Energy Future Forum: Surplus Q&A’s 2.0

By Heather Reece

The final WMEAC Energy Forum on Wednesday, April 6, hosted by Muskegon Community College, left us once more with an abundance of unanswered questions. These questions will be addressed here and over the next several days in subsequent posts.  Thanks for your interest!

1.)  Question: How does advanced battery storage compare to other storage technologies?

Advanced battery storage technology is based on the idea of a solid-state ultra capacitor. Ultra capacitors have an advantage over electrochemical batteries in that they can absorb a release a charge virtually instantaneously while undergoing virtually no deterioration.  Advanced battery storage technology also has the ability to store much larger amounts of energy then other storage technologies. The Energy department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews of electrochemical energy storage systems to date, saying that without advanced batteries, electricity from renewable energies (wind and solar) must be used as soon as it is generates. Electrochemical energy storage systems store electricity in chemicals and have the ability to store the energy collected and release it upon demand.

“By improving E.E.S. technologies, industries could tap into a near endless supply of wind and solar power and drastically reduce the dependence on fossil fuels to meet growing demand for electricity,” said Z. Gary Yang, P.N.N.L. laboratory researcher.

Ludington Pumped Storage Plant-one of the world’s biggest electric batteries. The Ludington plant serves Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. This engineering marvel has a set of six turbines that double as water pumps. At night, when customer demand for electricity is generally low, the pump-turbines move water from Lake Michigan 363 feet uphill to a reservoir. When the demand for electricity is high, the water is then released from the reservoir to flow back downhill, turning turbines in the powerhouse to make electricity.

Similar to solar, wind and geothermal energy, pump storage is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of electrical generation. The plant itself does not consume fossil fuels or require the handling of waste materials. The power generated at Ludington is distributed throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

The Ludington Pump Storage Plant can produce 1,872 megawatts of electricity (more than double the capacity of any single unit on Consumers Energy’s system). Given the amount of electricity that can be generated by the plant, the plant would be able to power a city of 1.4 million people.

2.) Question: What are the bi-products of lithium ion battery production? Is it safe, considering the fresh water we have to manufacture them here in West Michigan?

The Lithium-Ion batteries represent a comparatively new technology with superior specific energy and cycle life and no memory effect.

The composition of Li-ion batteries can be quite variable, depending primarily on the composition of the cathode. Battery discharge is based on the diffusion of lithium ions from the anode to the cathode through the current collector.

The lithium-ion battery manufacturing process is sensitive to moisture. This challenging production environment demands a water vapor detection instrument with reliable performance and strong resistance to process byproducts that may be present in the atmosphere. Dry-air management is essential during the lithium-ion battery manufacturing process in order to prevent unwanted chemical reactions that can cause hazards and to prevent product quality problems.

Lithium-ion battery manufacturing must be carried out in dry rooms or glove boxes where the local microenvironment must be controlled to preserve optimum production conditions.

<<Energy Future Forum: Surplus Q&A’s 1.0

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