Tag Archive | wind power homes

Storing Wind Power in Stones as Hot Air, How is that Possible?

Last December a storm with a low-pressure zone called Theresa created a massive surge of power (31,000 megawatts to be exact) to be fed into the grid temporarily in Germany. The problem was that most of this free energy was lost because there was nowhere sufficient in place that was able to store it. To try and combat that issue, Siemens have devised a plan that involves developing a new energy storage system called Future Energy Solution (FES) in collaboration with the Hamburg University of Technology and municipal utility company Hamburg Energie.

The new system is being funded by Germany’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and will store excess power generated by wind parks for several hours at a time which will solve the problem of wasted energy like with Theresa. It’s called the Hamburg System and it works by converting surplus energy into heat which is then blown into an insulated bin of rocks heating the rocks to temperatures of more than 600 degrees Celsius. When there’s demand for energy the rocks heat an airflow which in turn drives a steam cycle and new electricity is produced as a result.

In cooperation with Hamburg Energie and Hamburg University of Technology, experts from Siemens’ Wind Power and Renewables Division have developed a heat storage system based on the use of electricity generated with surplus wind power. CT is investigating and improving the heat flow within the facility.

It’s a very cost-effective, and environmentally friendly process and could potentially be used to supplement existing storage systems. Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) has been heavily involved in the concept of the FES and has been running a test facility in Erlangen since 2016. CT project manager, Vladimir Danov, advised, “The thermal storage system is the centerpiece of the Hamburg facility. It’s very important that we understand the heat transport phenomena within the storage system so that we can increase its overall efficiency and build a full-scale power station.”

The Hamburg facility is around five meters long and instead of stones, the container houses around 13,000 ceramic balls. According to Danov, the advantage of using these balls is that they’re all the same shape and size, which makes calculating the hat transport and other processes within the bin easier. “However, we will use ceramic balls only in the current test phase. In the next stop we will fill the storage system with natural stones so that we can study how irregular shapes and a variety of material data influence heat transport,” says Danov.

Marco Prenzel prepares the FES storage system for a test run. To do so, he connects the system’s heating unit with a supply line from a container loaded with heated stones. Manfred Wohlfarth carefully places some 13,000 ceramic balls into the facility. The balls are ideal for examining and optimizing heat flows. In the next step, the balls will be replaced by real stones.

But, the biggest challenge lies not in whether to use ceramic balls or stones, but in how to measure heat transport processes within the container. Currently, researchers have around 50 thermocouples installed in the storage system to try and obtain findings that are as detailed as possible. “Our findings will make it easier to scale up the facility in the future,” says Jochen Schafer, Head of the Distributed Energy Systems and Heat Conversion Research Group at CT. But before that can happen, a complete facility needs to be in place that includes technology for transforming heat back into electricity.  Neither the Hamburg and Erlangen prototypes have this but a new facility due to be built in Hamburg in 2018 will.

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How Wind Turbines Work

When driving by a wind turbine farm, it’s impossible not to marvel at the sheer size and power of these machines. While the science may seem modern day, the concept has been around for millenniums. Its predecessor, the simple windmill, can be traced as far back as 200 B.C. when it was used for simple farming like grinding grain and drawing water. It’s not until 1888 when the first electricity producing wind turbine would be brought to the U.S. Today, it powers everything from neighborhoods to schools to telecom towers.

While we’ll leave the specifics up to the engineers, have you ever wondered what keeps these massive propellers in motion? We’ve wondered the same, so we put together a simple guide on how wind turbines work, which you can see below.

How Wind Turbines Work

 From : SaveOnEnergy.com 

These impressive machines now supply 4.5% of the electricity in the U.S. While that may seem small, it’s equivalent to about 15.5 million U.S. homes! Better understand the energy options available in your area by visiting SaveOnEnergy.com and start paying less for electricity today.

Photo by Charles Cook / CC BY

Massive Jump In Wind Power Output In Scotland

Latest data for the month of February has shown Scottish wind power took a massive leap forward compared to the same time last year.

February saw the region’s wind turbines producing 1,331,420MWh of electricity, enough to supply the needs of 162 percent of Scottish households (3.9 million homes).

The figures, provided by WeatherEnergyUK and analysed by WWF Scotland, represent an increase of 43 percent over February 2016 – also a record month for the nation’s wind sector – when wind supplied 929,417MWh.

Scotland’s entire electricity consumption last month, including homes, businesses and industry, totaled 1,984,765MWh – meaning wind power contributed a whopping 67 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

And high winds meant that on four separate days, Scotland’s wind turbines generated output equivalent to more than the nation’s total energy needs for each entire day:

  • Thursday 7th – 78,512 MWh, equivalent to 118 percent electricity
  • Monday 13th – 78,936 MWh, equivalent 110 percent electricity
  • Monday 20th – 67,213 MWh, equivalent 127 percent electricity
  • Sunday 26th – 70,611 MWh, equivalent to 128 percent electricity.

“Compared to last year, some very powerful winds across the month helped increase the total electricity supplied to the National Grid from Scotland’s wind turbines,” said Karen Robinson from WeatherEnergy.

“As we began to witness for the first time last year, this February has also seen a few days where the power output from wind farms exceeded the total electricity demand for an entire day. This is quite an achievement.”

WWF noted that the highest wind output was on the 13th of February, when generation spiked at nearly 79,000 MWh, enough to power 6.5 million Scottish homes. This is more than one-and-a-half times the number of households in the nation.

“Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines was up more than two-fifths compared to the same period last year,” said WWF Scotland Director Lang Banks.

“This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of almost four million homes. As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and helps Scotland to avoid over a million tonnes of polluting carbon emissions every month.”

The environmental group hopes the figures will inform the government on the vital role wind power has in the future of Scotland’s energy mix as Holyrood seeks consultations on its latest draft energy plan.

“Every one of the main political parties supports the aim of generating half of all Scotland’s energy needs from renewables by 2030 – including heat, electricity and transport,” Banks said.

“With this level of political backing, we call upon all of the parties to now bring forward policies that will help maximise the benefits to Scotland’s economy, as we transition to a renewable future.”

The figures come at an important time – Scottish Renewables says businesses working in the region’s renewable energy sector are forecasting a sixth of their workforce will be lost within the next year. The group says this is due to changes to and closures of support schemes.