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Too slow and steady: household battery packs are going to take a while October 25, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
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That can't be good.

That can’t be good.

I would like nothing more than to have an inverter and battery pack in my home.

The recent ice storms left us without power for just over three days in the dead of winter. We had a gas stove in the basement and some great camp lights that kept us going, but camping in your own basement without any form of communications gets boring fast. I’d love to have backup power, but at something north of $15k, I have other things to worry about.

So it’s with some sadness that I saw recent numbers from Sandia Labs that suggest I’m going to have to keep waiting a while before I can actually afford a whole-home UPS (uninterruptible power supply), but not for the reasons I thought.


Phinergy’s battery: energy storage, problem solved? June 6, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in electric cars.
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Image of the test vehicle, a small electric car


You hear stories of new battery tech all the time, and I’ve generally learned to tune them out.

A company makes grandiose claims long before they’re  bending metal, and then run into some sort of impossible problem and that’s it, they’re done. You know, like EEStor.

So why am I writing about one now? Because this is Alcoa, and they’re on the road.

If this pans out, and that’s always a big if in battery tech, then basically the storage problem is done, for cars. There are several serious limitations, but it does neatly solve the major problem of providing long-distance driving.

But is this for real? Read on! (more…)

The energy storage myth May 28, 2012

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid, solar.
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One of the decrepit arguments the “big power” supporters -which basically means nuclear- love to wheel out at every possibility is the “problem” of energy storage. It comes up over and over and over again.

They say that renewables don’t deliver power 24/7, so if you want to use them, you have to be able to store it somewhere. And -they continue- since we don’t have this storage, what we really have to do build backup systems, like gas plants. So renewables increase CO2.

Oh, there’s a problem all right, a problem with the argument. Quite simply, the storage problem doesn’t exist.