Jul 21 2011

Improving the Shelf Life of Wind Energy

Published by under Student blog entries

Improving the shelf life of wind energy

     Since wind energy is a variable, it would be useful to have a way to store it for later use and even convert it into different uses, other than just electricity. Since Sea Launch is out of bankruptcy and planning launches again maybe they should consider wind energy. By using the excess electricity generated on very windy days, a space launch company could perform electrolysis on sea water and then liquefy the hydrogen and oxygen for later use as rocket fuel. Not to mention that an alternate use of the resulting energetic steam, from burning hydrogen and oxygen together, could drive a very large power plant in a very environmentally benign way. The additional production of chlorine gas would give the company a saleable product useful for industry. Furthermore, the extra energy could be used to manufacture syngas, either from a carbon bearing source material like straw or wood, or perhaps a way can be found to use atmospheric carbon dioxide as the carbon source for syngas. This particular material is useful in industry for many processes like making synthetic oil or fuel and plastic. Syngas can also be run directly in a gas turbine power generator to provide nearly instant electrical power at useful commercial levels.

http://www.sea-launch.com/images/cover-sealaunch.jpg   http://www.sea-launch.com/mission_xm/xm1_launch2.html

     By converting the variable power of a renewable energy like wind into a saleable, transportable and storable commodity, the utility of the source is increased. Furthermore, from an economic perspective the wind farm becomes a diverse project that can switch between multiple output commodities to follow the best price. The ability to follow market fluctuations and improve profitability should increase interest in and investment in wind energy.

http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/hydrogen_clean_fuels/hydrogen_rd.html    http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=19898

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