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Old 05-23-2016, 06:18 AM   #1
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Default Electric train used a energy storage

They use a renewal power source to run a loaded electric train up an incline, when power is needed, they roll the electric train down the incline which run the motor as a generator.
It's beyond theory and appears to be in production.

Storing electricity on a train sounds like a kind of cockamamy, steampunk plan better left to villains with waxed, curly mustaches, yet there it is: a locomotive on a test track in the Tehachapi region of California whose most valuable cargo is electricity.

With the large-scale adoption of renewable generation, there is an opening for energy storage technology to smooth intermittent power production and hold the power for when it is most needed. Advanced Rail Energy Storage North America, headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif., offers a novel approach to large-scale energy storage, using lower-cost power to drive a train uphill and then letting the train roll downhill to produce power when market prices are high. The technology has already attracted the interest of the Valley Electric Association Inc., which will host a $40 million, 50-MW rail energy storage plant in Nevada with interconnection to the California ISO.

https://www.snl.com/web/client?auth=...26542351-12594
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:05 AM   #2
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How much power can a train generate going down hill,
Surely the costs of setting up such a scheme would be high ?
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:15 AM   #3
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They state that one car can produce 2-MW.



Rail energy storage can serve much larger energy storage needs than batteries and flywheels, and at half the price of hydro, said Kelly, a former Southern California Edison Co. grid executive. The ARES website says the company could build projects with up to 3 GW in capacity and 24 GWh of storage. All it needs is space and a steady incline to run its tracks.

The cars themselves are Australian ore trains with all the extras stripped off, each one the equivalent of a 2-MW generator, Kelly said. When storing power, the trains haul 230 tons of rock and cement up a hill. They can leave the loads at the top of the hill and go back down and get more, to increase capacity. When the system is not in use, the trains wait along the track, fully loaded. When power is needed, they start rolling downhill, with the heavy load providing crucial inertia. The electric motor runs the other way, and power is pushed out on the grid. The system can ramp up in 5 to 10 seconds, not as fast as flywheels or batteries, but faster than a simple cycle gas turbine, Kelly said.

If the system has to run for long periods, empty locomotives drive back up the hill on a second track and pick up a new load of stone. Large systems will require multiple parallel tracks up to eight miles long, Kelly said. ARES has a round-trip efficiency of 86%, but Kelly thinks that number will rise as the company optimizes its equipment.

Utilities are notorious for being slow to adopt new technology, but ARES seems to have short-circuited that process, going straight from its test track to commercial construction.

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Officials from Valley Electric, a Nevada co-op with a 150-MW peak summer load, first encountered ARES at a symposium in 2011, Valley Electric CEO Thomas Husted said in an interview. At the time the utility expected 3 GW of solar to come into its system, so it was very interested in energy storage. Husted was not put off by ARES' newness.

"We feel very good about the technology," he said. "When you look at it, it's really not new technology. This is off-the-shelf equipment. We don't see it as taking a chance with new technology."

Nevada is a particularly good place for ARES, because its landscape features exactly the kind of long, gentle slopes the trains need to operate at peak efficiency. Based on results at the Tehachapi test facility, the trains run best on grades between 6% and 8% and at speeds between 16 and 20 mph. In Nevada, and other dry plains around the world, Kelly expects to find slopes up to eight miles long. The longer the track, the more power the system can store.

The Nevada project will provide 50 MW of capacity and hold 12.5 MWh with the fast performance best suited to serving California's ancillary services markets. ARES hopes the project will be in service in 2016, in time to help California meet its 1,325-MW energy storage target.

Though ARES is a merchant project, Valley Electric's engineers have been working closely with ARES to make sure there will be no problems with the connection to the grid, Husted said.

ARES is working on securing permits and financing for the project. Kelly said the company has commitments for $25 million of the $40 million it needs.

What excites Kelly and his team particularly is the technology's limited environmental footprint.

"We use no water, we use no fuel, we produce no emissions, we use no hazardous or environmentally hazardous substances," Kelly said.

Indeed, Kelly said he and his team are environmentalists first and foremost. ARES expects its systems to last a long time, but it also designed the system to be easily removed.

"When you're done and it's time to decommission, you repurpose the railcars, you recycle the rails, you recycle the railroad ties, you rake up the gravel, you throw down grass seed," he said. "In a year no one knows you were there."
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:38 AM   #4
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If I am reading that correctly, they use grid power to move the train up the hill when power costs are low and then they roll the train down the hill when power prices are higher, all done at 86% efficiency, meaning it costs 14% for the process.

So it's not a power generator, in fact, it's a power consumer. It's a money generator.

Curious: What's the difference in cost of power from non-peak to peak demand? It must be something considerably more than 14% for this venture to profit.
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:12 AM   #5
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If it wasn't a sweetheart deal for a green connected company and not just the average joe homeowner , then the poco wouldn't be paying as much on the differential and it wouldn't be profitable.

Get to the bottom of this and you will find taxpayer subsidy in there someplace...............
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:21 PM   #6
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Electric energy storing trains have been around for decades. Passenger cars to be exact.
The older Cushman rail passenger cars used batteries to power the individual car when idle and the batteries were charged via the generator located beneath the car. The generator is connected mechanically to the wheels.
They used a centrifugal clutch similar to the ones used on the old go carts. Once the train is moving at a certain speed, the clutch allows the generator shaft to turn which in turn charges the batteries.
When the train stops, a contactor opens taking the generator out of the pcture and it goes to battery power.
The generator can be plugged into a receptacle (contactor closes) when stopped for longer periods to turn the generator and charge the batteries.

I understand today most train cars are connected electrically to the locomotive where the electricity is generated.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:43 PM   #7
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They seem to be concentrating on the money making part of this storage
system resulting from varying rates of the KWxH.

2 other benefits come to mind:
1)Renewable energy can only be a small percentage of the grid energy as
long it's power is only available at the time of production ie when the wind
blows or the sun shines. Storage would allow that percentage to grow.
2)Building new electric generating stations is fraught with problems including
expense, long time lines and environmental hurdles. If excess energy
generated at off peak times can be stored for use at peak times, it could be
the cheapest, easiest way to increase peak supply.
Other schemes I've heard of include filling submerged balloons with air and
reversing hydro dams to pump water upstream to the dam reservoir.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:52 PM   #8
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I think someone got the crap shocked out of them when a train was rolling and had an idea.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:30 PM   #9
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It is always about making money and never about more than that really.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:04 PM   #10
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If I am reading this right, this idea is a solution to one of the challenges with renewable energy sources. Traditional power sources make power on demand, you can turn on turbines as needed to juice up the grid - the energy is stored in the fossil fuel's chemical energy until you need it. Renewable sources, you get them when the sun is out, the wind blows, or etc. Storing the energy makes them more viable.

So I think this is a dummyload train to nowhere. The renewable source's excess power pushes the train up the hill, and when it's needed because it's cloudy, no wind, or etc., the train comes downhill generating energy. The energy is stored in gravitational potential energy.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:07 PM   #11
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Now that I think of it it's a good idea but why would you build a train when you could just pump water up a hill into a reservoir and use it for hydroelectric power when you need it? That seems a lot simpler.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatz
Now that I think of it it's a good idea but why would you build a train when you could just pump water up a hill into a reservoir and use it for hydroelectric power when you need it? That seems a lot simpler.
I'm betting that water losses in the dry areas plus water use permitting makes it easier to run some rails, vice find a water source and dance with Feds/State department of environmental resources...
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFL View Post
If I am reading that correctly, they use grid power to move the train up the hill when power costs are low and then they roll the train down the hill when power prices are higher, all done at 86% efficiency, meaning it costs 14% for the process.

So it's not a power generator, in fact, it's a power consumer. It's a money generator.

Curious: What's the difference in cost of power from non-peak to peak demand? It must be something considerably more than 14% for this venture to profit.
For me here in Northern CA, I pay as little as 7 cents / kWh off peak, and 36 cents during worst peak, 14 cents in between. So heck yeah, crank that train up the hill at 7 cents, let it fall at 36 cents, lose 14%, still make 23 cents / kWh in profit.

Din ding ding, WINNER!
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:21 PM   #14
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It can't scale up.

After you back out the cost of capital -- track and rolling stock -- the idea is a loser.

BTW, the scheme depends upon having an overhead catenary to transfer the power from the moving alternators back out to the grid.

Those are frightfully expensive to install.

The all electric locomotive would be expensive -- if American. It's not a favored design out this way. Think low production.

Most electric locomotives run on 50 Hz or 50/3 Hz power ( That's right 16.67 Hz ) as the technology took off in Europe. In America it's an East Coast or subway 'thing.'
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:39 PM   #15
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Nah, DC, 3rd rail system, just like BART. Then they can just tap them into the Pacific Intertie system as HVDC and take advantage of the pre-existing infrastructure.

The new BART cars are being built in Philly and there's an electric train mfr located right down the road from you tesla; Siemens Rail Systems Div. in Sacramento. Yes, European owned, but made for our market.

One thing they got wrong in that article I think is that they said they would carry large loads of rock UP the hill and leave them there, then go back down empty. That sounds bass ackward to be. Go up empty when you are paying to get them up the hill, then load them with rocks going down to maximize the overhauling load.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by telsa View Post
It can't scale up.

After you back out the cost of capital -- track and rolling stock -- the idea is a loser.

BTW, the scheme depends upon having an overhead catenary to transfer the power from the moving alternators back out to the grid.

Those are frightfully expensive to install.

The all electric locomotive would be expensive -- if American. It's not a favored design out this way. Think low production.

Most electric locomotives run on 50 Hz or 50/3 Hz power ( That's right 16.67 Hz ) as the technology took off in Europe. In America it's an East Coast or subway 'thing.'
The cars themselves are Australian ore trains with all the extras stripped off, each one the equivalent of a 2-MW generator
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telsa View Post
It can't scale up.

After you back out the cost of capital -- track and rolling stock -- the idea is a loser.

BTW, the scheme depends upon having an overhead catenary to transfer the power from the moving alternators back out to the grid.

Those are frightfully expensive to install.

.'
a catenary[p] is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends. The curve has a U-like shape, superficially similar in appearance to a parabola, but it is not a parabola: it is a (scaled, rotated) graph of the hyperbolic cosine.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by macmikeman View Post
Get to the bottom of this and you will find taxpayer subsidy in there someplace...............
I think that's a safe bet !
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:44 PM   #19
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What's so bad about Geo-thermal energy? After the initial cost, it's free forever, and about as "green" as you can get.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:17 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by joebanana View Post
What's so bad about Geo-thermal energy? After the initial cost, it's free forever, and about as "green" as you can get.
That's only the sales literature.

1) The geothermal locations that are most practical usually have brutal amounts of corrosive acids. So they are abandoned before you even know they exist// were looked at.

2) Iceland, New Zealand and a sprinkling of spots in California, Italy, and the like are pretty much it.

3) Even where economic, the maintenance burden on such systems is a fright. This latter aspect is never given a public airing. ( Too boring, too unflattering. )

&&&&&&&

The best power sources:

Hydropower
PV arrays
Atomic
Natural gas

Middling power sources:

Coal
Lignite
Residual oils ( heavies )

Wrongful power sources: ( way too many negatives )

Bird assassins:
Big wind turbines
Thermal-electric solar

Ecology assassins:
Tidal hydro-electric

Wholly uneconomic but a tease:

OTEC ( Ocean Thermal Electric Conversion )
Methane hydrates ( staggering reserves )

A threat to life on planet Earth:

Any fusion power scheme ( radio nuclides forever, atomic weapons for everyone )

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