Stack Here, Stack There, Stack You!!

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Richard Stanley, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    I think the people who thought this idea up must also be into the phenomenon of competitive 'cup-stacking'.

    As the article discusses, they are mixing other waste products and such into the concrete cylinders, which provides extra functionality and environmental benefit. Obviously, materials with even more mass density than concrete might be beneficial to mix in.

    Thanks to the modern electric grid, you have access to electricity whenever you want. But the grid only works when electricity is generated in the same amounts as it is consumed. That said, it’s impossible to get the balance right all the time. So operators make grids more flexible by adding ways to store excess electricity for when production drops or consumption rises.

    About 96% of the world’s energy-storage capacity comes in the form of one technology: pumped hydro. Whenever generation exceeds demand, the excess electricity is used to pump water up a dam. When demand exceeds generation, that water is allowed to fall—thanks to gravity—and the potential energy turns turbines to produce electricity.

    But pumped-hydro storage requires particular geographies, with access to water and to reservoirs at different altitudes. It’s the reason that about three-quarters of all pumped hydro storage has been built in only 10 countries. The trouble is the world needs to add a lot more energy storage, if we are to continue to add the intermittent solar and wind power necessary to cut our dependence on fossil fuels.

    A startup called Energy Vault thinks it has a viable alternative to pumped-hydro: Instead of using water and dams, the startup uses concrete blocks and cranes. It has been operating in stealth mode until today (Aug. 18), when its existence will be announced at Kent Presents, an ideas festival in Connecticut. ...

    https://qz.com/1355672/stacking-concrete-blocks-is-a-surprisingly-efficient-way-to-store-energy/

     
  2. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    Coincidentally, a friend who wants to go off-grid was recently asking me if it would be possible to power an LED lamp by the energy of a falling weight. This would be a human-scale application. I found a formula with appropriate unit conversions here: https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/potential-energy-d_1218.html

    With a 50-kg weight (~100 lbs) falling through 2 meters (~6 feet), the energy released is 0.27 watt-hours, or enough to run a 1-watt bulb for about 15 minutes.
     

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