Liquid batteries?

6 Mar 2012

Ludington "liquid battery"

One issue with solar and wind power is, that there are times when there is excess power and times when there isn’t enough (when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine).  Obviously, the idea is to store that excess energy and use it when needed.

I heard this story on NPR about a new liquid battery technology which sounds pretty cool.   The NPR story doesn’t explain the technology, but this Technology Review report does.  The idea of this liquid battery is interesting, but there are other technologies that store “excess” energy including this skyscraper in New York.

Even more amazing to me is the Ludington Pumped Storage facility built on Lake Michigan in 1973 and which is getting an $800 Million upgrade.  It has an 842-acre reservoir that can store up to 27 billion gallons of water.   Lake Michigan water is pumped uphill during periods of low electric demand and stored in the reservoir. When demand is high, the water is released and rushes downhill, turning turbines and associated electric generators.  It reportedly can generate 1,872 megawatts, enough to power a community of 1.4 million people.  Now that is a liquid battery!

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