[FoRK] Open Question: Earth vs. ______?

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Mon Jul 2 18:54:03 PDT 2007

Another step...


> Source: American Physical Society
> Date: July 2, 2007
> More on:
> Energy Technology, Petroleum, Electricity, Physics, Nuclear Energy, 
> Solar Energy
> High-performance Energy Storage
> Science Daily — North Carolina State University physicists have 
> recently deduced a way to improve high-energy-density capacitors so 
> that they can store up to seven times as much energy per unit volume 
> than the common capacitor. High performance capacitors would enable 
> hybrid and electric cars with much greater acceleration, better and 
> faster steering of rockets and spacecraft, better regeneration of 
> electricity when using brakes in electric cars, and improved lasers, 
> among many other electrical applications.
> A capacitor is an energy storage device. Electrical energy is stored 
> by a difference in charge between two metal surfaces. Unlike a 
> battery, capacitors are designed to release their energy very quickly. 
> They are used in electric power systems, hybrid cars, and all kinds of 
> electronics.
> The amount of energy that a capacitor can store depends on the 
> insulating material in between the metal surfaces, called a 
> dielectric. A polymer called PVDF has interested physicists as a 
> possible high-performance dielectric. It exists in two forms, 
> polarized or unpolarized. In either case, its structure is mostly 
> frozen-in and changes only slightly when a capacitor is charged up. 
> Mixing a second polymer called CTFE with PVDF results in a material 
> with regions that can change their structure, enabling it to store and 
> release unprecedented amounts of energy.
> The team, led by Vivek Ranjan, concluded that a more ordered 
> arrangement of the material inside the capacitor could further 
> increase the energy storage of new high-performance capacitors, which 
> already store energy four times more densely than capacitors used in 
> industry. Their predictions of higher energy density capacitors are 
> encouraging, but have yet to be experimentally tested.
> Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by 
> American Physical Society.

Aaron Burt wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 11:03:25PM -0400, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> ...
>> Storing energy isn't as much of a pain as generating it, although it is 
>> not a completely solved problem either.
> I beg to differ.  Storage is a bear.  If it were as easy as generation,
> BPA wouldn't have the problems they do with wind plants here in the PNW.
> (Plant output ramps UP, BPA tries to find somewhere to dump it before
> the control area goes unstable and the lines overheat, plant output goes
> DOWN, BPA struggles to find some power so voltage doesn't sag.  Did I
> mention that the wind plants are private ventures who know that BPA has
> to pay them for every watt, and they don't want to provide any sort of
> warning because it'd cost money and isn't required by the regs?)

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