Renewables Battery Research: The Government Funded Grant Eldorado

money_sucking_vortex

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Americas roads and infrastructure might be crumbling, but the US government still has plenty of money to spend on longshot research projects, to try to solve the intermittency of renewable power.

No doubt better batteries will have their uses. But when the government invests taxpayer’s money in chasing politically useful goals, as opposed to economically useful goals, there is a significant opportunity cost. The $155 million which appears to have been spent on these projects could have been used to improve healthcare, urban regeneration, or simply left in the pockets of taxpayers struggling to pay their bills.

I am not disrespecting scientists who have taken advantage of these grants – if someone offers you money to pursue your passion, who wouldn’t accept? It is the policy of offering such grants which I am questioning.

$155 million is not a large number in the context of the mind numbing budget of the US Federal Government. But government waste rarely manifests as big ticket items which can easily be eradicated, instead it trickles away in innumerable small rivulets which have to be tracked down and stopped.

The full list of projects on the Government website is below.

The website invites people interested in an energy storage research grant to apply for funding.

ABB Superconducting Magnet Energy Storage System with Direct Power Electronics Interface Graphic of ABB Technology’s project
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $4,580,020
Location: Cary, NC
Project Term: 10/01/2010 to 06/30/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.abb.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Abengoa Solar High-Efficiency Solar-Electric Conversion Power Tower Graphic of Abengoa’s technology
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $3,875,104
Location: Lakewood, CO
Project Term: 01/11/2012 to 07/31/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.abengoasolar.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Alveo Energy Open Framework Electrode Batteries for Cost-Effective Stationary Storage
Program: OPEN 2012
ARPA-E Award: $4,599,935
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Project Term: 02/21/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.alveoenergy.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Intermediate Temperature Hybrid Fuel Cell System for the Conversion of Natural Gas to Electricity and Liquid Fuels
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $1,999,999
Location: Lemont, IL
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.anl.gov
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Battelle Memorial Institute Battery Fault Sensing in Operating Batteries Image of Battelle’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $948,261
Location: Columbus, OH
Project Term: 11/01/2012 to 09/30/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.battelle.org
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Beacon Power Development of a 100 kWh/100 kW Flywheel Energy Storage Module Graphic of Beacon Power’s project
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $4,245,875
Location: Tyngsboro, MA
Project Term: 03/06/2012 to 10/31/2015
Project Status: CANCELLED
Website: http://www.beaconpower.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Boeing Low-Cost, High-Energy-Density Flywheel Storage Grid Demonstration Graphic of Boeing’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $2,264,090
Location: Chicago, IL
Project Term: 10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.boeing.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Case Western Reserve University High Energy Storage Capacity Low-Cost Iron Flow Battery Case Western
Program: OPEN 2012
ARPA-E Award: $2,075,804
Location: Cleveland, OH
Project Term: 01/01/2013 to 12/31/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.case.edu
Technical Categories: Storage
Ceramatec Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis for Grid Scale Energy Storage
Program: OPEN 2015
ARPA-E Award: $2,349,995
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Project Term: 03/22/2016 to 03/21/2019
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.ceramatec.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Citrine Informatics A Machine Learning-Based Materials Discovery Paradigm Applied to Solid Ion Conductors
Program: IDEAS
ARPA-E Award: $499,023
Location: Redwood City, CA
Project Term: 12/22/2015 to 12/21/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.citrine.io
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
City University of New York (CUNY) Energy Institute Low-Cost Grid-Scale Electrical Storage Using a Flow-Assisted Rechargeable Zinc-Manganese Dioxide Battery Graphic of CUNY’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $3,497,133
Location: New York, NY
Project Term: 09/15/2010 to 03/31/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.cuny.edu/site/energy.html
Technical Categories: Storage
Colorado School of Mines (Mines) Low-Cost Intermediate-Temperature Fuel Flexible Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cell Stack Graphic of Mines’ technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $999,999
Location: Golden, CO
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.mines.edu
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Det Norske Veritas (DNV GL) Third Party Valuation of Grid and Microgrid Energy Storage Technologies
Program: CHARGES
ARPA-E Award: $3,198,779
Location: Katy, TX
Project Term: 04/27/2015 to 04/26/2019
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.dnvgl.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Det Norske Veritas (DNV KEMA) Sensor-Enhanced and Model-Validated Batteries for Energy Storage Image of DNV’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $2,030,962
Location: Katy, TX
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 04/01/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.dnv.com
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Dioxide Materials High Efficiency Alkaline Water Electrolyzers for Grid Scale Energy Storage
Program: OPEN 2015
ARPA-E Award: $2,000,000
Location: Champaign, IL
Project Term: 02/01/2016 to 01/31/2019
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.dioxidematerials.com
Technical Categories: Grid Storage
EaglePicher Technologies Planar Sodium-Beta Batteries for Renewable Integration and Grid Applications Graphic of EaglePicher’s technology
Program: OPEN 2009
ARPA-E Award: $10,200,000
Location: Joplin, MO
Project Term: 02/01/2010 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: CANCELLED
Website: http://www.eaglepicher.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Eaton Corporation Predictive Battery Management for Commercial Hybrid Vehicles Image of Eaton’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $2,000,000
Location: Cleveland , OH
Project Term: 01/01/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.eaton.com
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Energy Storage Systems (ESS) 10kW 80kWh Energy Storage System Based on All-Iron Hybrid Flow Battery
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $2,825,689
Location: Portland, OR
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 08/30/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.energystoragesystems.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Fluidic Energy Enhanced Metal-Air Energy Storage System with Advanced Grid-Interoperable Power Electronics Enabling Scalability and Ultra-Low Cost Graphic of Fluidic’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $2,993,128
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Project Term: 10/01/2010 to 03/31/2013
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.fluidicenergy.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Ford Motor Company High-Precision Tester for Automotive and Stationary Batteries Image of Ford’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $3,128,000
Location: Dearborn, MI
Project Term: 01/01/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.ford.com/technology
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
FuelCell Energy Dual-Mode Intermediate Temperature Fuel Cell: Liquid Fuels and Electricity Graphic of FuelCellEnergy’s technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $3,500,000
Location: Danbury, CT
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.fce.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Gayle Technologies State-of-Health by Ultrasonic Battery Monitoring with In-Service Testing (SUBMIT) Image of Gayle’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $729,600
Location: Nashville, TN
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: CANCELLED
Website: http://www.gayletech.com
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
GE Global Research Control Enabling Solutions with Ultrathin Strain and Temperature Sensor System for Reduced Battery Life Cycle Cost Image of GE’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $3,128,285
Location: Fairfield, CT
Project Term: 01/01/2013 to 12/31/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://ge.geglobalresearch.com
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
General Atomics Soluble Lead Flow Battery Technology Graphic of General Atomics’ technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $1,986,308
Location: San Diego, CA
Project Term: 09/01/2010 to 08/28/2013
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.ga.com
Technical Categories: Storage
General Compression Fuel-Free, Ubiquitous Compressed-Air Energy Storage and Power Conditioning Graphic of General Compression’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $750,000
Location: Newton, MA
Project Term: 09/13/2010 to 04/01/2011
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.generalcompression.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Georgia Tech Research Corporation A Novel Intermediate-Temperature Fuel Cell Tailored for Efficient Utilization of Methane
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $1,000,000
Location: Atlanta, GA
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.gatech.edu
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Halotechnics Advanced Molten Glass for Heat Transfer and Thermal Energy Storage Halotechnics logo
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $3,303,719
Location: Emeryville, CA
Project Term: 01/01/2012 to 09/30/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.halotechnics.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Harvard University Small Organic Molecule Based Flow Battery for Grid Storage Harvard
Program: OPEN 2012
ARPA-E Award: $4,340,035
Location: Cambridge, MA
Project Term: 02/01/2013 to 03/25/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://seas.harvard.edu/news-events/press-releases/greener-storage-for-green-energy
Technical Categories: Storage
ITN Energy Systems Demonstration of 2.5kW/10kWh Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) Through Rationally Designed High Energy Density Electrolytes and Membrane-Electrode Assembly (MEA)
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $1,724,843
Location: Littleton, CO
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 06/30/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.itnes.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Hydrogen Bromine Flow Batteries for Grid Scale Energy Storage Graphic of LBNL’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $2,021,977
Location: Berkeley, CA
Project Term: 10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.lbl.gov
Technical Categories: Storage
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Battery Management System with Distributed Wireless Sensors Image of LLNL’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $2,000,000
Location: Livermore, CA
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 09/30/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.llnl.gov
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Metallic Composites Phase-Change Materials for High-Temperature Thermal Energy Storage Graphic of MIT’s technology
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $874,679
Location: Cambridge, MA
Project Term: 11/21/2011 to 11/30/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.mit.edu
Technical Categories: Storage
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Advanced Thermo-Adsorptive Battery Climate Control System
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $3,556,689
Location: Cambridge, MA
Project Term: 12/13/2011 to 09/13/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://drl.mit.edu/research.cgi?p=storage
Technical Categories: Storage
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) HybriSol Hybrid Nanostructures for High-Energy-Density Solar Thermal Fuels Graphic of MIT’s technology
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $2,966,654
Location: Cambridge, MA
Project Term: 01/09/2012 to 01/08/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.mit.edu
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Electroville: High Amperage Energy Storage Device–Energy for the Neighborhood Graphic of MIT’s technology
Program: OPEN 2009
ARPA-E Award: $6,949,584
Location: Cambridge, MA
Project Term: 01/15/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://sadoway.mit.edu
Technical Categories: Storage
Materials & Systems Research, Inc. (MSRI) Advanced Sodium Batteries with Enhanced Safety and Low-Cost Processing
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $3,224,905
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.msrihome.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Materials & Systems Research, Inc. (MSRI) Intermediate-Temperature Electrogenerative Cells for Flexible Cogeneration of Power and Liquid Fuel Graphic of MSRI’s technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $2,799,978
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Project Term: 11/01/2014 to 10/31/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.msrihome.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
NAVITASMAX Novel Tuning of Critical Fluctuations for Advanced Thermal Energy Storage Graphic of NAVITASMAX’s technology
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $812,328
Location: Chandler , AZ
Project Term: 12/01/2011 to 08/30/2013
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://
Technical Categories: Storage
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Temperature Self-Regulation for Large-Format Li-Ion cells Image of ORNL’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $1,000,000
Location: Oak Ridge, TN
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 02/15/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.ornl.gov
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Nanocomposite Electrodes for a Solid Acid Fuel Cell Stack Operating on Reformate
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $2,750,000
Location: Oak Ridge, TN
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 10/07/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.ornl.gov
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Reversible Metal Hydride Thermal Storage for High-Temperature Power Generation Systems Graphic of PNNL’s technology
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $712,511
Location: Richland, WA
Project Term: 12/05/2011 to 04/30/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.pnnl.gov
Technical Categories: Storage
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Electric-Powered Adsorption Heat Pump for Electric Vehicles Graphic of PNNL’s technology
Program: HEATS
ARPA-E Award: $802,820
Location: Richland, WA
Project Term: 11/21/2011 to 01/04/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.pnnl.gov
Technical Categories: Storage
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) Smart Embedded Network of Sensors with Optical Readout (SENSOR) Image of PARC’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $4,774,297
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 12/31/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.parc.com
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) Reformer-less Oxygen Conducting Natural Gas Intermediate-Temperature Fuel Cell (RONIN) Graphic of PARC’s technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $1,500,000
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 03/15/2016
Project Status: CANCELLED
Website: http://www.parc.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) A Multi-Purpose, Intelligent, and Reconfigurable Battery Pack Health Management System Image of Penn State’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $1,355,922
Location: University Park, PA
Project Term: 01/01/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.psu.edu
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Phononic Devices Advanced Semiconductor Materials for Thermoelectric Devices Graphic of Phononic’s technology
Program: OPEN 2009
ARPA-E Award: $3,000,000
Location: Raleigh, NC
Project Term: 12/11/2009 to 03/30/2012
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.phononicdevices.com
Technical Categories: Storage
PolyPlus Battery Company A Revolutionary Approach to High-Energy Density, Low-Cost Lithium-Sulfur Batteries PolyPlus
Program: OPEN 2012
ARPA-E Award: $4,500,000
Location: Berkeley, CA
Project Term: 02/06/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.polyplus.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Primus Power Low-Cost, High-Performance 50-Year Electrodes Graphic of Primus Power’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $1,999,999
Location: Hayward, CA
Project Term: 09/01/2010 to 12/31/2012
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.primuspower.com/index.html
Technical Categories: Storage
Proton Energy Systems Transformative Renewable Energy Storage Devices Based on Neutral Water Input Graphic of Proton’s technology
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $4,598,306
Location: Wallingford, CT
Project Term: 09/01/2010 to 03/31/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.protononsite.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Redox Power Systems Low-Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Transformational Energy Conversion Graphic of Redox’s technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $5,250,000
Location: Fulton, MD
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.redoxpowersystems.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Robert Bosch Advanced Battery Management System Image of Bosch’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $4,245,659
Location: Farmington Hills, MI
Project Term: 01/01/2013 to 12/31/2016
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.bosch.us
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
SAFCell Solid Acid Fuel Cell Stack for Distributed Generation Applications Graphic of SAFCell’s technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $3,699,230
Location: Pasadena, CA
Project Term: 10/01/2014 to 03/31/2017
Project Status: ACTIVE
Website: http://www.safcell.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Sharp Laboratories of America Low-Cost Sodium-Ion Battery to Enable Grid Scale Energy Storage: Prussian Blue-Derived Cathode and Complete Battery Integration
Program: OPEN 2012
ARPA-E Award: $2,904,393
Location: Camas, WA
Project Term: 03/28/2013 to 03/27/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.sharplabs.com
Technical Categories: Storage
SiEnergy Systems Direct Hydrocarbon Fuel Cell – Battery Hybrid Electrochemical System Graphic of SiEnergy’s technology
Program: REBELS
ARPA-E Award: $2,650,000
Location: Cambridge, MA
Project Term: 09/17/2014 to 11/20/2015
Project Status: CANCELLED
Website: http://www.sienergysystems.com
Technical Categories: Distributed Generation Storage
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Novel SOC and SOH Estimation Through Sensor Technology Image of SwRI’s technology
Program: AMPED
ARPA-E Award: $712,001
Location: San Antonio, TX
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 02/15/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.swri.com
Technical Categories: Storage Transportation Storage
Teledyne Scientific & Imaging Potassium-Based Aqueous Flow Battery for Grid Application Teledyne
Program: OPEN 2012
ARPA-E Award: $556,732
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Project Term: 02/04/2013 to 01/31/2014
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.teledyne-si.com
Technical Categories: Storage
TVN Systems Hydrogen-Bromine Electrical Energy Storage System
Program: GRIDS
ARPA-E Award: $1,724,000
Location: Lawrence, KS
Project Term: 10/01/2012 to 06/30/2015
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.tvnsystems.com
Technical Categories: Storage
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) High Performance and Regenerative Redox-Air Flow Cells for Transportation Applications
Program: IDEAS
ARPA-E Award: $499,972
Location: East Hartford, CT
Project Term: 07/02/2015 to 07/01/2016
Project Status: ALUMNI
Website: http://www.utrc.utc.com
Technical Categories: Storage
Total Award: $155,217,222
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89 thoughts on “Renewables Battery Research: The Government Funded Grant Eldorado

  1. I see the category for many of these grants is “storage” or “grid storage”. Anyone with half a brain can see that, right now, & for a couple of decades into the future, the best energy storage medium, in terms of cost & capacity, is to use coal or natural gas, with nuclear fuels running a close 2nd due to their base-load ability & low CO2 emissions.

      • George,
        I have heard that the longest – regularly formed – German word is 1,764 letters in length, and means car [English] or Auto [American English.
        I don’t speak German at all well, but – I think – it even describes the tread pattern o the tyres (Tires).
        And may I raise you –
        Bottomlessunfathomableabyssaldollarandcentsobamapit
        Auto
        [Goodness, two years of Frau Harrold and the Mariannenblumen look good now!]

    • Electricity is the most bulkiest product there is. It only got one specification. When the customer decides which suplier to choose, the price is the only thing that matters. In these kind of market price competitiveness is the key and the only key to survive. And this is why grid scale storage is simply impossible. It will never be competitive. It might be technically possible some day but hey we have no short supply of things which are technically possible. We have a short supply of things which are economically possible. And those are very very rare.
      Same goes with fusion energy, wind, solar, waves etc.

    • Looks to me like over half (i.e., 38 of 54) are getting between 1 and 10 million dollars to develop either: an “image of xxxx’s technology”(12), or a “graphic of xxxx’s technology”(26). I took a lab class in technical drawing, wish someone would pay me that much to draw a picture.

      • Don’t think so… I’d draw ’bout any thing you wanted for 1 to 10 mil., ‘long as it would fit on a standard sheet size. Still got a couple of Alvin mechanical pencils with 2H and HB lead and a few Staedtler Mars plastic erasers. Drafting table went over to a neighbor’s house several months ago when her artist sister was visiting but I could get that back in a couple of days. ‘course I Photoshop’d the last house a designed.

    • The author notes that $155 million is chicken**** in the US Government Budget.
      Even here in the UK that sum – say £120 million [Ish] – is only what you pay to get a couple of [Expensive/overhyped/overpaid] footballers (Soccer players in N. America) to turn out Tuesdays and Saturdays for your home town club.
      He does, however, go on to explain –
      “But government waste rarely manifests as big ticket items which can easily be eradicated, instead it trickles away in innumerable small rivulets which have to be tracked down and stopped.
      Auto
      Contemplating buying a toe, with the nail, of a Curling player . . . .

  2. Ironic that a satisfactory energy storage medium, designed to absorb excess supply of energy and provide energy for use when demand exceeds base load supply, has been in existence for many years, for over a century in some cases. This is the pumped storage hydroelectric system, of which there are over 60 operational systems of one gigawatt in existence. At a minimum efficiency of 70%, and more likely 80%, can be higher if it is thought worthwhile to reduce evaporation from the upper pond, it is competitive with most other storage systems, and is extremely responsive to demand.
    That $150M, assumed to be per annum, would be enough to build a decent pumped storage every couple of years.

    • Sure but that doesn’t include the cost of the land that is required (which is huge for any sizeable amount of energy storage). And if it’s going to be in parks, federal reserves etc, then factor in the environmental cost – particularly for those schemes using the ocean as the lower reservoir.

      • One very large scheme would be enough: use Lake Erie as a storage pond and Niagara Falls as the generation point.
        The large water dam that accumulates water at night (the falls are nearly shut off at night) feeds water into the turbines in the daytime. The water flow during the day is for tourists so can’t be messed with.
        Pumping a lot of water back up would be cheaper than burning natural gas. The turbines are already in place. No one would complain about raising Lake Erie a few mm every few hours. If there is no wind or sun for a few days no one will notice.

        • One very large scheme would be enough: use Lake Erie as a storage pond and Niagara Falls as the generation point.
          The large water dam that accumulates water at night (the falls are nearly shut off at night) feeds water into the turbines in the daytime. The water flow during the day is for tourists so can’t be messed with.
          Pumping a lot of water back up would be cheaper than burning natural gas. The turbines are already in place. No one would complain about raising Lake Erie a few mm every few hours. If there is no wind or sun for a few days no one will notice.

          Got to disagree with you on this one. Right, the Falls ARE shut down at night because ALL of the available water is ALREADY diverted around the falls through underground tunnels to the power plants ALREADY below the falls. What is not run immediately though the turbines and out into the Niagara River to Lake Ontario IS NOW diverted into one of two (Indian gravesites and environmentally-opposed!!!!) lakes that serve as pumped storage reservoirs. Then, during the day, the water pumped up into these reservoirs at night (US-NY side has to pumped uphill behind a dam, the Canadian reservoir is low enough not to need pumps and so is more efficient) IS run out through the turbines to maintain power levels.
          There simply is no more water that can be diverted from the Niagara River. Now, if you dig deeper tunnels to drain directly from Lake Eire to the Niagara River below the falls, you would have a chance. But there is not enough money from the power to pay for the tunnels the length and the size needed. But, when has mere economic less ever stopped a liberal government from its annointed choices?

      • Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
        Pump water uphill, from? Lake Ontario?
        …to fill Lake Erie higher so Niagara Falls turbines can be run day and night.
        Thus putting twice the normal water into Niagara River.
        Then all we need is one of those weather systems to dump a normal amount of excess river and cause flooding…
        All that while the lower 48 are busy demolishing dams where possible to restore anadromous fish spawning runs.

      • More to RACook’s comment: as I understand it, they are actually now also pumping water back up from down river side of the falls using effectively, ready for it, wind powered electricity taken from the grid. So they are topping up the reservoirs (which I believe never run out of water) with water they have to pay for (in terms of electricity payments to the grid) instead of using the free water from Lake Erie and losing efficiency in the process. The latter bit means they would lose even if they added more turbines than their share of the natural river flow can drive.

    • dudleyhorscroft

      This is the pumped storage hydroelectric system, of which there are over 60 operational systems of one gigawatt in existence. At a minimum efficiency of 70%, and more likely 80%, can be higher if it is thought worthwhile to reduce evaporation from the upper pond, it is competitive with most other storage systems, and is extremely responsive to demand.

      Show me the actual, real-world, can-be-built sites where you can make pumped storage work.
      Then show me the actual number of these theoretical sites (where the physics and the geology allow pumped storage to be built) where the ENVIRO’s will allow you to build the pumped storage site to be built.
      it is as realistic to think pumped storage is a viable future energy source/storage answer as it is to claim that California can solve it water problems by getting water from the Mississippi River.

      • ”Show me the actual, real-world, can-be-built sites where you can make pumped storage work.”
        I can do better than that. An actual 335 MW site that worked perfectly for 20 years and was then decommissioned: Stor-Juktan in Sweden.
        This was a combined conventional/pumped hydroelectric plant where surplus hydropower from other plants at night was used to pump water that was used to cover peak demand in daytime. This worked very well from 1978 to 1996. Then the politicians “de-regulated” power production in Sweden and brought in “marginal pricing”. I. e. the power companies are allowed to charge all power at the price-level of the most expensive power needed to cover demand at a given time. Suddenly it became very bad business to produce cheap pumped power to cover peak demand, when you could use expensive gas turbines instead.
        So the next time the pump facilities were due for heavy maintenance, they were simply left to rust.

        • tty
          Sites! There are 12,000 such sites needed to provide the storage required.
          Oh, and notice the “heavy maintenance” costs required? Such pumps and turbines are massive, wearing out (literally) each hour they are operating by erosion, cavitation, wear, and impact. The blades literally erode away, and must be rewelded back up to shape, then remachined and ground back to contour on giant 20 and thirty foot diameter lathes using specialized machine and naval ship propeller shops.

      • “Such pumps and turbines are massive, wearing out (literally) each hour they are operating by erosion”
        Typically pumps last for decades (in this case 18 years) before needing maintenance. Hydropower turbines are virtually everlasting and are usually replaced for obsolescence, not wear. The turbines at the (relatively) nearby Porjus heydroelectric plant for example lasted for 70 years.
        Batteries on the other hand…..

        • There are some 8760 hours in a year. That a pump needs inspection and servicing every 5 years, replacement in 10 or 15 years means that every hour one-half of a 1/1000 of a millimeter is smoothly eroded off. Or maybe cavitation occurs and a 25 millimeter pump surface on an impeller 3 meters across is eroded through in 6 months. Maintenance and repair are the biggest expense in wind, hydro, and solar units. NONE of these are subsidized though, and they are simply skipped by today’s operators who are “farming” the tax subsidies from the government-fueled CAGW political market.
          Pump storage requires mass, height difference between the two areas (the two lakes), and enough very cheap EXTRA power available to pump the water uphill so the water flowing downhill can generate electricity. Assume a simple straight-through-cycle hydroelectric turbine is 95% efficient. (Its design of every surface can be carefully optimized for one-way flow.) So, a 500 MWatt power plant requires little “other overhead power” (control motors, oil pumps, generator regulators) to yield 500 MWatts. (500/.95 = 526 “MWatt” of water (potential energy) into-kinetic energy (moving water).)
          Now a pump-turbine unit is about 90-92 percent efficient as a turbine, and about 80-85% efficient as a pump. The motor running the pump (needed to push that water uphill!) is also 95-90% efficient. So, now I need 500/.90 = 555 “MWatt” of “water” in the upper lake.
          To get that 555 uphill, I need 555/.85/.90 = 726 “MWatt” of electric energy INTO the pumped storage unit every hour to get 500 “MWatt” of electric power OUT of the pumped storage unit.

      • tty spouts: ““Such pumps and turbines are massive, wearing out (literally) each hour they are operating by erosion”
        Typically pumps last for decades (in this case 18 years) before needing maintenance. Hydropower turbines are virtually everlasting and are usually replaced for obsolescence, not wear. The turbines at the (relatively) nearby Porjus heydroelectric plant for example lasted for 70 years.
        Batteries on the other hand…..

        The main system may stay in place, but the internals will be rebuilt/replaced on a regular maintenance schedule. They’ll pull the shafts, turbines and wiring.
        What RACookPE1978 missed above “…blades must be rewelded back up to shape, then remachined and ground back to contour…”, is that those massive blades must be rough balanced on computer driven and monitored mandrels each time.
        Each rebalancing requires cranes and very careful moving.
        Then after the turbines are re-installed at the power site, they must undergo final balancing which can take up to a week per blade system.
        Armchair philosophers daydreaming at becoming engineers, when/if they grow up…

      • The pumped storage units I have experience with require annual maintenance to repair cavitation damage, wicket gate rebuilds, tunnel repairs, you name it.
        And try to get one permitted this day, the NGOs and NIMBYs fight you tooth and nail on both the plant and transmission sides.
        Cook, you are dead on.

      • you can use an Archimedes screw to pump the water uphill…it’s the most efficient method with little or no wear on the motors…..

      • tty
        August 18, 2016 at 2:45 am
        I don’t think you will understand this but I will say it.
        Your maths and your argument fails because there is a principle there that you ignore.
        Compatibility.
        When an energy source in a network comes close to its “incompatibility”, failure to upgrade it requires such desperate and very costly measures as the ones you consider as good and feasible solution for storage.
        These are only desperate measures to keep up and extend the compatibility of the source with the network and energy demand for a little longer…….
        Works to a point, but still expensive, but only with powerful energy sources and after the expected compatibility period of such as sources is nearing the end, and no upgrades are ready to take over the load of the “plug point” of such sources……
        Does not work at all with power sources as wind and solar when these just start and are of a very low power and with high unreliable factor.
        Such storage solution only to make such sources appear reliable should be able to store at least x100 the capacity of the source and have their own internal loss some where at 0.1-0.5%, and be even of higher capacity if compatibility factor considered and the whole loss through all the process must not be above 10 percent of the power generated by the source, and have an energy generating source stand-by dedicated to it in case of unforeseen condition to secure the capacity of the storage…. which should be at that point x150-x200 of the energy or power produced
        So if the day average production during a year is ~30MW than an ~4000MW to 6000MW storage is required to turn the wind or solar reliable and compatible, and also a ~30MW coal or gas should be stand-by and solely dedicated to such as for storage security in case of unforeseen problems threatening the loss of storage and the Operation of the wind or power energy for a long time.
        It is virtually and in any other way impossible….. to consider it as a viable feasible solution in case of wind and solar..
        When a power source comes close to and nears its max out-put it is also nearing its compatibility end with the network and power demand and its share of supply towards power demand. Failing to upgrade at that point becomes very expensive…….and the solutions you claim as workable are applied only then as the only left means to apply towards of buying some more time for other solutions….
        cheers

    • “That $150M, assumed to be per annum, would be enough to build a decent pumped storage every couple of years.”
      the contracts look to be for 2-4 years.

    • As someone who helped work on one of the early U.S. pumped hydro storage systems, I can say that they have their problems. Among those problems are geography: there must be a suitable storage area at higher elevation. In one case the entire interior of a mountain was hollowed out into storage cylinders.
      Even so, pumped storage and one other system are probably the only economical mass energy storage systems we have access to at this time.
      That other system is large weights on rail cars on a hill.
      It might sound ridiculous, but like pumped storage it has the advantage of being relatively simple and based on gravity.
      I think we should give consideration to offshore pumped storage systems. Or more accurately, pumped evacuation systems.
      The idea is: you build a strong vertical cylinder out of steel and concrete to the sea floor at a relatively shallow depth. Then you pump water OUT of the cylinder to store energy. You regain your energy by allowing the seawater to turn turbines when it is allowed back in to refill the cylinder.
      Granted, there are some logistical problems with the idea, but it should be workable. One of the advantages is that there are plenty of suitable locations. It could even be done in large lakes.

      • How much marine life will that kill per hour ???. Talk about destroying the marine environment ..Nuts !! Stop using Solar and wind as the main power supplies and you won’t need all these boondoggle storage fantasies…

      • Marcus wrote: “Stop using Solar and wind as the main power supplies and you won’t need all these boondoggle storage fantasies…”
        Good point, Marcus. The Powers-that-Be are putting all their focus on the wrong things. They are digging the hole deeper.

      • Markus:
        Why do you assume it would kill marine life?
        There are ways to prevent that… it is by no means a given. I have to wonder how and why you leaped to such an unjustified conclusion.

      • Markus:
        Let me just give you an example. Newer dams, if responsibly constructed, basically generate electricity the same way, yet don’t kill aquatic life to the point that it causes real problems. The main issue is barriers to migration, which fish ladders and similar methods address. In the past not enough attention was paid to downstream migration, and fry migrating downstream were killed in large numbers. But that is gradually being fixed.
        As I say, pumped hydro systems are not without problems, but most of those problems can be and are being addressed. Cylinders located in the sea eliminate the migration issue: fish can just swim around them. So the biggest problem is already solved. Inadvertent capture of bottom-dwellers is easily addressed by simply not putting the ducts at the very bottom… which you wouldn’t want to do anyway. And the cylinders are not designed to be pumped dry, that would be dumb.
        Wind systems kill birds, and there is no realistic way to prevent that. But hydro systems are different: they don’t HAVE TO kill fish in significant numbers. There are ways to prevent that.

  3. Eric I’ll hang my head on this one. I agree with everything you’ve written. I was also someone who asked themselves (not unlike that fellow from Minnesota, Al Franken) “Why not Me?”
    So I sent in one of those absurd proposals to bring the Internet to the masses. Being a person who had already brought the Internet to the Masses, I figured I had a chance. No Go, and I’m a better person for it.
    And I’m glad. I’m glad the overbearing US government isn’t running my life now. I’m actually happy I didn’t get the job.
    Capacitors are the right way to think on this. I’m personally invested in Maxwell Technologies but there are a few others.

    • Bartleby, capacitors in theory look good until you consider the magnitude of energy they would have to store.
      Consider the energy storage requirement for providing backup for a 1GW supply for one day.
      That is 1GW x 1 day = 1,000,000,000 x 86,400 seconds = 86,400,000,000,000 or 8.6 x 10^13 joules.
      By a coincidence this is pretty similar to the amount of energy released by Little Boy, the nuclear bomb which destroyed Hiroshima (63 TJ = 63,000,000,000,000 joules).
      So if your super capacitor storage system ever suffered sudden dielectric failure, as highly stressed capacitors sometimes do, the resulting energy release would be indistinguishable from a 10 kiloton nuclear explosion.

      • Yeah, when I short out a little starting capacitor to work on a microwave, air-conditioner, etc, it gives a nice flash & pop. Cringe when thinking about an enormous capacitor shorting….

      • It’s a lot of energy but if we’re frightened of the density then, as you point out, nuclear certainly isn’t an option either 🙂
        As I understand, battery technology isn’t inherently safer than capacitor technology; for example lithium-ion packs have been known to burst into flame. At the moment batteries still have capacitors beat in the energy density category and so have the problem you discuss also, and in even greater degree. I think someone below brings up the idea of not packing all that stuff into the same small place.
        Where capacitors excel is in their charge time and service life, not in energy density, but I believe that will change in the next few years.
        At the moment I’m reconditioning all eight of the batteries I use to buffer my solar array so the subject is particularly pertinent for me.

  4. I also note the dominance of storage technologies. It seems to have sunk in well that without a viable electricity storage system renewables are never going to raise their money and energy and environmental impact negative scores.
    Something to keep in mind is that any renewable technology has a cost that includes the necessary storage to render uninterrupted service. The windmill people don’t get off claiming a capital investment that excludes the grid stabilisation investment. In Ontario that mean $3.8bn so far for building and canceling and moving three combined cycle natural gas-fired generating stations. I am going to mention this in my presentation on a triple bottom line analysis of windmills which I will present to the Federal climate policy discussion tomorrow night in Kitchener at City Hall. Arrive before 7PM. The triple bottom line metrics are energy and money and CO2 invested in a stablised wind powered grid. All three have a negative return. Plus of course the negative return for the environment.
    Power produced from photovoltaic panels that were produced from power produced by photovoltaic panels originally produced from coal powered electricity in China, will cost $3.45 per KWH. Renewable energy technologies are coal powered. Except large scale hydro of course, and nuclear, which is what Ontario used to run on. Since renewable became fashionable the average bill has doubled in ten years with, today, 4% of all Ontario’s customers in default for >$200m because they can’t afford the power. That cost, which was a predictable consequence of increasing prices so much, must be paid for by those who are still paying their bills. The 100% increase is directly attributable to the renewable energy mandate, for no positive return on energy, CO2 or $$.
    Welcome to the green economy, now complete with chapped, blue lips.

    • Best of luck on this. You might find some useful information in this recent paper out of Germany: Buffering Volatility: A Study on the Limits of Germany’s Energy Revolution http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2811038 (h/t Judith Curry). The abstract alone makes 2 interesting points: “…the storage requirement of over 6,000 pumped storage plants, which is 183 times Germany’s current capacity…” and “…this buffering strategy loses its effectiveness when wind and solar production overshoots electricity demand, which happens beyond coverage of about a third of aggregate electricity production…”.

    • How much of what money? George Soros has donated over 1/2 billion, the oil-monied Rockefeller funds have done almost as much for their CAGW propaganda, and other billionaires add their money to the government’s approved CAGW 92 billion of funding.
      I donate $25.00 a month to WUWT. Now, unlike Hillary’s 1,042,000.00 in “tax deductions” that she claimed for donating HER millions of dollars to HER OWN “charitable foundation” that donated that 1,000,000.00 back to Hillary’s Clinton’s other “family foundation” … My monthly donations are not tax deductions. Add more billions from overseas interests and US-to-UN money very year.
      Are you claiming the oil companies are spending money on CAGW skeptic sites AND are funding the EDF, WWF, and GreedPeace (er, Greenpeace) at the same time? How much are you claiming skeptics are getting funded, and who is getting this well-funded conspiracy?

      • Hillary ought to be charged with fraud for claiming a tax deduction on the money she gave to her own foundation. All she did was transfer the money from one bank account to another, and then she gets to deduct that from her taxes. Nice work if you can get it.

    • You have picked the most incompetent argument ever. Over $1.5 trillion has been spent on supporting the global warming agenda of the IPCC, emission trading schemes, renewable energy programs and subsidies, and climate change research over just the last decade. And when I say “spent” what this mostly means is tax revenues spent by compliant governments.
      The total is so large, the US federal government no longer reports how much it “spends” on these programs.
      To the best of my knowledge, no skeptic sites are publicly funded. Total resources applied to the climate skeptic cause over the same period has been estimated at about $500 million.
      Are you a tax payer? Are you happy with 25 years of zero successful achievement for all your hard earned tax dollars spent?
      Are you really so frightened of the minuscule amount privately donated by those with a differing view? Or is it just that it continues to be far more effective?

    • And the “Dumbest Comment of the Year Award” goes to…..J. Phillip Peterson….congratulations Phill….

    • Even by your standards, that was a pathetic response.
      No government money is spent on any of these skeptical sites.

  5. In reviewing the list of grant recipients, it appears someone(s) in DOE , etc., has searched for any and all possible research projects related to batteries and given them all about the same sized slice of pie. Remind me, how many monkeys does it take to invent a new battery technology?

  6. I’m not really sure what the problem people have about investing in electricity storage technologies. There’s quite a bit going on in this domain that is likely to undermine the old paradigm of delivering energy and energy quality in real time from centralised generation assets. Generation of most kinds & distribution works better if it doesn’t need to bounce around all the time to make sure power and power quality is maintained for a user. ICT, big data and power electronics not to mention materials’ technologies are driving change, quite apart from any concerns about climate change.
    So get use to the idea that the electricity system is changing and storage is a central part to that.
    Also be aware that storage isn’t one size fits all. There are a wide range of different technologies depending on the cycle time, energy stored etc etc

    • Yes, but …
      The US uses 97.7 quadrillion BTU per year according to: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_home
      The Tesla GigaFactory is projected to produce 35GWh of batteries per year.
      According to my calculations that means that to store a day’s worth of US energy you would need nearly 2,250 years of GigaFactory production. So, yes, you can say batteries are a good idea but does producing them on that scale sound like a practical solution? How much pollution will it generate? Can we wait over 2000 years to get the system working?

      • Obviously, we shut down factories that are currently making say, furniture, and have them start making these new batteries. If we devote 100% of the US’s manufacturing capacity to this problem, surely we could have all the batteries we need built in just a couple of decades.
        (That was sarcasm for the economically clueless.)

      • Yes storing a days worth of energy would be a foolish idea, and if one did want to do it you wouldn’t use batteries.

  7. I don’t understand this post. 150 million is small money compared to climate change research funds on researching something that is fundamental for future power generation stability unless we find some new reliable high density power source like nuclear fusion. IMO govts around the world should be increasing research funding in battery/power storage solutions. They should have had the power storage solution in place before putting in the intermittent renewable powers sources so the problems occurring already in Germany and now South Australia are avoided.

  8. The false assumption in all this is that one can transform an unreliable power source, such as a renewable, into a reliable one simply by providing energy storage. Firstly, energy storage costs money and creating large amounts of storage will be costly. Secondly, and more important, one cannot create a reliable power
    source simply by providing it with auxillery storage. The storage is of necessity limited in capacity, whilst interruptions of to the full power output of renewable power (no wind, cloudy skies) has no such limitations. Those interruptions can last for weeks, even months. And even if the storage could replace the lost renewable power, what happens when the renewables come back ? How do the renewable power sources not only create the power needed, but also replenish all that now-depleted storage capacity? You can see that this would require reliable power, but that means duplication of power sources. But if you are going to use fossil fuels or nuclear to replenish the storage, why do you need the storage in the first place? One cannot use nuclear as a back up because the cost of maintaining operations at a nuclear plant, because so little of the cost is for fuel, makes using it for intermittant power makes zero econmic sense – the cost per kilowatthour would be quite high, even though nuclear power produced by the typical nuclear plant (which runs at 100% capacity , or more, while not shut down for refuling) produces low cost power. Operating the same pllant for 50% capacity, for example, essentially doubles the cost of the power it produces, since virtually none of its operating costs are reduced by reducing its capacity.
    So the renewable enthusiasts are dead wrong to believe that storage is the magic bullet that will make their primitive power generators reliable.

    • I love the comment “primitive” power because that is exactly what it is, and there is no way with add on’s that it will ever be as reliable and efficient as using fossil fuels with its ever improving high technology to widen the cost and efficiency gap between “primitive” green energy and the real thing.
      I am appalled at the numerous DUPLICATE grants in the list from tax dollars to keep the failed green energy on the table year after year after year. Of course it does accumulate votes for distribution of valuable resources

  9. Notice the variety of States that receive these grants. Therein lies the problem. It is the attitude of Congresspeople to “bring home the bacon” to their constituents and to hell with the budget.

  10. Seeing that I’m a Commonwealth citizen, so that none of the tax involved is coming out of my pocket, it’s with some hesitation that I offer the following observations: (A) it doesn’t take many Predator drones to match this kind of money, (B) energy storage has applications in transport and emergency backup systems, (C) the armed forces cannot trust the enemy to let them have uninterrupted access to mains power, and (D) the only one of these projects I’m even remotely qualified to judge has a fairly good chance of advancing the practice of materials science research even if it doesn’t turn up anything about batteries. You don’t have to believe in the wonders of renewable energy to find better batteries and advancing materials science good things.
    Whether the US can afford this, and whether there are more urgent things to spend the money on, and whether it’s the government’s business to be doing it are things for US citizen to decide, not me.

    • I agree about the benifits of the research for future uses, including flight and space flght.
      I think the RE is just something to hang it on for getting it through government.
      It will of course never be any use for RE because it will just increase the inefficiency of an already inefficent system, the one thing they all ignore in their Magic Unicorn World.

    • A) Predator drones have a use.
      B) If they have such uses, then we don’t need the government to subsidize their development.
      C) The armed forces already know this, that’s why they have portable generators.

    • Paul Homewood at “notalotofpeopleknowthat” has just linked to a rather sober and detailed examination of that Telegraph article from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,:
      http://www.thegwpf.com/offshore-wind-intermittency-and-electricity-storage/
      After running through costs and technical feasibility the article ends:
      “There is some, modest, long-term promise here, but anyone reading Mr Evans-Pritchard’s articles and concluding that the world’s energy woes were on the point of solution, and he himself encourages this with a rousing call to “Rejoice”, would have been seriously misled.”
      One has to remember that AEP , as a journalist , is inclined to take a current story and extrapolate it somewhat. He is still remembered in the UK somewhat scornfully as the man who , during the now long forgotten Euro crisis, was forecasting “the end of the Euro as a currency by the weekend”.

      • Post script to above : I do not mean to be hard on AEP as a journalist . He is a fine writer and one of the feature writers that makes the DT worth buying- and he seems to do his own research rather than just cut and paste.
        He just needs a editor or colleague to get him to curb his excitement a little, but maybe that is the way modern print journalism has to operate to get attention (and advertising revenue).

  11. I believe Lamar Smith needs to review some of these awards:

    “ABB Superconducting Magnet Energy Storage System with Direct Power Electronics Interface Graphic of ABB Technology’s project $4,580,020″

    “Abengoa Solar High-Efficiency Solar-Electric Conversion Power Tower Graphic of Abengoa’s technology $3,875,104″

    “Battelle Memorial Institute Battery Fault Sensing in Operating Batteries Image of Battelle’s technology” $948,261

    “Beacon Power Development of a 100 kWh/100 kW Flywheel Energy Storage Module Graphic of Beacon Power’s project” $4,245,875

    $13,649,260 for some pretty pictures of technology they should have designed and drawn before attempting to build…
    And Beacon Power, cancelled their project.
    Another annoying tidbit are the amounts. Normally projects are estimated in ballpark figures, usually raised to the next higher ten thousand, hundred thousand.
    Numbers smaller than those estimates smack of actual billing amounts as projects never end at the higher round number.
    I checked websites looking for these glorious graphics, bought and paid for by us taxpayers, but failed to locate any of them.
    Somehow, I doubt Beacon Power returned any of their grant…

  12. Back in the 1970s a scientist working on photovoltaic systems quipped:
    “There are liars.
    There are damned liars.
    And then there are battery chemists.”
    plus ça change

      • Thanks for the link. It’s well worth reading.
        John Bannister Goodenough gave us the practical lithium-ion battery and thereby changed the world. The point of the article is that he has an idea for something much better and is working on it with a team of postdocs.
        The article also has the following quote which may be the source of the one I heard back in the 1970s.

        Just as soon as a man gets working on the secondary battery it brings out his latent capacity for lying. – Edison

  13. “The $155 million which appears to have been spent on these projects could have been used to improve healthcare, urban regeneration, or simply left in the pockets of taxpayers struggling to pay their bills.”
    Similar arguments lead to Brexit. Politicans are resistant to negative experience.

  14. “The $155 million which appears to have been spent on these projects could have been used to improve healthcare, urban regeneration, or simply left in the pockets of taxpayers struggling to pay their bills.”
    Similar arguments led to Brexit. Politicans are resistant to negative experience.

  15. These projects are all small potatoes, applied for by companies or venture capital backed companies who could fund them out of lunch money if the had any possible commercial value and keep the patents for themselves. These projects are just welfare for the middle class.

    • Correction: These projects are just welfare for the Liberal Elite class.” that considers “old people” as a dead-weight on society…

  16. No where is corporate welfare more evident in than in these grants. If they government really wants a useful battery the solution is obvious. Instead of giving them money to research the problem, grant them a prize for solving the problem. Its easy. 100 million (or even a billion) dollars to anyone that can develop a storage battery that will meet the required conditions. I would require the battery to do the following:
    Power a car the size of my pickup (4×4, 6 foot bed) 500 miles with the air conditioning on in 100 degree weather with 4 passengers and associated luggage. After driving 500 miles, recharge or replace the battery in less than 2 hours at a cost less than $100. Do that, and you have something.

  17. This list of gratuitous grants reads like a list of what individual companies should be doing routinely in the search for new and profitable products. If they are not fundable by the companies themselves the government should not be doing so.
    Past results of government largess include the notorious Solyndra. One of their glass tube grid panels showed up for sale at a junk dealer In my area in like new condition 2 years ago. I put resistive load on it consistent with labeled power and measured less than 1O watts in the bright Mojave desert sun. The dealer gave the panel away to clear space on his lot. It makes nice yard art.
    Somebody funds the endless streams of “breakthrough” PV tech inventions that get momentary Internet headlines and then are never heard of again. Revolutionary battery tech continues this grand (or grandiose) tradition. I suppose the trickle of money that continues through the web sites of these flyers covers basic living expenses for 1 or 2 people for a few years.

  18. re John Macdonald’s ” … Remind me, how many monkeys does it take to invent a new battery technology?” -> 0.5 evidently. Although, he might be just slightly bemused to hear you call him a monkey. While ‘it steam engines come steam engine time’, Prof Goodenough (and his team, especially in the 2nd case) ‘invented’ first the Lithium Ion battery as we know it and then several decades later, the Lithium Ferro Phosphate battery. The LiFePO4 technology is different enough to be seen as distinctly different from LiIon and to not be part of the logical evolution of LiIon to the immensely successful state it is in today.
    Better than most version here: bit.ly/profjohngoodenough or
    http://bit.ly/profjohngoodenough

  19. Read up on the “War of the Currents” and you will learn about the early days of the power grid.
    Thomas Edison was trying to push a DC system, but a given amount of power (P) required high amperage (I) and low voltage (V), sort of like solar power, and as a result transmission losses (proportional to the square of the current) mandated that a DC grid would only work with a large number of local power supplies (batteries) – like one every few hundred yards.
    Nikola Tesla pushed AC, which had the advantage that transformers could jack the voltage up really high (over 100,000 V) and reduce the power losses, then transform the voltage back down to something low enough to be useful just before the customer’s connection. Much less wasted power…
    There is a practical reason that we don’t use DC, and that is the problem of too many batteries.

  20. There is a fundamental issue with renewable power. Take for instance Wind Power which has a capacity factor of 0.21. http://docs.wind-watch.org/Boccard-Capacity-Factor-Of-Wind.pdf If you want to produce 500 MW of power and each wind turbine produces 2 MW of power, you need 250 turbines. But if you account for the capacity factor of a wind turbine, you need 5 times that many turbines covering that much more land area and costing that much more. And all this has to be in one locality, so you need to store and be ready to supply 500 MW for hours or days during times when no wind blows. Thus storage capacity will need to be 12,000 MW-h for a single day of no wind power generation.
    But all this could be done 500 MW conventional coal or NG fired power plant with no need for vast tracts of land and new energy storage technology.
    And this analysis does not take into account the energy loss in the storage facility which can be substantial in its own right.
    Solar has similar issues such as only being effective during high sun hours. Useless the other time of the day and during any weather events (clouds, storms, dust in the air, you name it). I wonder how much water is used in the desert cleaning solar panels or reflectors.

    • There are many places – the US mid-west, offshore – with higher capacity factors…
      also, HVDC power lines enable you to bring in power over a wide area.
      Plus wind delivers seasonally -e.g in UK it delivers most in winter – allowing for higher output in winter to be balanced by higher solar in summer

      • Griff, always shooting from the hip really does make you look desperate. WUWT won’t go away tomorrow, so you will always find an opportunity to preach to the unbelievers. Why don’t you take the time to look at real production charts? I know why, they tell you that too often wind and sun cannot produce enough.

    • You didn’t even read the paywalled report, Griff.
      67 MW of storage capacity are installed now, but total production nameplate capacity is 200 GW. So using all storage gives you 0.03 % of total capacity.
      Average hourly production is 73 800 MW (647 000 000 MWh / 8766 h), which is 1100 times more than you could get from storage, if that were even possible for one hour (it is not, by far).
      About 600 000 000 MWh are used yearly, 68446 MWh in an average hour. Your hyped storage is good for 1/1000 of hourly use, if that were possible (it isn’t). Then you have to recharge resp. pump for 8 hours again with no storage capacity available.
      Why dont you lie down and lay low.

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