How To Store Renewable Energy and What To Do with an Abandoned Coal Mine - Video

Storing Renewable Energy

Since renewable energy is achieving more ground lately, one of the issues that appears is storing it.

Fossil fuels themselves are a form of stored energy so the only thing we need to do is extract them. Once we have them, storing it's not a problem.

Green energy on the other hand is different and most of the time it isn't stored. It's delivered right into the grid for immediate consumption.

But if you want to build a true energy independent household (or city) you have to store your renewable energy. And how do you do that?

The answer is in the video below and it validates my speculation on storing solar energy as potential kinetic energy.

As usual, the Germans are leading the way.

What you need to store renewable energy
  • An old mine shaft (as deep as possible)
  • Two water tanks (one near the surface and one deep down into the mine)
  • A hydro turbine
  • A renewable energy power plant (solar farm or wind farm - or a combination of the two)
  • And a reason to do all this (like a small remote town or village that needs the energy)
Of course, this setup is not accessible for everyone. However, we should experiment and test it at micro level with a small array of solar panels and two smaller water tanks.

How it works
  1. During high wind or high solar radiation, the green energy plant powers a pump which pushes the water from the lower tank into the upper tank.
  2. When the wind stops or the sun sets, all the water in the higher tank can be dropped into the lower tank through a hydro turbine, generating electricity.
A nice bonus to all this is the underground placement of the whole thing (except the surface placed green power farm). This can make people accept it more easily since one of the complaints these developments get relate to their aesthetic impact on the landscape.

The point is, anything that can fall holds potential kinetic energy. And if that energy can be harnessed and transformed into electricity, then it's even better.

Water is the perfect carrier of potential kinetic energy since it can rotate the blades of a turbine as it falls. So the Germans are gonna use the pit for green energy - supposedly starting from 2019.

What about you?

Got an abandoned mine and don't know what to do with it?

Build a solar park above it and a hydro power plant inside the mine.

Coal was used for energy. Let's use former coal shafts for the same purpose.

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