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battery vs dam height difference power storage

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Posted by peter E on July 24, 2005, 2:14 am

hi all,

can someone please comment of the costs/benefits of using two small
dams at differing heights to provide storage vs battery storage in
rural areas.

I would assert that when the system is sufficiently large then building
two dams becomes cheaper than building very large lead acid battery
storage systems. How much work is involved in building 2 dams each of
say 200 tonnes of water. A typical farm dam may already be in existance
and have a few thousand tonnes of water.

True energy would be lost in pumping uphill and downhill.

Ideally some micro controller would be required in order to link water
downflow rate to that of net electricity demand. Are there and existing
technology that can be bought off the shelf. I have seen the system
demonstrated at an alternative energy center in Wollongong, Australia.-

What is the cost of storage, battery for a typical household system?

N. Peter Evans

Posted by Anthony Matonak on July 24, 2005, 5:09 am

peter E wrote:

Batteries store a lot more energy per pound (or volume) than a typical
pumped storage dam and can be placed anywhere. Dams and hundreds of
thousands of tons of water aren't quite as easy to come by and aren't
anywhere near as portable or small. Batteries are also, if I recall
correctly, more efficient. Since most homepower situations only require,
at most, a few hundred kWh of storage, batteries seem the best option.


Posted by peter E on July 24, 2005, 6:50 am

yes I know where you are coming from,

my question is more in relation to developing countires where labour is

Building a couple of small dams say roughly 15m diameter, about 1m deep
and lining them with plastic and/or concrete is quite doable for a
village population. Spending say $5000 on batteries would be very
almost impossible. Rough figures of 2 billion people living on less
than $ a day?

If say electricity is generated by wind or PV, this can be used
directly. The excess can then be used to pump water uphill. Yes I know
there is loss of energy in pumping uphill and recovering downhill. I
guess I am more interested in energy per dollar than pure energy

As an academic exercise, say budget is $000. Could a few low tech wind
turbines be built, a couple of dams built and lined, a generator and
pump fitted or made from car alternators. Add a micro controller to
link downflow water rates to net energy needs. Is this doable in a
country with lots of people and space but few few hard dollars? What
would a PV - lead acid system cost? $0000?

I have read of 6' wind turbines built for $00, True he had a lot of
'junk' to canabalise from in the first place. Wind power in
intermittant. Are lots of low tech wind turbines and 2 dams more cost
effective in rural communities in the third world than PV cells and
batteries? I do not know the answer, just putting the question.

N. Peter Evans

Posted by Robert Morien on July 24, 2005, 7:09 am

Maybe a small generator, generate hydrogen with your surplus
electricity, use to power generator or directly.

Posted by Arnold Walker on July 24, 2005, 6:55 am

It might be added that some areas are alredy using storage ponds.You peak
during prime rate periods and pump during low rate periods,

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