Thomas Edison Already Solved The Renewable Energy Storage Issue

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One of the biggest challenges of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar is how unpredictable and intermittent they can be. With solar, for example, you have a surplus of energy produced during the daytime and summertime, but at night and in the winter months, the supply dwindles.


Conventional batteries, such as those based on lithium, can store energy in the short-term, but when they’re fully charged they have to release any excess or they could overheat and degrade. The nickel-iron battolyser, on the other hand remains stable when fully charged, at which point it can transition to making hydrogen instead.


"[Nickel-iron batteries] are resilient, being able to withstand undercharging and overcharging better than other batteries," says John Barton, a research associate at the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University in the UK, who also researches battolysers. "With hydrogen production, the battolyser adds multi-day and even inter-seasonal energy storage."


Besides creating hydrogen, nickel-iron batteries have other useful traits, first and foremost that they are unusually low-maintenance. They are extremely durable, as Edison proved in his early electric car, and some have been known to last upwards of 40 years. The metals needed to make the battery – nickel and iron – are also more common than, say, cobalt which is used to make conventional batteries.


This means the battolyser could have another possible role for renewable energy: helping it become more profitable.



 

Cloneon

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We've bought into the glutinous use of electricity. I think everyone can agree that we don't need half the stuff built into every appliance. We really don't need the 2x square feet increase in the average home over the past 40 years. But, hey, if another form of electricity is better, safer, and more prevalent, far be it from me to deny our bad habits.
 
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BWRhasnoAC

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We've bought into the glutinous use of electricity. I think everyone can agree that we don't need half the stuff built into every appliance. We really don't need the 2x square feet increase in the average home over the past 40 years. But, hey, if another form of electricity is better, safer, and more prevalent, far be it from me to deny our bad habits.
Fusion power is the answer. Right now they have working units, but they have no out put. It takes 100% of the energy to maintain the process. Only a matter of time.
 
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CyCloned

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Fusion power is the answer. Right now they have working units, but they have no out put. It takes 100% of the energy to maintain the process. Only a matter of time.
I love watching all the videos of these systems at work, but wonder how long before we can get any actual output from them. It would be pretty cool to have a Mr. Fusion on the top of a car....
 
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Entropy

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The article said Edison's battery was more expensive (didn't say how much). What is the overall cost differential today?
I suspect it would be better than it was then. The big difference will be mass. Nickel and iron are substantially heavier than lithium, and they don’t have the same voltaic punch that lithium does.
I don’t have the reduction potential values off the top of my head so I can give you the voltage, but it’ll be less per gram comparatively. Plus the mass of the salt bridge.

But it could be a good option for home use, particularly at night. The hydrogen production can be troublesome due to fire potential, but if controlled or stored properly, could be a useful way to heat things. Good engineering is needed for this.
 

brett108

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We've bought into the glutinous use of electricity. I think everyone can agree that we don't need half the stuff built into every appliance. We really don't need the 2x square feet increase in the average home over the past 40 years. But, hey, if another form of electricity is better, safer, and more prevalent, far be it from me to deny our bad habits.
All those new electronics you think are hogging so much energy take a fraction of the power of your old tube TV. As do your LED light bulbs. Heard of Moores Law? We were still following it a few years ago. Smart electronics use far less energy than older appliances and its really not close
 
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Cloneon

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All those new electronics you think are hogging so much energy take a fraction of the power of your old tube TV. As do your LED light bulbs. Heard of Moores Law? We were still following it a few years ago. Smart electronics use far less energy than older appliances and its really not close
I'm in the computing industry. Of course I know Moore's Law. But, that doesn't excuse the wasteful use of electricity. Furthermore, factoring in population growth, we're using significantly more. Plus factor in the electrical consumption to manufacture the evergrowing use of silicon and Moore's law becomes obscure.
 

Die4Cy

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I'm in the computing industry. Of course I know Moore's Law. But, that doesn't excuse the wasteful use of electricity. Furthermore, factoring in population growth, we're using significantly more. Plus factor in the electrical consumption to manufacture the evergrowing use of silicon and Moore's law becomes obscure.
GM has committed to ending the production of internal combustion engines in just 14 years. I personally believe this to be ********, because the infrastructure to charge these vehicles would need to be in the final stages of planning and starting construction all over the country right now. And it just isn't. They got some nice PR out of it though.
 
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BCClone

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GM has committed to ending the production of internal combustion engines in just 14 years. I personally believe this to be ********, because the infrastructure to charge these vehicles would need to be in the final stages of planning and starting construction all over the country right now. And it just isn't. They got some nice PR out of it though.
They also have a large truck division, including cab and chassis’s. Those would need to be drastically improved to be able to get rid of.
 

isucy86

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All those new electronics you think are hogging so much energy take a fraction of the power of your old tube TV. As do your LED light bulbs. Heard of Moores Law? We were still following it a few years ago. Smart electronics use far less energy than older appliances and its really not close
I think the OP was also speaking to big homes, big cars, etc. that people have migrated to over the last 30-50 years. Also a lot of people run their heat or A/C probably 330+ days a year.