der Weg ist das Ziel

                  by duhban on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:41:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  thank you for offering possible problems (0+ / 0-)

      and offering no solutions.

      Classic "concern".

      “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

      by ozsea1 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:21:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A major advantage of the flow battery (4+ / 0-)

      I saw something about this a year or two ago, I think the MIT effort perhaps in a DKos diary.  The two reactant fluids could be swapped out at a 'filling' station, the exhausted fluids for fully 'charged' ones.  The exhausted materials would be recharged at the station for reuse.  

      That is all to say that there is no battery charging time in the vehicle.  It is like a battery swap but with a small fraction of its capital expense.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 02:42:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's catastrophic risk in conventional energy, (7+ / 0-)

      though.  Would a battery be more dangerous than a full tank of gasoline?  Or that tiny pipe five feet away from me filled with NG?

      I know people like known risks better than unknown, but portable energy is portable energy.

      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

      by Inland on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:08:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Physics fail. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Hey, the energy density of a 100ml glass of water is about 10 gigawatt hours (only counting one fusion step and only counting the hydrogen), so clearly water is a gigantic superbomb!

      See the logic error here? Just because something has potential energy that can be released on one manner doesn't mean that it can and will be released in any manner. Take the water out of the intake of your fusion reactor and it's just that, water.

      The exact same thing applies to conventional chemistry. You can build a battery that has awful energy storage density that goes off like a bomb if burned. You can build a battery that has great energy storage that doesn't burn at all. Indeed, some of the phosphate and spinel variants of li-ion do not burn under any circumstance short of holding a blowtorch up to them until they're a charred pile of ash (the cobalt variants have unfortunately given the whole chemistry a bad name  :Þ).

      What's going on here? Well, first a number of factors.

      1) The danger of burning a material is one part how much energy is there, but more importantly, one part how fast it's released during combustion. Nitroglycerine isn't particularly energy rich - it just releases it all at once. How fast the chemicals in a battery can discharge electricity have absolutely no bearing on how fast they burn. And it should be added just to drive the point home, "fast" for a battery is 5-10 minutes. If nitroglycerine went off in 5-10 minutes, you'd hardly call it dangerous either.

      2) The electrical energy stored in the changing of the chemical bonds of a battery during the charge phase is dwarfed by the energy otherwise in its chemical bonds. A typical combustible material may release on the order of 25-50MJ/kg by burning it (7-14 kWh/kg). Typical battery electrical energy densities are on the order of 200 Wh/kg. Aka, you're only changing the total energy of the chemical bonds in the battery by 1-3%.

      3) Batteries don't need to be made of combustible material to begin with. I already mentioned spinels and phosphates, some of which don't burn at all. For an example from the pre-lithium age, one of the best types out there was molten salt batteries. How well do you think typical salts burn?

      4) Do you know what burns? Friggin' gasoline.

      Flow batteries do not add "complexity and cost", they're usually no more complicated and they're usually cheaper per watt hour. The main reason you don't see them in cars is totally different, it's that they get poor energy density (watt hours per kilogram). They're not designed for mobile applications.

      Your "around the corner" comment is typical "I'm not paying attention" nonsense. Seriously, do you remember what the first cell phones looked like? Remember that giant brick of a battery? Go compare it to the battery in cell phones today. Battery energy density doubles every 8 years. Often you don't notice it as much as you would otherwise in consumer devices (for example, laptops) because the hardware manufacturers keep increasing the power consumption, but it's a trend that's been in place for nearly thirty years now.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 02:05:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (24+ / 0-)

    but you fail to mention the great breakthrough announced earlier this year, perhaps the holy grail of battery technology.  Virginia Tech researchers lead by Dr Zhang have developed a sugar battery.  Sugar has energy density greater than any metal battery will ever be capable of.  These will be our batteries in the future.

    "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

    by Kevskos on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:45:03 AM PDT

  •  Liquid Metal Batteries for Grid-Scale Storage (18+ / 0-)

    I gather that they will be ready to sell these new batteries to utilities and others by 2016.

    Liquid Metal Batteries for Grid-Scale Storage
    David Bradwell, Ambri

    Aluminum smelting was the inspiration, self-segregating liquids - three layers of magnesium, antimony, salt
    Self-heating at a cubic meter with 75% efficiency in and out ac to ac
    Shipped cold and solid and then heated up to start operation
    35 kWh at cubic meter scale
    Price for battery storage now is about $1500 per kWh
    Targeting 20 year lifespan
    Developing recycling process for end of life management with an overall toxicity of lead acid batteries
    Has had at least one cell operating for a year continuously
    Negligible fade rate over 1000s of cycles
    Prototype commercial cell by 2015
    Three cubic meter 20 kWh cell by 2016
    Have to design manufacturing system themselves
    Discharge speed designed for complete discharge in two hours
    Costs planned to be competitive with pumped hydro
    Hawaii will be a laboratory for storage as it is maxing out on the wind and solar the grid can take, as designed
    The chemistry means the cells will always be two inches thick

    previously published at

  •  In a few decades (14+ / 0-)

    And almost for sure by the turn of the next century, energy for all intents and purposes will be both clean and free to use for everyone.

    At that point in time everything changes... everything...

    Growing food becomes simple in any climate, desalinating sea water becomes almost free, heat and cooling become available to everyone, etc.

    The whole world structure changes. Just think of how much time and energy we put into these basic necessities. How much of our life is spent working just to buy energy or buy food and water that requires energy to produce.

    The revolution is coming and nothing can stop it...

    Voting straight party D 'til there's no GOP...
    Oh and the name is Jim, not Tim, the user name is a typo

    by jusjtim35 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:42:08 AM PDT

  •  Wind may not need batteries (23+ / 0-)

    The wind sector in Europe is convinced that geographically dispersed wind farms interconnected with HVDC transmission lines becomes base power or awfuly close to it. You don't need 100% 24/7 coverage. If you can get to 90%, then all you need is peaking power and only rarely.

    We will need batteries for mobile power, and I'm not sure what we are going about powering the air transportation sector.

    I completely agree about Alt-E technologies. I also think that if you add in the costs we are going to incur because of Climate Change (economic externalities) that Alt-E technologies only need to be within a factor of 2 of fossil fuel.

    •  Interesting about that wind power (6+ / 0-)

      I would be very surprised wind could be economical with supplying 90% without storage.

      And yes, if we factored in the cost of saving civilization from the greenhouse gases fossil fuels produce, solar, wind, and most of today's battery technology is already more than competitive.

    •  The problem there is cost (11+ / 0-)

      The only way wind can be a backup for wind is if you massively overbuild wind. In other words, Spain would need enough turbines to power Spain AND Germany, in case the wind died there; and every other nation would have to overbuild by similar amounts.

      That leads to the problems of curtailment and its evil twin wholesale price collapse. When it's windy, the overbuilt system can easily generate much more power than there is demand for. Since that cannot be allowed, system operators must feather wind turbines in that situation (and deciding which ones to feather and which to leave running is yet-another thorny issue). When a wind turbine is feathered for a good portion of the windy times, the capacity factor for wind drops and the overall cost of wind energy increases by a large amount.

      Meanwhile, those turbines that are still running will find that on a windy day the wholesale price of electricity has dropped close to zero (or even negative!) because of oversupply. Which means that wind turbine owners will be selling most of their product most of the time at rock-bottom prices; and when the wholesale price rises, it's because it's not windy and they have no product to sell.

      Wind is cheap as long as it's not overbuilt. But the economics of wind become really, really bad if that's what we're basing the whole grid on.

      See Budischak, Cory, et al. "Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time." Journal of Power Sources 225 (2013): 60-74, where the authors find that to build a 99.9% RE grid as cheaply as possible (nearly all wind), the price of electricity would triple.

      We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

      by Keith Pickering on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 09:33:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actual conclusion of Budischak et al (10+ / 0-)
        We find that 90% of hours are covered most cost-effectively by a system that generates from renewables 180% the electrical energy needed by load, and 99.9% of hours are covered by generating almost 290% of need. Only 9–72 h of storage were required to cover 99.9% of hours of load over four years. So much excess generation of renewables is a new idea, but it is not problematic or inefficient, any more than it is problematic to build a thermal power plant requiring fuel input at 250% of the electrical output, as we do today.

        At 2008 technology costs, 30% of hours is the lowest-cost mix we evaluated. At expected 2030 technology costs, the cost-minimum is 90% of hours met entirely by renewables. And 99.9% of hours, while not the cost-minimum, is lower in cost than today's total cost of electricity.

        Over-generation is cost-effective at 2030 technology costs even when all excess is spilled.

        Interestingly enough they found that optimum cost-effective 90% solution involved onshore wind and offshore wind but zero PV. I have suspected this but have been really reluctant to bring this up as PV is very attractive and dynamic in its cost/watt.

        Their study was in the east coast mid-atlantic states, and would change considerably if they did it in a more geographically diverse area, say Europe.

        •  thanks for posting this (5+ / 0-)

          That's really interesting.  I would have never thought it would be the case.  I guess the cost of turbines has dropped so much it becomes economical, at least in Germany that doesn't have NG.  But if they make the battery breakthrough I'm hoping for, maybe the calculations would change.

          •  We need battery technology (3+ / 0-)

            Even if we made stationary power 100% renewable we would have the twin energy sectors, transportation and heating/cooling, as monster problems. Transportation can be solved with battery technology and better mass transit, e.g. high speed rail. But that means that stationary sources will also have to power the transportation sector. Heating and Cooling is a tough nut to crack and involves massive reinsulation of existing homes and commercial buildings, if not wholesale replacement. At that point we can heat/cool with stationary, mostly renewable, power generation, again another sector added to power generation.

            •  Batteries are expensive (0+ / 0-)

              Storage generally is pricey but batteries are specifically not cheap, they waste energy in conversion losses and they don't add to the total generating capacity, just buffer some of it. They also wear out and need to be replaced on a regular basis incurring yet more costs. Adding a lot of battery storage to cope with high penetration of intermittent renewables like wind and solar to a grid makes baseload thermal fossil oil, coal and gas and nuclear power stations look really cheap by comparison.

      •  The solution is to minimize curtailment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Wizard, pollwatcher, JeffW
        Wind is cheap as long as it's not overbuilt.
        as much as possible.  This means finding an intermittent use for excess electricity.  One suggestion, from the University of Delaware, is to sell (at least some of) the excess to homes and businesses for space and water heating.  Locations that currently heat with oil or natural gas would have an electrical heating system installed in parallel.  When the electrical supply was plentiful, the switch that ran the natgas or oil burner would be overridden, and electric heaters would run.  This would work because with a large proportion of wind power in the mix, the most common time to have an excess of power is during the winter.  

        Another possibility is to use a process currently under development by the Naval Research Laboratory.  It uses electricity to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater to make "long chain hydrocarbons".  The output is 75% jet or diesel fuel and 25% methane.  Of course, this only works within pumping distance of the ocean.  

        A third way to use excess electricity would be to take nitrogen from air and hydrogen from water and combine them to make fertilizer.  A fourth use for temporarily plentiful electricity is pumped storage hydropower.  

        All of these alternatives, and others I don't know about, will become more cost-effective as petroleum becomes more scarce and expensive.  The point is, if cheap electricity is often intermittently available, ways can be found to use it productively and create a market for it.

        ...the authors find that to build a 99.9% RE grid as cheaply as possible (nearly all wind), the price of electricity would triple.
        If the grid price of electricity goes up more than a penny or two, more people will install solar panels and drive the price back down.  This will also reduce the need for wind power, by covering the difference in demand between day and night.

        "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

        by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 01:59:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Harvard, yes. Oak Ridge, no. (0+ / 0-)

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory has such a bad reputation, I don't believe anything they say until it is reproduced by a reliable, independent source.

    Until then, you're just forwarding their spam.

    “Hardworking men and women who are busting their tails in full-time jobs shouldn't be left in poverty.” -- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 09:41:29 AM PDT

  •  Good diary.. but the government is already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    heavily involved.

    Gov't is involved in the development phase, as it should be.

    However, the marketplace will either embrace or reject these breakthroughs depending on their viability.

    The notion that Big Oil is actively trying to suppress such developments is preposterous.  The oil companies and other deep pocket investors are pouring millions into research in these technologies.  They are not investing in production projects because it is simply not a good investment as yet.

    •  Heh: (10+ / 0-)
      However, the marketplace will either embrace or reject these breakthroughs depending on their viability.
      I don't think so, unless you have the proper, euphemistic definition of 'viability', which means "makes profits for established institutions without damaging current market dynamics.

      The real problem here is that they are totally viable for human beings, but that viability for self sufficiency in energy production makes it non-viable for the institutions who govern, control, and profit from the world's energy.

      Preposterous my ass. It will never be a good investment for Big Oil. There's not enough cuts to be made for the various middlemen and subsidiaries, and distributed power generation is not a commodity or a service. Alt-E is an anathema to Big Oil.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:00:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry to disagree.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The real problem here is that they are totally viable for human beings, but that viability for self sufficiency in energy production makes it non-viable for the institutions who govern, control, and profit from the world's energy.
        Viability means able to provide a product that meets a need at an affordable price.

        None of these battery technologies can do so as yet.

        A viable battery technology would allow a rooftop-size PV system to store enough energy for after dark, allowing the consumer to go off-grid or nearly so.

        Invent a battery that can do so cheaply and it will sell.  So far it hasn't been done.  And as a taxpayer, I do not want to subsidize someone else's use of an inferior or prohibitively expensive product.  It has to pay for itself.

        •  So atl-e tax credits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to encourage adoption is a bad thing?  If you want to encourage adoption, innovation and economies of scale the tax credit is one of the best ways for the government to do that.  Eventually when adoption rates and costs come down you phase out tax credits.  If anything the government (captured as it is by the conventional energy industry among others) is not doing enough to encourage growth in this sector .

        •  This is the problem. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, BYw
          Viability means able to provide a product that meets a need at an affordable price.
          Cost is 1 metric. Profits are another.

          So where does the socially redeemable, beneficial to humanity, or not destructive to humanity part of the equation come into play with commercial viability.

          Oh, that's right... It doesn't.

          It will never be "viable" to replace the entire fossil fuel commoditized marketplace and political institutions with distributed self sufficient non-consumers.

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:17:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't want to subsidize yours (5+ / 0-)

          After all, my kids are subsidizing your inefficiency fossil fuel use with their future ability to eat given the environmental damage.    Anyone interested in technologies that are cost effective would stop mooching off the future and dump fossi fuels

          •  My electricity is 50% nuclear (0+ / 0-)

            There is zero environmental damage for that portion.  So screw your kids, they ain't subsidizing jack for me.

            Tell me you are 100% in favor of expanding nuclear and we can talk.. otherwise..

            •  and the other half? (0+ / 0-)

              But yes, nuclear is probably a very good option.  Even Chernobyl and Fukushima were small potatoes compared to climate change.

              The point being that under any reasonable standard, fossil fuels are also heavily subsidized, largely by allowing producers to not pay their full costs.

              (and my electricity, including the car, is 100% renewables.  A good chunk hydro, but about half wind, solar and geothermal)

        •  That much storage is wastefully expensive. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A viable battery technology would allow a rooftop-size PV system to store enough energy for after dark, allowing the consumer to go off-grid or nearly so.
          Wind power is cheap, cheaper than solar.  It makes more economic sense for the consumer under that roof to feed the excess power into the grid for use by others, and take wind power generated elsewhere to cover nighttime demand.  All the consumer needs is enough battery reserve for a few hours, to cover power outages.  

          "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

          by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 02:12:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  better follow the link above. (10+ / 0-)

      The Kochs, and several red state legislatures are already trying to penalize Alt-E in favor of fossil fuels.  Sorry, but a hundred years of Oil baron interference with the market place tells me we've got a big fight on our hands.

  •  The greedy and sociopathic fossil fuel industry... (5+ / 0-)

    ...doesn't get it.  If I was them I would be investing my $billions on renewable energy and not in climate change denials and even legislation to tax solar power as their poster boys Koch bros.  Their greed will undo them.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:14:40 AM PDT

  •  The game was already over when the Navy announced (3+ / 0-)

    their breakthrough in generating oil from Sea water ... at commercial levels for $3/gal of gasoline.

    That already puts traditional oil production from any of the difficult sources out of business.... tar sands, shale, fracking, deep sea and arctic drilling, etc. They all cost more than $3/gal without including hidden environmental costs of the act of harvesting.

    The Navy process can be applied as an exhaust processing system for Coal power plants, that would allow us to use the vast 1,000+ year supply of coal, and also fulfill the oil needs of chemical, agricultural, and aircraft uses.

    Convert most ground transport to electric. Change our agriculture sequester,reuse animal/plant CH4 release. Convert most homes/businesses to Solar, Wind, and Geothermal. and leave only certain industrial processes and aircraft fuel as our output of CO2 into the atmosphere. ... aiming for a 80-90% reduction worldwide in CO2 release.

    Real solutions and technologies exist now and only need be commercialized and implemented on a mass scale. It becomes simply a matter of MONEY not science, to save our world.

    •  that's a terrible idea (0+ / 0-)

      The last thing we need is cheap petroleum.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:33:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What the Navy announces, and what they do (0+ / 0-)

      could be 2 completely different things.  It would be great if it's real, but I haven't seen anything but their announcement.  They've been working on this for some time, so it wouldn't surprise me if they've got a budget that needs to be approved.

    •  There are *immense* practical difficulties (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, RiveroftheWest, BYw

      with that tech.

      For starters, the volume of seawater required is 100s of times the volume of fuel produced. Just pumping the seawater is a massive problem.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:58:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's at least 2 reasons (0+ / 0-)

      Why that comment is wrong.

      For one, they cannot turn water into oil for $3/gallon commercially.  The navy did using waste heat from their reactor.  If you want to do the same thing commercially it will cost you a lot more.

      And then you suggest burn coal to make oil from seawater?  How inefficient can you get?  And you realize this increases atmospheric CO2?

      Really, I almost wish what you wrote was snark.  Think about it.  It makes no sense.  It doesn't solve anything.

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:39:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And this is an example of how things dont get done (0+ / 0-)

        Apparently "vision" isn't as obvious as one might wish.

        We have an enormous need for electricity generation. This will only increase AND if we convert most ground transportation to it.... which we must for Earth to survive ... then we will need many TIMES more production.

        Coal is an excellent source of raw energy as is the Sun.

        We need to implement Solar as quickly as possible in all practical ways. But we will be relying on Coal and oil/gas for a long time still. So starting from the frame of reference that we already have a huge Coal infrastructure and are already relying on it, let us see what we can do quickly to make it SAFE and not continuing to contribute to the problems.

        We NEED to do something with the CO2 produced, as continuing to release it into the atmosphere will also kill us. As will continuing to burn gasoline in cars/trucks.

        So we need to sequester the CO2 exhaust from power plants. Remember that at this point we are merely talking about CAPITAL INVESTMENT into the facilities, no more fundamental breakthroughs in science are required, just some straight forward engineering work.

        We run the CO2 exhaust into what is "fake" seawater of our own making, by dissolving the CO2 into water. We then on an industrial level implement the techniques Navy Research has developed to extract the Carbon in the form of synthetic oil/gasoline.

        There is considerable waste heat available from the Coal power plant to equal the level of waste heat the nuclear reactor was providing. If it can provide product at a cost under $4/gal it becomes MORE practical then the tar sands and shale oil, and the oil from the deep sea and arctic ocean. Making those efforts MOOT.

        If we can contain and reprocess the coal CO2 we can burn coal freely, and we have 1,000+ YEARS worth, easily accessible. This SOLVES two problems ... providing more OIL without further environmental damage AND removing coal power as a source of CO2 pollution while allowing electricity production to meet future demands .... something that, if un-sequestered, would contribute more CO2 than Earth can hope to handle.

        We can also use the same Navy method to extract carbon from the Oceans, which we also need to do to stop and reverse the acidification humans are responsible for.

        Recap, solving nothing:

        1) Stop coal burning as a CO2 source.
        2) Provide the electrical needs of the future
        3) Remove the need to extend drilling for oil beyond the reserves of sweet crude we already have access to.
        4) Facilitate the conversion of ground transportation to electric by making the required GW's available.
        5) We make the Keystone pipelines of the world pointless.

        If you cannot see how these changes can have profound effects on improving our power system, reducing pollution, creating jobs, and facilitating a revolution in transportation ... then there is nothing else I can say to you.

        •  It doesn't work that way (0+ / 0-)

          The gas the navy made from seawater requires more energy inputs that it outputs because of the law of conservation of energy.

          Burning coal puts CO2 into the atmosphere and tell me why it isn't already being sequestered?  If it's so easy to sequester the CO2 then why isn't already being done?

          Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

          by yet another liberal on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 06:10:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The reason it isn't currently is ... (0+ / 0-)

            .... we have not FORCED the industry to sequester the CO2.

            Just as with Sulfur and Hydrogen Sulfide .... ie: Acid Rain, we will have to force the industry to spend the money to clean up their pollution. We have been 100% effective in ending Acid Rain from our power plants, there is no reason we cannot be just as effective with CO2.

            Starting with the EPA declaring CO2 pollution. The exhaust of the power plants is already heavily treated to remove sulfur and particulates, CO2 just needs to be the next step in what we process out of the exhaust.

            At max efficiency, CO2 and H2O are the only results of burning (burning any hydrocarbon) and we then have to sequester the CO2. There are other choices, we can turn it into Lime for cement production, or to feed Algae to make gasoline using the other process, but the Navy's new process is more efficient than the Algae (which Pres. Carter funded in the 70's and has been being researched continuously ever since).

            No one is saying you get some miracle result. Yes it takes energy to convert the CO2 into gasoline, but the point is to do something constructive with the CO2. That gasoline or oil output can then go on, at the $4/gal level to displace ALL the oil that would need to be obtained from Tar Sands, Shale, Deep Ocean, and the Arctic THEREBY eliminating those efforts forever.

            We will always need some amount of liquid oil/gasoline/kerosene and this is a way to sequester the CO2 from Coal that will be burned anyways, leverage that carbon to eliminate other carbon we would have had to obtain from undesirable efforts.

            Overall, the REDUCTION in total of CO2 release by converting most ground transport to electric, and converting most home/business heating/air conditioning to solar electric and geothermal. will pull 80-90% of ALL CO2 release out of our system.

            The 10-20% remaining will not prevent Earth from recovering, natural processes will continue to remove carbon from the atmosphere and return the planet to pre-industrial CO2 levels eventually.

            I keep coming back to our burning coal because we will need 5 TIMES our current electric production and solar won't be able to meet all that demand 24/7 and will take 20-30 years to meet most of the demand.

            In other words, I am being PRACTICAL.

        •  WRONG. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          If we can contain and reprocess the coal CO2 we can burn coal freely, and we have 1,000+ YEARS worth, easily accessible. This SOLVES two problems ... providing more OIL without further environmental damage AND removing coal power as a source of CO2 pollution while allowing electricity production to meet future demands .... something that, if un-sequestered, would contribute more CO2 than Earth can hope to handle.
          Coal burning must STOP.  If coal is burned, that will put fossil carbon in the air eventually.  Even if it's captured from the coal plant's smokestack and made into synthetic oil, when that oil is burned (in an airplane for example) the carbon goes into the air.  And even if the carbon could be kept out of the air, there's still the problems of land destruction by mining and the disposal of coal ash.

          "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

          by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:33:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We will never eliminate 100% of Carbon burning. (0+ / 0-)

            There will likely never be "electric" aircraft. There will always be industrial processes that burn methane. But we can reduce these as much as possible to a level that Earth can handle it.

            Our problem is that we long since blew past what Earth could "handle".

            We also use fossil carbon from applications that don't involve burning it, and we will continue with these for centuries to come. This is about leveraging the carbon being burned and then sequestered to meet those needs, rather than drilling for more. Plastics, chemicals, roads, etc, etc. You drive on asphalt roads, you drive on rubber tires, you wear synthetic clothes ... you have to understand just how much of human existence uses oil/gas. But those other uses are de-facto sequestering. Recycling can reduce further the need for more drilling, but leveraging the waste carbon of massive power plants could replace most new oil/gas production in the future, forever.

            That's all I'm proposing.

      •  No, sorry. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        For one, they cannot turn water into oil for $3/gallon commercially.  The navy did using waste heat from their reactor.
        The Navy's process doesn't use "waste heat".  It uses electrical power from the ship's nuclear reactor to drive the process.

        "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

        by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:25:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have to point out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, thanatokephaloides

    that being completely grid free is probably not happening any time in the next 50 years outside of maybe some very specific circumstances.

    You know there's some fascinating research going on not just in electochemistry but in mechanical storage. In all probability those mechanical  means will probably be the means to store energy from wind and solar farms.  

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:28:24 AM PDT

    •  I've been off the grid for 6 years (6+ / 0-)

      And you're right, it's not for everybody.  But now that solar panels are so cheap, storage really is the main issue.  If batteries were cheap enough, I wouldn't even consider going back on the grid.

      I checked into kinetic and gravity storage systems before I built mine, they just can't compete with a battery for residential use, but I can see it happening for utilities.

      •  I'm curious as to exactly how you did that (2+ / 0-)

        and what exactly that entails if you don't mind sharing.

        Der Weg ist das Ziel

        by duhban on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:31:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  PV's/wind generator/batteries (10+ / 0-)

          And a cheap $200 gasoline generator I use about once or twice a month in the winter.

          Living off the grid really isn't a big deal, and I have a pretty small system, 1.2KW of PV and a small 400W wind generator, a good inverter, a solar controller, and 8kwh of very heavy batteries.

          But we live by the sun.  We do laundry, use the microwave, or I bake bread in my electric breadmaker when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.  Otherwise, it's pretty normal, we have a 42" tv that I watch way too much, at least one and sometimes 2 computers on all day, regular refrigerator...  The well pump is the only 240V thing in the place, and we cook with propane and have a propane fireplace that hasn't been on in 3 years.

          Being aware of what the sun is going to be doing over the next few days is kind of neat.  You start becoming much more aware of the weather patterns.  I have a weather station that helps me keep track if the wind is blowing too hard for the wind generator, which quickly became a toy I can't seem to ignore.  It's not for everyone, but something we enjoy.

  •  Kinetic energy needs to be in the mix (7+ / 0-)

    Ocean-based wind turbines can elevate water into water towers. When the blades stop, the water can be released through a tube to turn the turbine, etc.

    Another technique would be to pull heavily loaded rail cars up inclined tracks during over-production of power. Then at off-peak, the loads could be let down and turn turbines for power generation.

    Variations on weight and pulley systems could be used to turn turbines or swing pendulums, etc.

    There is an endless supply of gravity, day and night, windy or becalmed.

    We're all just working for Pharaoh.

    by whl on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:29:48 AM PDT

    •  darn right (4+ / 0-)

      Every time you change energy from one type to another, ie electrical to mechanical then back to electrical, you're going to lose some efficiency, but even at lower efficiencies, some of these kinetic storage systems could be economical.

      •  Batteries have no moving parts. Can be installed.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        downstream at homes and enterprises so that they also serve as emergency power back-up.

        Took a power systems course back-in-the-day. The professor discussed batteries. Said that batteries "suck" and that caught everyone's attention.

        He was right 30 years ago and t'is still a true statement.

    •  The former is called pumped hydro (3+ / 0-)

      and has been used for around a century IIRC, and also IIRC is the most commonly used way of storing excess power generated via hydroelectric turbines, for obvious reasons. I think it's also used in some cases for solar, wind and perhaps even tidal energy.

      As for the latter, sounds like a workable stopgap, but lots of energy wasted.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:10:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wasted energy--definitions? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, pollwatcher

        Is a feathered wind generator "wasting" energy? The power was never captured, but it's gone all the same.

        If the wind turbine uses its power to elevate a weight, or pump hydro, then the energy is gained--even if the process is extremely inefficient.

        There may be measurements that indicate running turbines to energize gravity is counterproductive because of wear and tear on the equipment . . . or . . . but it seems likely that generating any energy is better than missing the opportunity.

        We're all just working for Pharaoh.

        by whl on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:50:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Any energy lost to heat or other forms (0+ / 0-)

          of energy that can't be recaptured is wasted energy. So you really want to use the most energy/cost efficient way of storing surplus energy, which differs depending on the intended use. And we're talking about energy storage, not generation, capture or conversion. Obviously you can make a solar panel or turbine efficient only up to the technology's current and physical limits, but you don't want to lose any of that energy unnecessarily, whether in transmission, usage or storage and reconversion.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:11:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Also nuclear. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, JeffW
        I think it's also used in some cases for solar, wind and perhaps even tidal energy.
        At night when demand is low.  

        "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

        by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:36:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It isn't just batteries. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Nose, Notreadytobenice, Inland

    The challenge is in energy storage of any type.  At the core, the attractiveness of fossil fuels is that they already store a lot of energy that we can get out by burning them.

    To my mind, the threshhold will be when we develop storage mechanisms (batteries or whetever) that will be able to cheaply produce and store enough energy during daylight to provide power all night.  At that point, solar wins.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:46:01 AM PDT

  •  There's also size/weight, and safety concerns (3+ / 0-)

    Btw, where do supercapacitors, which I only recently found out about, come in, if at all, when it comes to the storage of surplus renewable electricity?

    For those who don't know what these are, supercapacitors are capacitors that can store thousands of times more energy than regular capacitors, at around the same size and maybe 10x the cost, and can be charged very quickly, as in seconds to minutes, and used properly never wear out.

    However, they also discharge quickly, and can't store anywhere near the energy that similarly-sized rechargeable batteries can store.

    Surely there's a place for them in a future green energy system?

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:07:51 AM PDT

    •  Supercaps are used for recovery & small loads (5+ / 0-)

      Rather than grid storage, currently, super caps are being used for things like recovery of mechanical energy into electrical, in applications similar to automotive regenerative braking, and in point-of-use generation: attach a solar panel to a sign, put a capacitor in between it and the sign, and the sign doesn't go out at night. They're using them for light rail now, too: When you have one minute scheduled stops every mile, you can charge them up for that minute, and on to the next stop.

      Also, they can and do eventually 'wear out' - The heat generated in their use slowly corrupts the chemical mechanisms by which they work. Further, not all the things we may or may not want to use in them are environmentally friendly in production. So, like all things, their use is to be weighed - but they are a viable and important tool.

      -- If corporations are people, is the stock market for the sale of slaves?

      by Orakio on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:39:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can they be used as buffer storage mediums (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to store rapid charges for then offloading to slower-charging batteries? If so, is there any way for them to capture lightning energy?

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:05:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's no obvious obstacle as a buffer. (0+ / 0-)

          It's just generally more efficient to use the energy right then and there, rather than transferring it out somewhere.

          However, catching and keeping a lightning bolt is,  impractical. Too much (or too little), too fast, too unpredictable - You can build a gigantic pile of capacitors, have them get hit three times in a year, have the first one be the goldilocks strike that gives you the same amount of electricity that you'd get out of a barrel of oil, the second one not have enough power to even charge your stack, while the third reduces the whole thing to molten slag.

          -- If corporations are people, is the stock market for the sale of slaves?

          by Orakio on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 09:57:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They'll "come in" about 2050. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  Super, or Ultracapaistors are low density. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, defluxion10

      The huge advantage of supercapacitors is they have almost unlimited life, and you can completely discharge them without damaging them.  Unfortunately, they are very low density.  I ran the calculations for home storage and it would take a gazillion of them to store what a deep cell lead acid could store.

      Someday they may compliment batteries to give an extra kick when a car is starting out, but unless they come up with a super breakthrough, I don't see them having much impact.

      •  I guess it's just me then (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher, RiveroftheWest

        I've recently been tinkering with basic electronics, and ordered a bunch of basic components, including a range of capacitors from the low picofarads to several thousand microfarads, the latter of which I thought packed quite a punch and which for time I was worried could actually hurt me if I wasn't careful, not realizing that they'd need to be charged at dozens or more volts to do that, which my 3-9V battery packs couldn't possibly do without being stepped up (I guess I was recalling the time I got a nasty shock from a small camera flash I took apart to try to fix years ago, but those things step up their voltage to thousands of volts and use special high-voltage caps).

        Anyway, I later found out about supercapacitors, which can store in the farad range, thousands to millions of times more than the aforementioned microfarads caps, albeit at low voltages, which I found really impressive. But I guess their low voltages account for their low energy density.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:03:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  be careful of those caps (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie, RiveroftheWest

          A big electrolytic on a power supply can zap you pretty good.  And be careful how you put them in.  Put an electrolytic in backward in a high enough voltage system and they'll explode and shoot shrapnel all over the place.  I've seen that happen too many times.

          •  I've seen the Youtube videos! :-) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pollwatcher, RiveroftheWest

            Trust me, I triple-check each time I use one of them for polarity. However, I only use batteries, AA, AAA or 9V, not A/C adapters, to power the circuits I put together, and don't intend to tinker with actual electronic devices for quite some time. We're talking milliamps and less than 9V, without transformers and coils and such, so I think I'm in pretty safe territory for now.

            I have, though, fried a few LEDs and transistors so far. :-(

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:21:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  New wind turbines in Fort Lauderdale. (5+ / 0-)

    Thirty-six kilowatts, enough electricity to run a new electric vehicle charging station with multiple chargers in their shadow and probably a lot more. If enough energy is generated it will power the lights at a local softball park consisting of 5 fields which operate until 11 pm 7 days a week. I have seen them on the roof tops of some of the beach resorts as well. One step at a time, hopefully we will be in full sprint very soon.

    "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

    by Pakalolo on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:09:51 AM PDT

  •  Here in Ill in Noize (4+ / 0-)

    our solar explosion is being stopped by petty politics, petty politicians, and Nuclear Power.

    Exelon, the company that purchased all of our operating nukes, suddenly sees just how uneconomical it is to run one of those monstrosities. (that's ignoring the costs of shutting one down, and dealing with spent fuel issues, too)

    Now that solar is cheaper than nuke power here, Exelon wants us to subsidize its nuke industry, because it cannot suffer a loss in profits. Once the amount of the bribe to it is finalized, then solar (and wind) producers here will finally be able to sell excess power back to the power grid, something which is currently precluded by law.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:34:45 AM PDT

  •  $20 Gas Isn't $6 Electricity Just Yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Who's going to put $20 worth of gas in their car when they can put in $6 worth of electricity to go the same distance?
    They are probably roughly equal at this point with gas still holding an advantage, depending on local gas prices and electric rate. If gasoline reaches $7 a gallon, people will line up for battery cars (BEV), especially if the batteries have a warranty of some sort and probably a tax break on the vehicle.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:08:02 PM PDT

    •  Nissan leaf has 24kwh capacity for 120 miles (4+ / 0-)

      At $0.10/kwh that's $2.40/120 mi.  At $3.50/gal and 30mpg, that's $14.00/120 mi.

      •  Five Years To Break Even If Gas Is $5 (0+ / 0-)

        I ran these numbers about 5 years ago, and here it is in a newer wikipedia reference.  If gas goes to $7 a gallon it's a no brainer.  Also in some places places people pay >$0.13/kwh.

        According to, the price premium paid for the Leaf, after discounting the US$7,500 federal tax credit, may take a long time for consumers to recover in fuel savings. In February 2012, Edmunds compared the mid-sized Leaf (priced at US$28,550) with the compact gasoline-powered Nissan Versa (priced at US$19,656) and found that the payback period for the Leaf is 9 years for gasoline at US$3 per gallon, 7 years at US$4 per gallon, and drops to 5 years with gasoline prices at US$5 per gallon. Considering gasoline prices by early 2012, the break even period is 7 years. These estimates assume an average of 15,000 mi (24,000 km) annual driving and vehicle prices correspond to's true market value estimates.

        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

        by bernardpliers on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:08:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not with all the rebates and tax advantages. Lease (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, pollwatcher

          is the way to go!
          and with solar panels, the only outlay is the hook up in our garage.  trade in helps with these costs.

          I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

          by stagemom on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:44:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Except, of course (0+ / 0-)

          ... that your car isn't suddenly worthless. Not only will the Leaf have higher resale value just by virtue of being a more expensive car to begin with, but as a general rule, efficient cars tend to retain their value better with time (because once you take away all the luxury, a car simply becomes a way to get from point A to point B as inexpensively as possible). And yes, this even applies to radically new "types" of cars - for example, the first-gen Prius and Honda Insight have had rather low depreciation rates.

          If you factor in depreciation and resale, electric cars are competitive as-is without subsidy. It becomes even more extreme if you assume that you never resell and the car is driven into the ground. The average car on the road in the US is almost 10 years old, meaning that the average lifespan is nearly double that. Even after factoring in the time value of money, that's a significant profit.

          And if your argument against it is "but you'll have to change out the battery pack", perhaps, but you'll never need to change out a transmission, gearbox, clutch, timing belt, muffler, catalytic converter, filters, oil, oil pumps, seals, spark plugs, camshaft, fuel pump, and on and on and on. Electric drivetrains have about 10% the moving parts of gasoline drivetrains, they're almost unfairly simple. And while battery packs always begin expensive, they always also drop precipitously with time. Remember people saying the exact same thing about Prius packs in the old days? "They're over $6k each, your car will be trash after a few years, you'd be an idiot to buy one!" Well, not only have the packs proven their durability (some are even still in use at 400k+ miles), but they now cost only $2.2k each. And that's new retail - you can get them under $1k rebuilt.

          The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

          by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:05:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  pollwatcher is correct (5+ / 0-)

      If you compare electric car $/mile of fuel cost only, it is way cheaper than a gas car $/mile at present prices.

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:25:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Electric is cheaper (4+ / 0-)

      I just ran the numbers on my gas car and when EV turned out to be cheaper I switched.   Electric is definitely cheaper

  •  A good site for this kind of info (7+ / 0-)

    which I recently discovered is CleanTechnica.  When I get really depressed about climate change I head over there to find out about new developments in green energy production and technology. Every day there seems to be another breakthrough in battery technology, but it does seem like we are at least ten years away from any of them having a big impact.

    However I feel the thrust of this post is absolutely correct. When the threshold of competitive renewable energy is crossed, fossil fuels will very rapidly collapse economically. The downside of our capitalist system will suddenly become a benefit as the money from "big renewables" will start to enter politics to counter the dollars from "big fossil fuel." And once it becomes clear that renewables make economic sense, resistance among the mainstream will vanish. The fact that our biggest state for wind power is Texas is a good example of this effect already taking hold.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 02:31:50 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, Clean Technica is great. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, JeffW

      But except for electric vehicles, batteries and other electrical storage are overrated.  It's easier to move electricity in space rather time.  If one region has a temporary shortage, send in power from another region that has a temporary oversupply.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:46:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There was a TED talk a while ago .... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, pollwatcher a professor who was making batteries he hoped to make cargo container sized out of common earth elements in a molten state to be used to stabilize the grid during periods of wind solar intermittency.

    I can't link to it with my tablet though.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 05:46:13 PM PDT

  •  Now comes the hard part: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, pollwatcher

    ...Protecting the new technology from Big Oil patent trolls.

    One of the biggest problems with replacing fossil fuels (despite bogus propaganda about "feasibility") has long been that the oil tycoons simply steal the development rights to new tech & then Chainsaw Al it to death.

    Stop the FCC from killing the Internet! E-mail them. Call them. Tell the President & your congressmen to help save Internet freedom!

    by Brown Thrasher on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 06:24:10 PM PDT

  •  great diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, pollwatcher

    The investment in solar through the Stimulus seems to have helped drive down prices.

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:21:30 PM PDT

  •  Maybe the US Navy has a better solution than (0+ / 0-)

    batteries. The following article describes a process that converts the dissolved CO2 and Hydrogen in sea water into jet fuel. If it were powered by solar, then it would be carbon neutral, since the CO2 released was collected from the environment.

    I suspect that we will not get to batteries with the same energy density as jet fuel anytime soon. Also, since the ability to create jet fuel from seawater has major strategic advantages for the duration of Nuclear powered aircraft carrier missions, it is likely that the development of the technology will be funded indefinitely.

    Take a look at the link below for more details.
    U.S. Navy Has Found A Way To Turn Seawater Into Fuel

    •  Did you miss the end? (0+ / 0-)

      Forbes columnist Tim Worstall says the system could be great for the Navy, but he doubts it will be an economically feasible or energy-efficient alternative for those of us on land. "We need more energy to go into the process than we get out of it," he wrote of the Navy's method for converting seawater to fuel, adding later, "[A]s a general rule it’s not really all that useful. We want to produce energy, not just transform it with efficiency losses along the way."

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:34:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Le Taxe sur le Taxe! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As we have seen already - Solar IS cheaper than any other production and far cheaper if subsidies are removed. BUT the TAXES ! THe lawmakers and tax-code folks, under the guidance of ALEC and the Koch Brothers resurrected the old trick of taxing new technology out of existence. THe laws already on the books and waiting in line at State Legislatures now make the payback savings form installing Solar 25 years instead of 3 years. The press, meanwhile is manufacturing stories and planting shills on NPR and every major Cable Outlet explaining how far far in the future it "might" be possible to use solar for a "good portion" of electrical generation... but certainly not now. They make up stories about Japan doubling down on Nuclear and Europeans using clean coal and new nuclear designs. Never a mention of the Saharan Solar farm, the wind turbines popping up everywhere in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany. NOPE - we are NOT going to see the oligarchic Fascist Corporate bosses allow this technology to succeed here and we will be left behind quite quickly with great barrels of Oil which we won't be able to sell.

  •  I think the flow batteries are going to be huge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Both literally and figuratively. They are the first battery that appears to be truly appropriate for large-scale, long term storage, with the ability to charge quickly and discharge at high rates without damage.

    They would be entirely inappropriate for small scale (such as residential) use, though they could be a good storage source for large apartment complexes. They require continuous, significant, movement of electrons in or to keep the temperature up inside. So places with lots of draw and lots of incoming charge would be perfect.

    They're also the first battery type that seems to pair well with utility scale wind. Assuming the betas go well, they could be a game changer in the utility scale wind industry.

    Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

    by radical simplicity on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:17:17 AM PDT

    •  transportation also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      They need to overcome some of the problems you mention, but the ability to go into a station and just pump out the old fluid and replace it with charged fluid would be a huge advantage for electric vehicles.

      •  The extremely high temperatures of the molten (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... materials aren't really suited to fluid changes, but it doesn't matter, because they can charge extremely quickly without being destroyed from overheating. Heat is a feature, not a bug. Alas, it's a feature that makes it much more suitable to a stationery use, such as a building-sized bank of them, attached to a concentrated solar power plant, or a large wind farm.

        Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

        by radical simplicity on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:12:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Discharge quickly? (0+ / 0-)

      Since when is that a strength of flow batteries?  Every watt of output you want requires a bigger exchange membrane, which is a very expensive part - the tanks and pumps are of course dirt cheap. Flow batteries are usually sized for rather slow charge/discharge cycles, for example, charging during the night and discharging during the day. For example, there's a flow battery on the Rattlesnake line in Utah - the grid operator couldn't justify building a new line or enlarging the existing one to handle more customers, so they installed a vanadium redox flow battery halfway down the line so that they could keep the line running at high capacity during the night to charge the battery and discharge it during the day to make up the slack.

      Also, "keep the temperature up inside"?  You're mixing up molten salt batteries and flow batteries. Most (not all, but most) flow batteries are operated cool.

      The interesting part about this tech, the part that has potential to be a game changer, is simply the electrolyte. In a flow battery, your cost per watt is your membrane, and your cost per watt hour is your liquid stored. There are fundamental limits to how cheap your liquids can be. A vanadium redox battery can't be cheaper than the vanadium used. A zinc-bromine battery can't be cheaper than zinc or bromine. Etc. By having something that uses organic reactants, you change the game. Oil is really, really cheap compared to most other mined products. Think a gallon of gasoline is expensive (after being shipped multiple times around the world, heavily refined, and highly taxed)? Think of how much the equivalent volume of vanadium would cost.  The potential to use organic reactants could - in theory - make flow batteries cost a small fraction as much per kWh.

      Of course, it doesn't help on the per-kW basis, so they need good results on that as well. One interesting possibility, even if they can't improve that aspect, is to use the battery for long-term energy storage (multi-week or even multi-month), not just diurnal. The more you can spread out the length of the charge/discharge cycle, the better the ratio of reactant cost to membrane cost.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:27:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You didn't watch the video (0+ / 0-)

        This is a membraneless battery, there are no plates, and the materials do not have to be mechanically separated. They separate and mix all on their own based on charge state.

        They can handle HUGE current flows, and they're dirt cheap, relatively speaking.

        The battery is unlike any other. The electrodes are molten metals, and the electrolyte that conducts current between them is a molten salt. This results in an unusually resilient device that can quickly absorb large amounts of electricity. The electrodes can operate at electrical currents "tens of times higher than any [battery] that's ever been measured," says Donald Sadow­ay, a materials chemistry professor at MIT and one of the battery's inventors. What's more, the materials are cheap, and the design allows for simple manufacturing.

        Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

        by radical simplicity on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:40:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)

          1. The flow battery link in the diary is not to the TED talk you're talking about. It's to a completely different technology based on quinones.

          2. I can't watch videos here, but I looked up info about the battery elsewhere (link), and there's nothing to suggest it's a flow battery, just a molten salt battery like a zebra.

          3. You made a claim about "flow batteries" in general. What you described is nothing like flow batteries in general.

          4. The stats cited in the comments by gmoke for the battery in the TED talk are unimpressive to say the least. I went and looked up the wattage for the cubic meter cell: 8.75kW. That's 8.75W/l. A few percent the volumetric power density of lithium ion batteries. That is not in any way, shape or form a "high rate" battery like you describe it. A battery large enough to run a single Tesla Roadster would be the size of a cabin.

          The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

          by Rei on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:02:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's designed for low cost utility scale (0+ / 0-)

            storage, not vehicles.

            In addition, the battery performance increases with size. The table-top sized one currently heading into beta is 2MW.

            It's designed to be very low cost, modular, easy to manufacture and transport, with the ability to handle the current flows from utility-scale energy production and community-scale power draws with little to no loss of capacity after many thousands of cycles.

            They're targeting storage at under $100 per kilowatt-hour. Sodium sulfur batteries cost roughly $600 a kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion batteries cost closer to $1,000 a kilowatt-hour.

            Sorry if I got the terminology mixed up (re: flow), a quick glance at the video's image made me think it was the same one. I was wrong.

            Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

            by radical simplicity on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:27:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

Meteor Blades, Mary, Pat K California, Thumb, Alumbrados, Angie in WA State, chuck utzman, northsylvania, PrahaPartizan, fcvaguy, jazzmaniac, Chi, melo, Timaeus, roonie, glitterscale, kaleidescope, Gooserock, PeterHug, Shockwave, LynChi, Wintermute, tacet, cotterperson, liz, Jay C, LEP, Pompatus, Bryce in Seattle, wenchacha, EricS, cyberKosFan, susakinovember, whenwego, ask, chimpy, Suvro, PeteZerria, splashy, sidnora, dksbook, k9disc, jdmorg, psnyder, pat bunny, agincour, yet another liberal, JimWilson, Steven Payne, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, BlogDog, 2dot, walkshills, Major Kong, zerelda, side pocket, tomjones, Emmy, Josiah Bartlett, oortdust, Gowrie Gal, nailbender, historys mysteries, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, UncleCharlie, jiffypop, caul, chimene, OpherGopher, gmoke, ZappoDave, basquebob, dewtx, stagemom, YucatanMan, Kevskos, Claybow, reflectionsv37, owlbear1, bleeding blue, majcmb1, Sun Tzu, Inland, GreyHawk, Little Lulu, spunhard, Rusty in PA, FindingMyVoice, CentralMass, Alan Arizona, Jim P, begone, berko, Born in NOLA, kovie, tobendaro, HoundDog, Dvalkure, Prognosticator, smokeymonkey, The Wizard, blueoasis, jguzman17, gpoutney, The Hindsight Times, Preston S, el cid, onionjim, CA Nana, suspiciousmind, WarrenS, sea note, BeerNotWar, clinging to hope, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, camlbacker, whl, ColoTim, offgrid, nicteis, tbirchard, HeartlandLiberal, terabytes, deepeco, FischFry, letsgetreal, mudslide, SeaTurtle, carpunder, JML9999, Mike Williams, JayC, jack 1966, also mom of 5, JeffW, flowerfarmer, GAS, bill warnick, Involuntary Exile, elwior, Laughing Vergil, Buckeye Nut Schell, monkeybrainpolitics, Lujane, tofumagoo, Cassandra Waites, pickandshovel, triplepoint, 3rdOption, doppler effect, BYw, SpiffPeters, billybam, Fiddlegirl, Celtic Merlin, 207wickedgood, Bule Betawi, Rhysling, zmom, divineorder, bobatkinson, Norm in Chicago, socal altvibe, rbird, shopkeeper, mkor7, Obama Amabo, elziax, asym, bfitzinAR, lastman, Thutmose V, stevenwag, ayjaymay, jfromga, nancat357, LookingUp, America Jones, Words In Action, flitedocnm, LaughingPlanet, The Jester, mookins, cazcee, cordgrass, Puddytat, Jaimas, nirbama, ericlewis0, slice, dot farmer, Pakalolo, Onomastic, Maximilien Robespierre, Bluefin, ozsea1, slowbutsure, hooktool, Susipsych, FarWestGirl, trumpeter, marleycat, zukesgirl64, thomask, Santa Susanna Kid, Reinvented Daddy, enhydra lutris, organicus, chira2, foresterbob, sound of progress, Caddis Fly, Eric Stetson, just another vortex, leftykook, DRo, SouthernLiberalinMD, Auriandra, DEMonrat ankle biter, No one gets out alive, Laurel in CA, BocaBlue, AnnetteK, livingthedream, Heart n Mind, TheLizardKing, Mindful Nature, IndieGuy, orpurple, FreeSpeaker, CA ridebalanced, Horace Boothroyd III, martinjedlicka, BusyinCA, oldpotsmuggler, Glen The Plumber, George3, peptabysmal, Robynhood too, countwebb, jbob, goodpractice, weck, HedwigKos, unfangus, Drocedus, RiveroftheWest, helpImdrowning, solarbay, peterfallow, ET3117, Portia Elm, duhban, Retroactive Genius, skepticalcitizen, TheDuckManCometh, RUNDOWN, hamjudo, eagleray, gnosticator, Gurnt, thanatokephaloides, Skyye, Choco8, hbk, Gunnar Thomas, T J Lewis

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site