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# DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade3

## DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

(OP)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has set a goal to reduce the cost of utility-scale, long-duration energy storage by 90% within a decade to bolster a grid powered by renewable energy.
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/doe-initiative-se...

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

It's nice to want things...but what does "reduce the cost of utility scale, long duration energy storage by 90%" actually mean?

There IS no utility scale, long duration energy storage, other than (arguably) piles of coal or the natural gas reserve (which locally here is basically recharging of previously exhausted natural gas formations closer to market than the current sources).

You won't be reducing the cost of THOSE reserves by 90%.

The obvious solution to renewable energy is over-production, based on winter demand, rather than trying to make energy in summer and store it for winter.

For those two weeks per year when the solar panels are covered in snow and winds have stopped because a high pressure area has socked in, we'll need stored fuels for sure. But even if we burn fossils 2 weeks per year for emergencies or short-term weather events like that, we'll already have won the fight against AGW in substantial terms.

The problem will be this: how will we afford to pay for dispatchable power infrastructure that we only use a couple weeks per year? The cost of fuel to feed them will be trivial in comparison to that- and I don't have a solution to it.

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

2
utility scale energy storage = hard
long duration energy storage = harder
utility scale long duration energy storage = the holy grail

The best solution for utility scale energy storage is pumped storage hydro. These work on a daily cycle, perhaps with an overlapping seasonal cycle, but there are only a few of these, and they tend to be more environmentally damaging then conventional hydro plants. The biggest I know of is Ludington MI on the east coast of Lake Michigan.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Problems with pumped hydro are:
Wilderness destruction (the Australian Green party was founded to oppose a hydro scheme)
Lack of ideal sites (Snowy 2 is a very expensive proposition but the best they could find)
and one that I think is a red herring - poor round trip efficiency. Since solar, when it is available, is 3c/kWh roughly, losing 1/3 of that in the round trip is peanuts in context.

In Without Hot Air he makes the point that yes pumped hydro is a good solution, but all the good spots have been taken. If you haven't come across it it's a good hard look at what it would take to decarbonise the UK, https://www.withouthotair.com/

Cheers

Greg Locock

New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Pumped hydro is best when paired with a nuclear plant, like in Bath County, Virginia. That is the main reason it hasn't gained a foothold in Australia.

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Combining solar and pumped storage is a flawed combination because electricity demand during the day somewhat follows solar output. You want a source for the pumped storage that is generating when there is a low demand, hence why nuclear works so well.

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

It is DOE'S function, not want. Investment in technological development to bring costs down usually works. Where's the problem? Name one production line energy source that has not experienced cost reduction from the first time the pilot plants were built. Production cost of oil went so low, producers nearly bankrupted themselves. Many did.

Summer demand is usually the maximum driving load, at least in most parts of the world, not winter.

Demand tracks with solar production when demand is cooling. Demand does not track solar production when demand is heat. Wind can track both, but maybe not. But it appears that you are only considering climate conditioning demand. There are other demands. It has been reported that 30% of US total electricity demand is used for pumping and a lot of that can be done either on a 24h basis, or when power, especially cheaper power, can be made available.

Pumped storage does not require coupling with nuclear. Its biggest drawback, other than habitat change, is lack of suitable sites having sufficient water, large elevation change and being near to demands.

Nuclear works well, until it doesn't.
Problems at China nuclear power plant are serious enough to warrant shutdown, French co-owner warns

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Niagara still runs a large pumped storage operation.
Pumped storage and wind power makes more sense (than solar).
I was talking with someone who is working on an industrial plant. they plant to run an electrolyser to make hydrogen from wind power. They aim to have about a 2 month supply of LH2 on site. they use it in their process and they will have a GT rigged for burning it was well for electricity.
While the efficiency stinks what else would you do with wind power at night when demand is nil?

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, consulting work welcomed

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Exactly. Doing something with it, even at negative efficiency, is still something and it produces more than does flying a kite. Use it or lose it. That wind isn't coming back.

Pumped storage, or any kind of storage works anytime supply <> demand, no matter what the source, or destination. Some applications have a natural supply-demand mismatch. At Enron Power, amongst even more weird ideas, we once looked at building a tomato greenhouse to dump waste cogen heat into. Use it or lose it. Never built that one, but not because the numbers didn't work. The local tomato market was already saturated. We went to Florida and made frozen orange juice with it.

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Lets just forget this silly talk about pumped storage being a widely used energy solution ....

Yes, PS seems to work in some places, it works specifically where mother nature has already done the heavy lifting of the terrain AND the local population and load demand just happens to work out ....

But, try to sell this "pumped storage" idea to the people of Kansas, or Oklahoma, or most of flat middle America ....

Hey, isn't this also the specific country where the wind seems to blow continuously ???... In my humble opinion, if you are in an area where wind power is attractive, pumped storage is not.

I believe that this conversation would be better if it were directed to a general discussion of the original thesis... "reduce the cost of utility-scale, long-duration energy storage"

.... and in my opinion, that would be a discussion of the new hydrogen economy ....

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

The title of the thread is storage. It is not limited to any specific way to do that, nor is the linked article.

Pumped storage is a valid, tried and true means to accomplish that goal. Some countries rely on it rather heavily. It is widely used in Spain for many, many years. I dont object to discussing it.

The hydrogen economy is not the subject per say, but if you have something to say about how energy produced from that tech, or any other can be stored, that fits the discussion perfectly and we are all ears.

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

The NREL believes that hydrogen has much energy storage potential:

Pumped hydro, compressed air and hydrogen storage are all compared in the NREL report

Additionally, it should be noted that all of the major suppliers of gas turbines have been doing intensive development work testing the stability of a blended fuel stream of clean-burning Natural Gas and Hydrogen. Electric utilities are very mindful of these hydrogen burning developments in their future plans

https://www.ge.com/gas-power/future-of-energy/hydr...

https://www.siemens-energy.com/global/en/news/maga...

Because utilities can, at this moment, build a natural gas fired combined cycle plant to replace an ancient coal fired plant AND then in the future convert over to a hydrogen supplemented fuel stream.... because of this incremental capital generation investment and retention of the distribution infrastructure, ..... pumped storage will not be attractive in most of flat America...

MY opinion only ....

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

Hierro Island, Canary Islands is at 54% renewable electrical supply with the wind coupled pumped storage system.
27.794437°N 17.923716°W • 50 m to 700 m

You have to understand that I like these types of storage systems, because they have pumps and pipes. What am I going to do screwing around with lithium battery systems? The crane lifting blocks ain't bad either. More interesting than watching a charging gage on a black box.

https://www.endesa.com/en/projects/all-projects/en...
https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/P...
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=electricity+pumped+stora...

If no water nearby, this storage system might work.
https://user-images.strikinglycdn.com/res/hrscywv4...

### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade

If you have elevation change but no water then use electric trains with cars full of rocks.
Take up the grade with excess power and bring them down, braking in regen you supply power when needed.
I don't recall the name of the guys promoting this.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, consulting work welcomed

It'd be sort of interesting to work out what you'd really expect from that, but gut feel is that unless the railway up the mountain has already been built (it hasn't, railways don't generally go up mountains) then it's a big CO2 hit to set it up and fairly small beer storage wise per $. Cheers Greg Locock New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? ### RE: DOE initiative seeks to drop long-duration storage cost 90% in a decade Sounds like a honey trap for BA/MBA renewable energy angel investor fund managers. Here's a start... 50 RR cars 100T/car 110T gross 10,000,000 lbs load Rolling Resistance coefficient 0.015 = 110,000 lbs 3% grade 100m elev change requires 3333m track Track cost 1.5-5$MM/km

Length of train 2500ft (760m)

Cost of 50 cars ?? $5MM Cost of 2? 5000Hp locomotives = ??$8 MM

I can't see that competing with a closed water pumping system of 2x30,000bbl tanks, 100m+ of pipe and a few pumps and a turbine, but I haven't priced a turbine lately..

MVAs, it might work with a rock quarry at the top of a hill.

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