Green Energy - How Do You Store And Transport It?
Facilities for creating renewable energy may well be, by necessity, in remote regions. In the scenario where I possess a large thermal energy power generator situation in an extremely inaccessible location my options for the storage and transportation of the thermal energy I produced would very much depend upon the method used for the generation of thermal energy power.
Hydrogen or Methane Gas Production
Where thermal energy is generated via the use of fossil fuels it could be used to produce hydrogen gas. The use of fossil fuels for the industrial production of hydrogen gas is the most common method for generating hydrogen, which is not found naturally within the world. Difficulties faced with the creation of industrial hydrogen gas and the industrial production of other gases such as methane, would be the inaccessible location of my thermal energy power generator which could be in a desert situation. Building an industrial plant, hiring workers and transporting gas from my site would be just about impossible if the generator were truly inaccessible with no good road routes and no towns or villages close by to provide the workers needed on a regular basis. Also construction workers would possibly find it difficult to access the site for the purposes of building an industrial unit of this nature.
The issues regarding workers, transport, infrastructure and construction are valid for any type of industrial complex built at this relatively inaccessible site, which could potentially be situated in the desert. If the most serious aspects are taken out of any potential scenario, the following sections discuss issues regarding storage of energy created by thermal energy generation and transportation of the energy resources.
The best way to store the thermal energy produced by energy generation could be in hot water tanks, the most modern thermal insulation will line the tanks to ensure the maximum heat is retained and the large water tanks will be situated underground. Retaining and storing the hot water produced by energy generation serves two purposes. Firstly, the water can be used at points in the future for industrial purposes, such as the production of industrial hydrogen. Secondly the water can be used during colder periods of the year to heat water and building structures. Although it has been stated that the potential desert location of the thermal energy generator is inaccessible, this may not always be the case. An entrepreneurial attitude to take towards the generating site would be to construct housing and a large industrial complex in order to maximise to the full the source of energy production and create a lucrative business venture utilizing the energy that's produced.
Once apartments or housing structures are in place for worker homes, the hot water energy produced by the generator would be used on a consistent basis to supply water tanks and heating within the residential complex. When the industrial construction is complete, further water energy would supply the industrial unit(s). It would also be possible to incorporate the energy in the thermal energy storage (TES) devices researched by NASA, to provide electricity. There are a number of ways in which the thermal energy produced could be utilized at the site, just so long as adequate storage facilities are in place to ensure the energy is not wasted.
An alternative means of storing the thermal energy to TES is via chemical methods like adsorption. Research is currently in place to find the best means of storing thermal energy. At present thermal energy storage via adsorption involves use of lithium chloride, but some of the materials under investigation include bindeless zeolite, alumino phosphate and porous salt hydrates. The beauty of storing thermal energy in this manner is that transportation of chemicals created would be easier, and the thermal energy would be released by way of chemical reactions at the point of delivery.
The storage of hot water has been proved to work in a variety of locations, however, using the water successfully to power local homes might be an impossibility given the inaccessible location of the site. If there were a village or town close by, piping the water out to these sites would be one way to generate income from the hot water stores.
As discussed above, creating thermal energy storage by way of chemical reactions like adsorption would be one of the easiest means to utilize thermal energy at the point it is generated and then arrange regular transportation links to industrial outlets where the chemicals created would be used within the production process.
Once a successful method of utilizing the thermal energy generated at the power station is in place, it will be possible to increase production of thermal energies and maximise profits for this business venture.
The way in which I suggest the thermal energy is utilized is for hot water, power and heat to the generating station in order to create comfortable living and working environments for all employees, alongside the creation of a modern laboratory site with equipment essential for adsorption technologies. Once the methodology is perfected, the thermal energies generated at my power station would be utilized to meet demand for the chemicals created. Regular container links would need to be in place to ensure collections and onward delivery to customers.