[Chugalug] OT: Solar Panels

Stephen Kraus ub3ratl4sf00 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 14 19:29:36 UTC 2014

Ahhh bearing failures....
On Mar 14, 2014 12:47 PM, "Dan Lyke" <danlyke at flutterby.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 8:58 AM, Joe Freeman <joe at netbyjoe.com> wrote:
> > a little more than 10 years ago, we looked hard at putting three flywheel
> > generators in at the CenturyTel data center. The ones we looked at would
> > have been buried in the ground, but they were huge and took like a week
> to
> > spin up, but would have given us enough backup power to run the dc for
> > several days without running the NG or diesel gensets. I don't remember
> why
> > we didn't do it for sure, but it was probably cost.
> The thing about storing a lot of energy as kinetic energy is that
> you're sitting on a system that contains a lot of energy. We know how
> to handle fuels, chemical potential energy, we've got quite a bit of
> experience in dealing with that, but if you think about a gallon of
> gasoline as enough energy to propel two tons of steel twenty five
> miles, then you have to think about a flywheel with equivalent energy
> as capable of doing the same thing.
> There. In your basement. Just waiting for a bearing to go bad and go
> screaming through your foundation and bouncing off whatever other
> critical equipment you may be running in your basement.
> A few years ago I was thinking about energy storage technologies for
> Burning Man. Most people brought a car or even a big SUV, parked it
> for the week. What if we had a simple vehicle lift, use photovoltaics
> to lift that big weight into the air, let it down slowly and generate
> power from it at night.
> Call an SUV 2,000 kilograms. In earth gravity that's 19600 newtons,
> lifted two meters that's 39200 joules. Release that over an hour, you
> get whopping ten or eleven watts back out. So a hundred watts means
> you've got to be lifting that SUV 20 meters into the air, or lifting
> 10 SUVs over your head. Running a data center means you have to start
> lifting and lowering your building.
> Storing that as kinetic energy means that rather than lifting those
> SUVs up into the air, you're storing that in a way that's susceptible
> to bearing failure or materials flaws in your flywheel (as it breaks
> apart and throws chunks everywhere), and all of a sudden keeping large
> gasoline or diesel fuel stores on your roof for your genset seems a
> hell of a lot less scary.
> Dan
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