Pumped Hydroelectric Storage

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Calling the engineers in the audience - I just ran through some calculations on the feasibility of water pumping storage at Factor e Farm, our facility. The numbers look really good on paper. The drawing shows two quarter acre ponds - the contour lines are at 1 foot elevation intervals, so 30 foot drop between the ponds. The calculation yields 24kWhr of energy storage from this using proven microhydro technology - where the elevated pond serves as a reserve that can be pumped during daylight for gravity water storage. This is an open call for review of the calculations, see below.

Explanation:

Can we consider a storage hydro system that pumps during the day and generates electricity by night? Quick calculations: 1/4 acre pond, 6 foot deep. That is about 2000 cubic meters of water. Take another pond 10 m lower. The energy of water going from pond 1 to pond 2 (see drawing attached) is MgH = energy = [2000 cu m]x[1000kg/cu m]x[10 m/s^2]x[10 m] = 200 MJ 200 MJ = 200 MW for 1 second, or 200 kW for 1000 seconds, or 2 kW for 100,000 seconds - but assume 50% system efficiency (85% pumping, 85% generating, then 20% friction loss)

THAT IS over 24 HOURS OF 1KW OF POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cost will be $1.5k in 4" pipe (about 1000 ft), $1k in power equipment, $10k in excavation + trenching for 2 ponds. If we have our own dozer, that will be $3k system cost. $3k for 24kWhr ($125/kwhr) of power storage appears to be comparable to batteries (38 whr costs $3 - or $75/kWhr for lithium batteries (which are not sustainable)). But lithium bats live 5 years or so - whereas PVC lives 400 years - so the gravity pond is a 100x better solution if we internalize lifetime design. Sure looks good on paper. Are these numbers sound?

2019 addendum: It gets more interesting with 3D printing. Each piece of pipe of 4", 10' long is $10, but if we 3D print these - then the cost of 4" PVC Pipe drops to 65 cents per 10 foot section (10 cents per lb from post-consumer waste plastic). So $100 per 24kWhrs of power. $5/kWhr cost is 10x better than batteries, and 1000x better over a lifetime.

If this works, we will consider this project for a future workshop in permaculture and open source technology, like the ones we're running now (http://bit.ly/1lHE2fw). If anyone can help us develop this project, please let me know.

Phs.jpg

Working Doc

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1FXZjGWcSwAZYxykedo9sqP4YGUlJRRiDUnYzKFTzHnI/edit#slide=id.g5c3be0ce2d_1_28

References

Turbine Sources

Contacts

Contacted Regrarians, Permies, TED Fellows on Facebook.

Hi Permies, I've been bouncing this pumped hydroelectric storage idea, which we are considering for a future workshop. This appears feasible at our site, with 30 feet of head, using two quarter acre ponds. I'm contacting http://www.canyonhydro.com/micro/microfaq.html#FAQ_HowMuchPwr to find out more about Pelton turbines - any ideas on other reputable Pelton turbine sources?

Calling the engineers in the audience - I just ran through some calculations on the feasibility of water pumping storage at Factor e Farm, our facility. The numbers look really good on paper. The drawing shows two quarter acre ponds - the contour lines are at 1 foot elevation intervals, so 30 foot drop between the ponds. The calculation yields 24kWhr of energy storage from this using proven microhydro technology - where the elevated pond serves as a reserve that can be pumped during daylight for gravity water storage. This is an open call for review of the calculations, see below. Explanation: Can we consider a storage hydro system that pumps during the day and generates electricity by night? Quick calculations: 1/4 acre pond, 6 foot deep. That is about 2000 cubic meters of water. Take another pond 10 m lower. The energy of water going from pond 1 to pond 2 (see drawing attached) is MgH = energy = [2000 cu m]x[1000kg/cu m]x[10 m/s^2]x[10 m] = 200 MJ 200 MJ = 200 MW for 1 second, or 200 kW for 1000 seconds, or 2 kW for 100,000 seconds - but assume 50% system efficiency (85% pumping, 85% generating, then 20% friction loss) THAT IS over 24 HOURS OF 1KW OF POWER!!!!!!!!!!!! Cost will be $1.5k in 4" pipe (about 1000 ft), $1k in power equipment, $10k in excavation + trenching for 2 ponds. If we have our own dozer, that will be $3k system cost. $3k for 24kWhr of power storage appears to beat batteries by a factor of 5-10 in cost. Sure looks good on paper. Are these numbers sound? If this works, we will consider this project for a future workshop in permaculture and open source technology, like the ones we're running now (http://bit.ly/1lHE2fw). If anyone can help us develop this project, please let me know.

Other Types of Gravity Storage

Links

  • Alexander Slocum, MIT - ocean windmill storage - [6]
  • other OSE Wiki pages: Pelton Wheel
  • Flow battery - the cheapest form of chemical storage possible - $1/kwhr for materials, and $10/kwhr for balance of system