Okay, so it's not as sexy as a wind turbine. But it could be just as useful Photo via Green Inc
Several power companies in Southern California and one in Colorado have recently signed a contract that will deploy rooftop devices that effectively store energy as ice. The units will use electricity to make ice at night when the energy demand is low--then using it to cool the buildings by day.The New York Times' Green Inc has the story:
The system effectively stores electricity made the night before, when generators are sitting idle, and then uses it to reduce electricity demand on hot afternoons, when the generating system is maxed out.The coalition has signed on for 53 megawatts worth of storage, and most of the devices will be deployed in LA. Officials say that the efficiency improvement over the course of 24 hours is an impressive 8%. Unfortunately, the unit isn't cheap. At $2,070 per kilowatt to install, it's far cheaper to simply put up a new coal plant. It's an exciting development--especially since a system that gives back as much electricity was put in is a rarity, and that ice energy storage is an undervalued solution:
As with ordinary air conditioning systems, the ice is produced using a compressor. However, because the ice is made at night, when air conditioning is in low demand, the electricity costs are comparatively low.
Indeed, because of losses to friction, heat or other inefficiencies, most power storage systems never give back as much electricity as was deposited in them. But this system actually reduces daytime demand by about 13 kilowatt-hours for every 12 kilowatt-hours deposited at night, the builders say.Ice energy storage is on the move.
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