Promising energy storage technologies for our renewable future


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/28/ice-ice-baby.html


#2

How about some hyperloop tubes to ferry those ice trains from the windy places to the hot places? Or for that matter, loop cars full of something heated, sent to somewhere cold? etc…

Not going to lose/gain much heat in a vacuum tube.


#3

Recently developed sulfur flow battery seems to also be very promising. Sulfur is essentially a waste product, and the battery is estimated to be up to 5 times less than pumped hydrostorage.


#4

[Prospectively:] Liquid sulfur pipeline from Canada 3-D printed a moss wall frame next to my lawn again yesterday, woke me up with the apology. Derned big sulfur.


#5

Pumped hydroelectric storage is the cheapest known energy-storage technology today, but is limited by geography.

IIRC, 20,000 possible sites have been identified along Australia’s east coast.


#6

It’s also one of the world’s lowest population density countries, and does not want to change that (https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook43p/populationenvironment). Which is kind of the point - energy storage needs to be reasonably near where the people are, at least close enough that the grid (which in the US already needs significant upgrades) can move it efficiently from generation site to storage site to end user.


#7

There are also iron flow batteries from ESS ( www.essinc.com ) that look interesting, with low cost and environmental low impact iron as electrolyte and the possibility to ship the batteries in dry condition (“just add water”)
It seems they are already shipping testing units to US Army.


#8

ISTR that a heavy train on a hill is a reasonably efficient storage technology


#10

Its easy to defeat thermal bridging in wood framed houses. They’ve been doing it Scandinavia for decades. Wood stud framing is still the easiest and cheapest way to build, and making it energy efficient is far from rocket science.

On the other hand Structural Inslated Panels like your product have been around for decades and have failed to replace stud framing. Its a nice product, but will always be on the margin.


#11

Making Ice to take advantage of cheaper electric rates has been around for 40 or more years.


#13

All well and nice, but the fact remains that stud construction dominates residential construction, while magic panels like yours, again, are on the margin at best. I’ll be very surprised if that ever changes.

Also remains a fact that is is easy to break thermal bridges and build energy efficient wall assemblies with wood studs.

Also remains a fact that most builders and home owners interested in energy efficiency are interested in saving energy as part of their overall environmental outlook. Those people are very unlikely to favor a product that relies on foam insulation, and urethan foam is probably at the bottom of their list because of chemical, oil, and other reasons.

So while I appreciate your desire to jump in here and promote your product, I want to just provide some context for other readers. Foam insulated wall panel building like this has been around for decades. Its never made appreciable market penetration and has remained a specialty product on the sidelines of the housing industry. Does not mean its bad. Does not mean its not a decent product. But it does mean that since the driver for energy efficiency in housing is primarily coming from the Sustainability movement, that foam based products are not favored for achieving higher energy performance in the current climate where standards such as Passive House are the thought leaders on where residential construction should be headed.


#14

Eh, failure in the building trades market has many factors often not related the the product’s merits. My dad represented architectural product companies, and he found this company making 4’x8’ stone panels by gluing a thin veneer on a composite honeycomb. It was a fraction the weight of stone sheathing, easier to install, and should have been a no brainer success. But the construction unions would have none of it, and created endless hassles when it was specified. The company apparently still survives, but it was a failure in the late 80’s.


#15

So true. For residential construction a better predictor of a new products success is:

  • Does a builder feel confident about how long it will take him to do the work with a new product.
  • Is a builder able to estimate his cost/price confidently with a new product.
  • Can the builder continue to work with known suppliers and sub-contractors with a new product.

Typically a NO on any of these results in inflated prices in response to perceived risk.

This is part of why construction is the most technologically backwards of all our industries.


#16

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