Friday, December 7, 2007

Far Out Energy Storage

Storage of energy, like storage of data in the computer world, isn't the sexiest topic on the planet. Re: a recent PowrTalk article on using gajillions of plugged-in Car batteries to to smooth out capacity, this C|Net article raises the specter of some way out-of-box approaches. Think: super batteries, compressed air (titillating image to the right is one of these new compressors ... try to contain yourself !!!). But wait there's more: putting the compressed air in natural underground structures - aka caves. And mega flywheels. Energy created when wind is blowing and the sun is shining that's not used immediately, needs to be stored for use at night and when the winds die down. As solar, wind and wave tech gets better and better, and especially when they start to put coal and oil out of business, this is going to be an increasingly important function. In fact, a la chicken and the egg, the storage issue needs to be solved long before alt-e will be able to go mainstream.