Thermal storage is a bridge to Molten-Salt Reactors. They can be set up rapidly and cheaply and they are an off-the-shelf item. They can use wasted curtailed “renewable” power, and might even be paid to take the power.
Thermal storage allows us to learn how to make big hot corrosive things that take on and put out huge amounts of energy – thermal storage is a molten-salt reactor without the moderator and fuel.
Overbuilding solar and wind energy creates an abundance of electricity during daylight hours. Curtailing power means shutting off or disconnecting solar and wind power when they generate more than the electrical grid can handle.
California alone generates a lot of solar and wind power that has to be curtailed. At least 34,000 megawatt hours needs to be curtailed every month and some months (March to May) can go as high as 550,000 megawatt hours per month. Sometimes, during the middle of the day, California’s renewable resources can generate more electricity than is needed. During these periods of surplus energy, the ISO’s (Independent system operators) market automatically reduces the production of energy from renewable resources, or “curtail” generation. In rare instances, when economic bids from generators are insufficient, ISO operators manually curtail production to maintain the balance between supply and demand.
While curtailment is an acceptable operational tool, as increasing amounts of renewable resources, oversupply conditions are expected to occur more often. The ISO is seeking solutions to avoid or reduce the amount of curtailment of renewable power to maximize the use of clean energy sources.
The goal is to get to less than 1 dollar per kilogram hydrogen. This requires under $2 a watt construction cost for energy and a supply of 600 degree celsius heat.
The presenter is working on a 385-ton-per-day hydrogen electrolyzer. There is a need for a lot of pure water to make this work.
Reverse osmosis desalination is main commercial system and new resin bed molecular sieves to get the billions of tons of pure water to feed large scale hydrogen electrolyzers.
SOURCES- Thorium Alliance, California ISO
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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