20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage

20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:42 pm

An article by Ivan Penn recently appeared in the online space. The topic is a fresh water hydraulic storage system built late last century in California, to serve as a backup for the statewide energy supplier. The storage system worked well, but it's value is now in question because of the sustained drought impacting California.

Mr. Penn reported the views of various high ranking persons who lamented the lack of fresh water to sustain this expensive and successful energy storage system.

It occurred to me that this is one of many examples of frozen thinking that seems to afflict all of us, but is REALLY obvious when the victim is in a position of great responsibility.

A friend with an engineering background has confounded me over the past year, by pointing out frozen thinking to which I have been subject in a project we are doing. I suppose the phenomenon I'm discussing is similar to tunnel vision, or perhaps the notorious "thinking inside the box".

So it is that the obvious idea of using salt water for water energy reservoirs will inevitably fail to become reality because "it has never been done that way".

For the readers of this forum, who are interested in planning for times of great difficulty, perhaps having an awareness that salt water CAN INDEED serve as the working fluid for a hydraulic energy storage system will be useful.

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Re: 20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage: Canada

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:45 pm

As a follow up to the idea that salt water could serve as a working fluid for energy storage, I asked Mr. Google to show me mountains next to oceans

The first citation was for the Northwest part of the North American continent.


As it happens, the mountains in these locations act to wring fresh water out of the prevailing westerly winds, so (I presume) there is no lack of fresh water in these locations.

I'd be interested if another member of The Knowledge forum can find other locations with mountains next to an ocean.

Perhaps ALL such locations will have the feature that they wring fresh water out of the prevailing winds.

However, if that is the case, then (I would presume) all such locations would be candidates for hydraulic energy collection systems.

Delivery of energy collected from such remote locations would be similar to the problem of delivery of energy from windmill farms in the middle of a continent.

Edited 2015/08/23 "easterly" corrected to "westerly" per Wikipedia

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Re: 20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage

Postby Maurice Goldsmith » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:43 am

Continuing with my North Africa theme from a previous post - the Atlas Mountains of Morocco/Algeria/Tunisia could qualify.
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Re: 20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage

Postby germanforestgump » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:34 pm

Do i right understand You are searching for the water energy system we call "Pumpspeicher-Kraftwerk" in german?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-st ... lectricity

Because this sort of energy "transforming for saving" system could be "closed", which is important when using saltwater!
It has to be guaranteed that no saltwater comes out, contaminating the surrounding soil, natural rivers and groundwater aquifers!

One more expensive fact using saltwater is the need of very resistant materials because of stronger corrosion.

A useful landscape for such a project could be the Atacama Desert along the chilean westcoast.
Here there is the effect of mountains wringing out water from soaked air-masses extremely small:
Because along the chilean westcoast is a very cold maritime stream called "Humboldt-Stream", coming from the extreme cold antarctic continent to the warmer north.
The cold air masses above him are not able to contain and transport much air water.
In the moment, when they reach the hot land, they expand their capability of taking up water so much, that they would dry the land more if it would not already be the most dry site on earth.
There is only a very small stripe along high mountains, where this heated air is going colder again and condense a little fog stripe.
But this is very few water.

So this region has no sweet water to move electric power stations.
It would be possible to pump saltwater in a bassin between high mountains in a short distance to the coast,
powered by windmills and solar power plants (photovoltaic panels or parabol rin or mirror concentrating power plants).
(Maybe it would be more effective to solar-heat saltwater to steam, earning the salt, leading the demineralised steam by steam pipeline upon the mountains and condense it there as demineralisied water in a bassin, for dual-use for storing power, fresh water and irrigation.)

But is a need in this region for the storage of renewable energy?
This region is nearly not habitable despite of some mining, fishing and space monitoring activities.
The distance to the next agglomerations is not very short and needs long expensive wires.
I guess the energy needed there could be produced just in time.
Not only by wind and solar, but maybe using the sea streaming, wave power or flood changing.

The need would increase if the chileans decide to colonise the Atacama Desert and for this produce big masses of fresh water, which needs much energy.
But this is a sort of production that could follow the just-in-time energy potential.

The risk of salt-contamination maybe in this area is not as bad as in more sensible areas, because there is not much nature which could be damaged on the short way to coast.
There are already areas where natural salt mineral depots exist.

But one big risk has to be mentioned for the whole west coast of both americas:
The risk of extremely strong earth-quakes which can damage a water storage bassin and causes a giant flood which will destroy and salt-contamine everything on its way to coast!
Last edited by germanforestgump on Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:29 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage: Africa North

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:54 pm

For maurice goldsmith and germanforestgump ...

Thank you both for adding Africa and Chile as locations suitable for salt water energy storage.

The Northern Africa location has the advantage of (relative) proximity to Europe.

Combining solar power energy collection with water storage would yield a capability to serve both Europe and Africa with steady, reliable power.

The same is true for Chile, which has space for solar energy collection in the high deserts, as you have mentioned. Chile could provide power for South America.

Technology to deliver large quantities of electric power by high voltage direct current is in research.

Risks due to earthquakes certainly exist. Concerns for the environment will exist as well.

Storing water in a high place is risky business. Many examples of deliberate or accidental release of destructive waves of water come to mind.

However, the entire process of "civilization" involves managing risks effectively for extended periods.

Because "The-Knowledge" forum is visible to the global Internet thanks to Google and Bing, perhaps the discussion will draw the attention of persons with the means to seriously consider projects on the scale on offer.

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Re: 20150823: Salt Water Energy Storage: Hydrogen

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:36 pm

As a follow up to the theme of continent scale energy collection and storage, hydrogen is an attractive alternative to high capacity transmission lines for a variety of reasons.

The "long awaited" "Hydrogen Economy" depends upon a continental scale supply of hydrogen.

The gas can be transported to wherever it is needed on Earth.

It has the immense advantage of delivering pure fresh water as a byproduct, so it makes an ideal fuel for desert regions.

Toyota is making a major bet that customers will accept its new line of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The companion bet is "out there" for suppliers of hydrogen.

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