power storage - sodium–sulfur batteries

mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
So I've found a topic (power storage) that didn't seem to fit an existing Category.

I suppose currently, the only viable, accepted storage device, is lead-acid batteries.

Do any charge controllers have settings for Ni-Mh batteries ? Any ideas of their recharging efficiency ? Iron / Alkaline cells ? I think the last number I heard for Hydro pumped storage was 70-85% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped_hydro_storage

Nickel-Iron is only 65% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel-iron_battery

Today, I came across a wind generating site planning to use sodium–sulfur batteries as "levelers". The mfg seems to state only 75% efficiency, and you have to keep it hot enough to keep the sulfur molten (300C / 572F), so I guess it's not going in my house, but I'm surprised it's efficient enough to be considered for Utility scale installations.
battery vendor:http://www.ngk.co.jp/english/products/power/nas/index.html
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  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: power storage - sodium–sulfur batteries

    This is the future of utility sized solar ...

    They already have large solar-thermal sites that all focus the energy via tracking mirrors on a single center tower, which heat liquid sodium. What this does is allow cheap short term storage so these plants can provide power 24/7 ( The thermal energy is used to make steam for conventional turbines, not batteries like the article you linked )

    Its cheap, cost effective and can utilize low cost desert lands, the only down side is the need for a national power grid to transfer the energy to places the would use the power.

    Discouraging that even in the RE forums it isn't discussed more let alone the regular media ...
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,447 admin
    Re: power storage - sodium–sulfur batteries

    "We" have already discussed utility sized issues regarding storage of power here a little bit before:

    National Wind

    Here is a neat article on another way to look at power regulation on the regional/national level:

    Why Frequency Regulation is Important

    Interesting article that shows the real output from a large wind farm over a two day cycle... Can see why energy storage will become a very major issue as more wind and solar systems are brought online.

    If you map the wind farm output (in above article) onto the postponed T Boone Pickens' 4,000 MW wind farm--We could end up with the equivalent of 2-4 large nuke/coal power plants "turning on and off" in the matter of hours, if not minutes... Large power plants (nuke/coal) can take days to "turn on and off"... Currently hydro/dams and compressed air storage (only a couple demonstration sites--that I can find) are the only large scale systems out there right now (that I have seen). Some Battery based systems in the 10-100 MW range seem to be out there now.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: power storage - sodium–sulfur batteries

    Wind and Solar Electric both fall into the storage trap, Solar Thermal can use sodium for the storage ( very low cost ) and it can be directly used to generate steam for the turbine ... end to end there is no better efficiency or solution. Solar Thermal can approach 60% efficiency harvest from the Sun and operating at temperatures that can super heat water on demand ( the stored liquid sodium ), current turbine technology can be used in a closed loop fashion. the ONLY down side is we would have to have a ture national very high voltage grid for efficient distribution ... but we need that anyways


    We could power everything in the US with this technology ... Its a shame its never discussed