New battery tech online? Thermal energy storage with x6< capacity by volume, and cheaper...

kage69

Lifer
Jul 17, 2003
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Company called CCT Energy with possible storage break through?

"Climate Change Technologies, also known as CCT Energy Storage, has launched its TED (Thermal Energy Device) with a set of remarkable claims. TED is a modular energy storage unit that accepts any kind of electricity – solar, wind, fossil fuel-generated or straight off the grid – and uses it to heat up and melt silicon in a heavily insulated chamber. Whenever that energy is required, it's pulled out with a heat engine. A standard TED box holds 1.2 megawatt-hours of energy, with all input and output electronics on board, and fits easily into a 20-ft (6-m) container. Here are some of CCT's banner claims about the TED: For a given size volume, it can store more than 12 times more energy than a lead-acid battery, and several times more than lithium-ion solutions. Installations can scale from 5-kilowatt applications out to a virtually unlimited size. Hundreds of megawatts of instantly accessible, easily controllable power should be no problem – all you need to do is add more units, plug-and-play style. In the case of an outage, each TED device can remain active for about 48 hours."

""Molten silicon just doesn't degrade like lithium does," says Bondarenko. "That's a chemical process, ours is simply phase-change with heat. In fact, it appears silicon even gets better at storing heat after each cycle. And if you do need to decommission a TED device, it's 100 percent recyclable. It simply doesn't create the environmental problems that lithium does."


That last part really caught my eye. Looks more suited to larger applications like heavy duty power. The 48hr charge part seems to be the real limitation, but that probably still perfectly workable. Quite recent stuff from what I see, and apparently working, but too early for 3rd party review. Encouraging stuff, I hope it's legit. What do you think guys? For real, or this is a Bitboys Oy video card in the making?
 
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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
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Things like this have been around for a long time. The real issue is with the inefficiency of the heat engine. They are probably looking at a max overall efficiency of ~30%. So until you get to the point that the power in is nearly free, it's hard to balance the economics.
 

pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
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"accepts any kind of electricity" is an odd thing to say. It would be a peculiar kind of battery that distinguished between electricity generated by different methods.
 

dawp

Lifer
Jul 2, 2005
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"accepts any kind of electricity" is an odd thing to say. It would be a peculiar kind of battery that distinguished between electricity generated by different methods.
as far as I know, there are 2 type of electricity, DC and AC.
 

pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
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as far as I know, there are 2 type of electricity, DC and AC.
As Edison's elephant would tell you!

But the OP quote talked in terms of the method of generation, which just seemed a bit odd.
 
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dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
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As Edison's elephant would tell you!

But the OP quote talked in terms of the method of generation, which just seemed a bit odd.
It's not odd. I told my electric company I don't want any electrons from hippy dippy solar/hydro/wind sources on my property. Just good ol' 'Murican coal fired electrons here.
 

skull

Platinum Member
Jun 5, 2000
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Things like this have been around for a long time. The real issue is with the inefficiency of the heat engine. They are probably looking at a max overall efficiency of ~30%. So until you get to the point that the power in is nearly free, it's hard to balance the economics.
That was my first thought is what kind of heat engine are they using to get any kind of efficiency. If they had a super effcient heat engine that would be a bigger deal than the form of storage.
 

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
12,757
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That was my first thought is what kind of heat engine are they using to get any kind of efficiency. If they had a super effcient heat engine that would be a bigger deal than the form of storage.
Yeah, the problem is, with a heat engine you are always limited by the Carnot efficiency, and you usually can't even get that close to it.
 

LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
28,520
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Sounds quite similar to other thermal energy storage methods and batteries in use.

Silicon melts at about 1,400C though. Sounds kinda high temp to have to deal with in such a battery.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,522
750
126
Until their heat engine gets above 60% efficiency this is a colossal waste of energy and totally not in any way shape or form a green product. Hell ICE tops out around the same as this at 30% and lithium batteries destroy this thing in efficiency.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,134
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The first thing I found odd about the link was what has already been mentioned, the different kind of electricity thingi, but that may simply be somebody's clumsy way of expressing themselves, because the intention clearly is meant to refer to the different ways electricity is sourced. They don't mention nuclear, however, which makes perfect sense.

The second thing I found odd was the notion that it can be recharged as it is being discharged. The only reason I can think of for that mattering would be in some transportation application, maybe a locomotive, where one could use regenerative breaking. It would be fun to see steam engine trains come back.

It can't see any reason why you would use available electricity from a grid to heat silicon to a liquid state and then return that energy with all the efficiency loss immediately to that grid. You would just use the available power directly to supply energy demand and heat the silicon when supply fell below demand.

The third thing that I can maybe see this being of most value for would be as a source of heating for large volume structures, big buildings and apartment houses, high density condos, etc. This would bypass the loss in efficiency driving a heat engine electric generator by just using the heat directly.

The storage solution I would most like to see and I don't know if technical challenges can be met, would be high density capacitance batteries.
 

herm0016

Diamond Member
Feb 26, 2005
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i think what they were getting at is it could be heated by electricity, or solar or whatever. but... this is new? its a configuration change from a plant like ivanpah, and they are using what sounds like an external combustion engine like a sterling engine? seems like a large installation would be much more efficient with a combined cycle steam turbine at those temperatures, like ivanpah has.

sounds like a big pipe dream to me. but we will see.

anyone working on a project like that should have their language around how their stuff works much more fleshed out than that bit about different kinds of electricity.
 

cytg111

Lifer
Mar 17, 2008
20,681
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As amazing as a leap in bat tech would be ..... fool me once - fool me twice on 1st of april? IIIIIIIII Dont think so.
 

mect

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2004
2,422
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Yeah, the problem is, with a heat engine you are always limited by the Carnot efficiency, and you usually can't even get that close to it.
Carnot efficiency is theoretically limited by the temperature difference between the hot side and cold side, the greater the difference the greater the theoretical efficiency. Molten silicon would at least give the potential for a really big temperature difference. But yeah, until they release some efficiency data, there's not much to see here.
 
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mect

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2004
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Assuming no other efficiency losses beyond the Carnot efficiency and 25 C cold temperature, it would have a maximum efficiency of about 82%.
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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Assuming no other efficiency losses beyond the Carnot efficiency and 25 C cold temperature, it would have a maximum efficiency of about 82%.
Interesting! What is the efficiency of the universe where you have I would assume the maximum temperature possible expanding into absolute Kelvin?
 

kage69

Lifer
Jul 17, 2003
23,636
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Seems MIT has also been working on this concept.

Interesting stuff this 'sun in a box' idea

"“This technology has been around for a while, but the thinking has been that its cost will never get low enough to compete with natural gas,” Henry says. “So there was a push to operate at much higher temperatures, so you could use a more efficient heat engine and get the cost down.”

To do this, the MIT team looked beyond salt, which at very high temperatures would corrode the stainless steel tanks that store it. What they eventually settled on was silicon, which as well as being one of the most abundant elements on earth, can withstand incredibly high temperatures of over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the same line of thinking that led to the formation of Adelaide-based company 1414 Degrees, which in May of this year lodged a prospectus for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), after one decade and $15 million-worth of developing its own version of silicon storage technology.

The MIT team’s recent momentum, however, is based on the development of a pump it says can withstand 4000°F temperatures, and could conceivably pump liquid silicon through a renewable storage system."

"The system would work using heavily insulated, 10-meter-wide tanks made from graphite and filled with liquid silicon, kept at a “cold” temperature of almost 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.This would be connected to a “hot tank” by a series of tubes exposed to heating elements, powered by excess renewable electricity. Liquid silicon is pumped out of the cold tank, through the heated tubes, and into the hot tank, where the thermal energy is stored at a much higher temperature of about 4,300 F.

When electricity is needed, the hot “glowing white” liquid silicon is pumped through another bunch of tubes that emit that light, the MIT article explains. Then, specialized “multi junction photovoltaic” solar cells convert the light into electricity for use on the grid. Meanwhile, the now-cooled silicon is pumped back into the cold tank until the next round of storage — acting effectively as a large rechargeable battery."
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,134
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When electricity is needed, the hot “glowing white” liquid silicon is pumped through another bunch of tubes that emit that light, the MIT article explains. Then, specialized “multi junction photovoltaic” solar cells convert the light into electricity for use on the grid. Meanwhile, the now-cooled silicon is pumped back into the cold tank until the next round of storage — acting effectively as a large rechargeable battery."
Wow, no mechanical engine. Very cool, or should I say hot.

This may well be a decent storage method as the growth of renewable energy expands to produce excess beyond the immediate demand.
 

herm0016

Diamond Member
Feb 26, 2005
8,239
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PV is even less efficient than a heat engine with that kind of temperature differential. The best pv cells are still less than 30%.
 

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