Swiss "water battery" with 20 million kWh of capacity is finally functional

Bobbydpue

Posts: 371   +246
You edited out the first statement before I replied, so I assume you know it's incorrect. But the second statement -- the first Google link you found -- is equally wrong. Concrete used to make your driveway or patio is only about 10% cement, but the high-strength mix used for dams and bridges is many times higher.

Eh? Of course you can. This system can store the energy from any system that generates the electricity necessary to run its pumps. The point, though, is that you don't *need* to store electricity with traditional sources like coal or nuclear. That's a problem that exists only with wind and solar. They're always generating either too much power, or too little. Most people don't realize that the largest problem in commercial power generation isn't producing the energy, but instantaneously matching supply to the demand load on an instantaneous basis. Without enormous "batteries" like this, wind and solar can never produce more than a fraction of a grid's total energy demand.

Again, this is utterly false. For operating costs alone, nuclear power is far cheaper than any other source. Amortizing capital construction costs raises the price -- especially in the US and Europe, where rabid environmentalists force legal actions that mean plants take 30 years to construct, rather than four or five.
Concrete still doesn't need to be fired. Also you didn't look up how much cement is in high strength concrete you're being lazy and not doing any work to support your arguments. Finally concrete still lasts a very long time. Also concrete is widely used in making nuclear power plants.

I looked up the range of how much a nuclear power plants cost and choose the cheapest value which was 6 billion to build and that excludes fuel, trained personnel, safety and policy adherence.
How are you comparing the operating costs? Why are you comparing operating costs? A water battery isn't the same thing as a power generation facility it's just a battery. Also you didn't get any figures you're just making statements based on how you feel as far as I can tell and I'm tired of spending my time looking up data to refute what you are saying when you aren't doing the same.

"For a typical 1,000 MWe BWR or PWR, the approximate cost of fuel for one reload (replacing one third of the core) is about $40 million, based on an 18-month refueling cycle"

Switzerland uses Nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, wind and solar generation. At no time did anyone in the article say Switzerland was going to generate power using only renewable source, so I have no idea what you are arguing.

In Switzerland they produce more electricity in the summer than they do in the winter and they didn't like wasting energy which is why they built this battery. I don't understand the drama.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 371   +246
So, there's only one size of power plant (with a single price tag) or maybe you're comparing to a nuclear plant of a similar size (20GW)? Keep in mind that this is "the battery" for another power source, so, to really compare cost you need to throw in the "generation" part too: your solar fields, wind farms, etc.

Also, keep in mind that this is a water management system, so, your pumps, generators, etc will still need supervision, repairs, replacements, etc.



Please stop talking about "creating carbon", it sounds extremely alchemisty; you might mean "producing CO2" which is one of the MANY places where carbon (C) exists.

This is a battery, so, it's "source agnostic" meaning that it will "store" electricity which might come from ANY source (even a coal power plant). For example: you could have a "small" coal power plant, not big enough to cover you grid's demand, that is, which is then paired to this "battery" and that way your peaks in demand will be handled by the battery, which will be "recharged" during the low demand periods. Such solution would have a lot of losses and costs, it would be probably better to build more coal plants (better efficiency) but it's still a possibility.

The battery issue is not a feature, it's a "solution" for the very bad sources (wind & solar). Most of the other generation schemes support reducing the input in some range, so you don't need to "store" excess energy, you just don't generate it.
I was responding to someone who talked about the carbon footprint. Nag them about them. The difference in this context from producing and creating isn't significant. Please stop being pedantic.

What is your beef with wind and solar power generation? The amount of power Switzerland produces from solar and wind is much higher in the summer and that excess power is just wasted. Now they can use some of that power in the Winter to supplement their other means of generating power.
 

someOtherGuy

Posts: 35   +22
I was responding to someone who talked about the carbon footprint. Nag them about them. The difference in this context from producing and creating isn't significant. Please stop being pedantic.

Did it earlier (check previous replies). It's still weird and extremely inaccurate to talk about "carbon creation" but you're free to do it. Carbon production is not the term either: you're apparently worried about CO2, which is a form of carbon, but "carbon" is an element, not a shorthand for CO2. Just a quick chemistry 101 and you'll learn than in order to "produce carbon" you need carbon (you basically "rearrange" carbon), and "creating carbon" might be something from 501 or higher, because that's not something that you'll see everyday (that's some heavy nuclear stuff there).

What is your beef with wind and solar power generation? The amount of power Switzerland produces from solar and wind is much higher in the summer and that excess power is just wasted. Now they can use some of that power in the Winter to supplement their other means of generating power.
None, I'm pretty sure solar and wind very good solutions for certain circumstances.

The article states that the huge sums of money invested, environmental impact and whatnot is to provide less than a day worth of energy. Your "saving energy for winter" explanation doesn't sound like a good fit for this case. The backup explanation sounds more plausible than yours: they'll use the battery for peaks instead of other power sources, not for long term storage (although perfectly possible, but not very useful).
 

someOtherGuy

Posts: 35   +22
Unfortunately we all have to go by figures we find on the web. The numbers I found said 90%. A previous post said that Wikipedia gave an efficiency of 70-80%. The actual entry in Wikipedia states "The round-trip energy efficiency of PSH varies between 70%–80%, with some sources claiming up to 87%". The 70-80% figure does sound more believable.

Ok, is just that it came across like something more solid than "a number that I found online". Good to know.
 

mbk34

Posts: 354   +255
I suspect if you want figures from the horses mouth then you'd have to go to a grid energy engineering forum rather than a IT tech forum. I suspect the engineers would still go to Wikipedia for their numbers though :)
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,794   +1,834
Concrete still doesn't need to be fired.
On the contrary, cement must be fired to very high temperatures. This is why, worldwide, concrete production generates nearly as much carbon emissions as do automobiles.

you didn't look up how much cement is in high strength concrete
I don't need to "look up" basic facts like this. My statement is accurate. Some high-strength mixes are 50% or more cement.

Also concrete is widely used in making nuclear power plants.
Nuclear power plants generate energy, however. This project used more than 5 times as much concrete as a 500MW nuclear reactor, and generates no energy whatsoever -- it merely stores energy, losing some 25% of it in the process.

I looked up the range of how much a nuclear power plants cost and choose the cheapest value which was 6 billion to build
China is building 1 GW nuclear reactors for $1.5 billion each. In the US, the construction cost is inflated drastically due to the delays caused by legal challenges, which means the multi-billion dollar cost must be financed over a 20+ year period, rather than the four or five it should take.

How are you comparing the operating costs?
By US EIA figures: 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/assumptions/pdf/table_8.2.pdf

Why are you comparing operating costs? A water battery isn't the same thing as a power generation facility
I would have thought the reasons were was obvious. The entire construction cost of this "water battery" project must be amortized into the cost of the wind and solar power it's intended to store.

At no time did anyone in the article say Switzerland was going to generate power using only renewable source, so I have no idea what you are arguing.
You haven't been paying attention, then. There are tens, perhaps even hundreds of millions of ill-informed individuals around the world arguing for just that: generating power using nothing but renewables.