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Power Storage Technology


One of the major obstacles to renewable solar and wind power replacing non-renewable combustion power generation is the problem of storage. Wind is not constant and solar is available only half the time. Without storage, they cannot completely replace the 24 hour availability and controllability of combustion generated "baseload" power which is easily adjusted to meet varying demand.
Here is a very good overview of current power storage technology and ideas.

Heat Storage
Concentrated Solar Thermal power generation uses existing steam turbine technology with the addition of technology to concentrate the sun's heat to provide the steam. This method has the potential to quickly and relatively inexpensively replace carbon combustion power. Thermal storage in the form of hot oil or molten salts will enable rapid deployment.

Compressed Air Storage
One storage method uses underground caverns and even large tanks to store air compressed by renewable power. Later, that compressed air can be used to drive turbines to regenerate electricity on demand.

Battery Storage
Another storage method uses batteries to store renewable power. Because the amount of electricity needing to be stored is so large, the batteries must be very large. One of the best candidate technologies is very similar to car batteries in that it uses metal plates immersed in electrolyte solutions.

Flow or Zinc Redox Batteries
Flow batteries are so named because the electrolyte solution is held in large tanks and pumped through the plates. The electricity stored is only limited by the tank size.