Dam these Concrete Blocks for Electricity

M76

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There might be some space considerations with a slope, vs. vertical storage.
The usability of this is to store excess energy from uncontrollable sources like wind and solar. And where are solar and wind farms? In vast open plains / deserts.

If space is a concern yes vertical operation might be more convenient, but certainly not with a regular old tower crane. Maybe carrying weights with the lift from the basement to the top floor would be an option in skyscrapers.
 

MrDeaf

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The usability of this is to store excess energy from uncontrollable sources like wind and solar. And where are solar and wind farms? In vast open plains / deserts.

If space is a concern yes vertical operation might be more convenient, but certainly not with a regular old tower crane. Maybe carrying weights with the lift from the basement to the top floor would be an option in skyscrapers.

For use case scenarios, Is it better to store energy near the consumption site or near the production site?
If it's better near the consumption site, then yeah, storing these inside a skyscraper seems like a better idea.
Out in the desert or large open fields, then the slope would definitely be a better idea.
 

M76

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For use case scenarios, Is it better to store energy near the consumption site or near the production site?
If it's better near the consumption site, then yeah, storing these inside a skyscraper seems like a better idea.
Out in the desert or large open fields, then the slope would definitely be a better idea.
It is better to store at the production site, because transporting energy over wires is lossy.
 

CombatChrisNC

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I'm trying to find something I had read before about a rail like in, I want to say Norway, where the electrically powered train uses X energy to go up the mountain, empty. Then it picks up a trainload of iron ore and then comes down the mountain and makes X + Y energy, a net gain. It's not free energy, it's just using the potential energy stored in the material already high up on the mountain placed there by tectonic movement.

Plus, now you've got iron ore as well.
 

The Mad Atheist

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Max Shreck, is that you?
Max_schreck.jpg

Better to use rapists and murderers on a hamster wheel to generate electricty.
 
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Back of napkin calculations...

Assuming NO time/energy is wasted picking up/dropping barrels, NO ENERGY is spent maneuvering the crane.
Assuming volume of ~100L and density of ~5.0 g/cm^3
Assuming "g" of ~10 m/s^2

(to make for simpler math)

500kg x 10 m/s^2 = ~5000N per barrel

Assuming that the crane has 100m height and that EVERY process is 100% efficient

5000N x 100m = 500 kJ

per barrel from the highest stack to ground or vice-versa

Assuming that the speed is 1 m/s (up or down)

500 kJ / (100 m / 1 m/s)
500 kJ / 100s = 5kW

So, assuming the PERFECT case, useful power sink/extraction is about 5kW

May be useful for some VERY small installations, where you ALREADY have the infrastructure.

May be improved using heavier barrels, multiple barrels at once, higher cranes, larger speeds.
 

modi123

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Reminds me of a short story I read a while back in some random anthology I picked up (Rewired?).. 'Calorie Man' by Paolo Bacigalupi.. classic steam punk trapping (with some genetic engineering tossed in) where all major forms of power were stored in springs. Folk were used a lot for biomass to get energy into those springs and use them as commodity and trade. Definitely no flugel crank, but better than a tower of concrete.
 

Nobu

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Back of napkin calculations...

Assuming NO time/energy is wasted picking up/dropping barrels, NO ENERGY is spent maneuvering the crane.
Assuming volume of ~100L and density of ~5.0 g/cm^3
Assuming "g" of ~10 m/s^2

(to make for simpler math)

500kg x 10 m/s^2 = ~5000N per barrel

Assuming that the crane has 100m height and that EVERY process is 100% efficient

5000N x 100m = 500 kJ

per barrel from the highest stack to ground or vice-versa

Assuming that the speed is 1 m/s (up or down)

500 kJ / (100 m / 1 m/s)
500 kJ / 100s = 5kW

So, assuming the PERFECT case, useful power sink/extraction is about 5kW

May be useful for some VERY small installations, where you ALREADY have the infrastructure.

May be improved using heavier barrels, multiple barrels at once, higher cranes, larger speeds.
5kWh, 5kWs? I'm missing something here.
Yeah, this will be useful in probably very specific circumstances.
 

mdburkey

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I'd like to see some efficiency and density numbers, because this idea will stink at both. Heck, even cost-wise it'd be pretty expensive (concrete ain't that cheap).

I've heard of hydroelectric dams pumping water up into the reservoir when electricity is super cheap, and I seem to remember it being about 80% efficient.

If you can come up with an energy storage solution that is efficient, cheap, and can store a LOT of energy, it'll go a long way towards reducing the inherent issues with renewables.

TVA Racoon Mountain Pumped Storage Facility

Hydroelectric pumped storage makes much more sense for large volume operation.
 

bman212121

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I'm trying to find something I had read before about a rail like in, I want to say Norway, where the electrically powered train uses X energy to go up the mountain, empty. Then it picks up a trainload of iron ore and then comes down the mountain and makes X + Y energy, a net gain. It's not free energy, it's just using the potential energy stored in the material already high up on the mountain placed there by tectonic movement.

Plus, now you've got iron ore as well.

Yea that's exactly what I would be thinking for this type of system as well. I think the part that is being missed is that this isn't a good replacement for batteries or flywheel storage, or insert whatever short term power solution you have, but it makes an efficient long term solution. If you took Tesla Semis, drove bagged sand up a mountain, you can just leave it there indefinitely until you need to reclaim that energy. The main difference being there is no energy loss for the stuff to just sit there, so over a long period of time systems that might have been energy efficient in the short term are no longer efficient long term. If you had to keep a battery charged or a wheel spinning for 6 months, they will be losing energy that entire time. With this you're just taking the hit in efficiency when you were already throwing the power away. So for something like solar you could make excess capacity in July, use that capacity to move the items, then in January you can reclaim that energy for heating purposes when the solar output is at it's lowest. It's certainly not going to compete with anything for short term efficiency, but there could be practical applications for long term storage. (Obviously cost / space would be huge hurdles)

Actually thinking about it, you could create some practical long term solutions out of this. Let's say a power company installs a new solar power array that has 20% extra capacity when it's installed. They could stockpile all of that extra energy for the first few years the array is online. Then say after 5 years that power usage climbs and there is no longer an excess of capacity. They could run it like that for a while, and then they could reach a point where the array is no longer enough to provide power, they could start tapping into that stored energy that might have been put in place something like 8 years prior. That would allow them to continue operating without having to buy expensive peaking power and give them plenty of time to get a new array online without having shortages. I don't know if you could even do that with water storage as it could evaporate, leak, or disappear in some way. The biggest thing is the cost per energy is probably very high, so it might actually end up costing more to do at this point than just buying peaking power.
 
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dgz

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I'm trying to find something I had read before about a rail like in, I want to say Norway, where the electrically powered train uses X energy to go up the mountain, empty. Then it picks up a trainload of iron ore and then comes down the mountain and makes X + Y energy, a net gain. It's not free energy, it's just using the potential energy stored in the material already high up on the mountain placed there by tectonic movement.

Plus, now you've got iron ore as well.

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/0...-will-be-the-worlds-biggest-electric-vehicle/

At 50 tons and 700 kilowatt-hours, this truck is the biggest EV in the world
Each round trip will generate 10kWh of spare electricity for the grid.
 

bman212121

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After they dig out the hole, I wonder if they had excess grid capacity to send loaded trucks back up and fill it back in with some other material. Then if there were a shortage in power at a later time, they could fill the trucks again for a net gain. With something as simple as a dump truck you could do on demand loading. But I'd guess that the cost to attempt that would outweigh the cost to actually run the trucks. For 10KWH of excess power per truck, you're not running it up and back down the hill for $1.20... (.12 cents per KWH)

EDIT: Actually I guess if you were getting the 30KWH for free or near free because it was already waste capacity, then you would be reclaiming the full 40KWH. So if peak power costs $1.00 per KWH, you'd generate about $40.00 per trip. Likely still out of reach of being cost effective though.
 
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sfsuphysics

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5000N x 100m = 500 kJ

per barrel from the highest stack to ground or vice-versa

Assuming that the speed is 1 m/s (up or down)
Forget speed, its all about how much work is being done, in this case 500 kJ translates to about 140 watt-hours. So you can turn a tv on for 2-3 hours per barrel, or to think of it another way the average US home uses almost 11000 kwh per year, so you'd need to drop these barrels nearly 80000 times per year per house
 

bman212121

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Forget speed, its all about how much work is being done, in this case 500 kJ translates to about 140 watt-hours. So you can turn a tv on for 2-3 hours per barrel, or to think of it another way the average US home uses almost 11000 kwh per year, so you'd need to drop these barrels nearly 80000 times per year per house

We just need to up the scale a little bit is all. If you load the barrel onto a semi with regenerative breaking in Vail, CO, you can probably get a nice 2000M of regenerative breaking... That means you only need to move 4K barrels for a house each year. Or you could achieve the same feat by putting the crane on the side of the grand canyon. :p


EDIT:

But actually these barrels flyingfenix is using would only be 30 gallon drums. A standard 55 gallon drum is about 200 liters. So you can probably get somewhere around 25T of water on a truck, which would be about 225 barrels per trip. In the video they mention making weights there were 35 metric tons, or about tree fiddy of these barrels with water in them.

So 1 "block" from the video would only need to be dropped 80K / 347 or about 230 times per year from the height of 100M.
 
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Methadras

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Go to MSR's and call it a day. MSR's are a long time coming and solve a lot of problems.
 

tangoseal

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So essentially the cranes are converting potential E stored in the blocks to kinetic E via mass and gravity turning a generator as the block falls. It's an interesting concept. Stack up tens of thousands of these and use them when the grid is pulling excess to offset. When the grid is wasting energy because current energy is use or lose at a static output they just use the excess to power cranes and stack blocks. Seems kind of laborious but neat.
 

sfsuphysics

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So essentially the cranes are converting potential E stored in the blocks to kinetic E via mass and gravity turning a generator as the block falls. It's an interesting concept. Stack up tens of thousands of these and use them when the grid is pulling excess to offset. When the grid is wasting energy because current energy is use or lose at a static output they just use the excess to power cranes and stack blocks. Seems kind of laborious but neat.
Don't forget converting to heat from frictional losses of equipment and what not. But yeah it's not a terribly new idea at all, people have been pumping water high as a way to store energy for later usage (not talking hydroelectricity either) since before electricity "existed", this is simply a different twist on it.
 

tangoseal

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Bill Nye's idea is still better than this stupid crane idea.


Bill Nye is a concentrated idiot , thus everything he says whether it has merit or not is still idiotic
.... im gonna leave it there. Wont argue with you either, dont try.
 
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