GE Global Research is exploring renewable energy system

GE Global Research is exploring renewable energy system
Credit: GE

Tables are turned on declaring CO2 as one of the key enemies of mankind and the future, at least in one initiative. Scientists there have come up with a twist. While CO2 emissions are notorious contributors to climate change, thinkers working in the realm of renewable energy are seeing CO2 not as either-or clean energy sources, but as an and-and.

They are exploring how a CO2-powered "sunrotor" can be used for clean electricity. In their plan, CO2 can actually be used to help us, not block us, to move from and toward .

At GE Global Research, a team is out to demonstrate if we can actually use excess carbon dioxide produced by power plants to store extra solar power and deliver it back to the grid for later use.

Mark Egan wrote about the undertaking in GE Reports. Stephen Sanborn, senior engineer and principal investigator at GE Global Research (GRC), said, "We need to make renewable energy available to the grid when it is needed." That means finding an optimal way of . Sanborn and team's design involves storing some of the heat generated by thermal in carbon dioxide.

International Business Times pointed out that the CO2, in the GE concept is used like a battery to quickly release energy when required.

Egan wrote how this involves which concentrate solar rays with vast fields of mirrors; they use the heat to generate steam that spins a turbine; the works like a battery that can quickly release energy during peak demand.

Egan went into further detail about their work, which has two main parts. The first collects heat energy from the sun and stores it in a liquid of molten salt. "This is the hot side of the solution," Sanborn said. The other component uses surplus electricity from the grid to cool a pool of liquid CO2 so that it becomes dry ice.

"During power generation, the salt releases the heat to expand the cold CO2 into a supercritical fluid, a state of matter where it no longer has specific liquid and gas phases. It allows engineers to make the system more efficient. The supercritical fluid will flow into an innovative CO2 turbine called the sunrotor, which is based on a GE steam turbine design."

The turbine is small enough to fit on an office shelf, and yet it can generate as much as 100 megawatts of fast electricity per installed unit. That, said Egan, would be enough to power 100,000 U.S. homes.

GE is looking at a bigger picture, where the design could undergo a large-scale deployment—a system to reduce the use of fossil fuels for power generation—storing significant amounts of power and delivering it to the grid when needed.

Egan said that Sanborn's goal is "to bring the cost to $100 per megawatt-hour, way down from the $250 it costs to produce the same amount in a gas-fired power plant."

BGR News Editor, Brad Reed: "It's going to take some time for this technology to come to market, however—GE is building a conceptual design of the turbine system right now." Steve Dent in Engadget said, "Looking ahead, Sanborn thinks that the energy storage system could be put into commercial use in as little as five to 10 years."

Carbon captured by coal plants would drive turbines that deliver at night, said Engadget. Scientists could use CO2 as a giant "battery" to hold excess energy.


Explore further

'Underground battery' could store energy, CO2

More information: www.gereports.com/this-scienti … e-clean-electricity/

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Mar 11, 2016
"100 megawatts of fast electricity per installed unit. That, said Egan, would be enough to power 100,000 U.S. homes. "


Wrong. The average power consumption of a home in the US is approximately 2 kW, not 1 kW. This includes heating and cooking.
https://en.wikipe...sumption

"goal is "to bring the cost to $100 per megawatt-hour, way down from the $250 it costs to produce the same amount in a gas-fired power plant.""


Again wrong. https://en.wikipe...d_States
Different estimates place the cost of a gas-fired powerplant between $140-$50/MWh

Again, an article that spreads false information about the state of energy technology and consumption, distorting the figures in favor of solar power to make it seem more impressive.

Mar 11, 2016
Furthermore, the habit of comparing the power output to a number of households is entirely misleading:

A household may use 2 kW on average, but the average American living in the household consumes 12 kW through work, travel and consumption of goods and services, so they are actually talking about an insignificant portion of the actual energy demand and pretending that it's something big.

https://en.wikipe..._society

Given the 12 kW figure, 100 MW is actually only enough power to support 8,000 people living the average American living standard.

Mar 11, 2016
"A household may use 2 kW on average, but the average American living in the household consumes 12 kW through work, travel and consumption of goods and services, ..." -Eikka

The research applies to an average household, but you're conflating it with "travel" and the costs of producing "goods and services"? I think that's intellectually dishonest, Eikka.

Mar 11, 2016
CO2? Warming?

NOAA Radiosonde Data Shows No Warming For 58 Years

http://realclimat...8-years/

Call me when dairy farms have existed in Greenland for 400, or more, years.
Call me when Greenland harvests its first wheat crop since circa C.E. 1200.
Call me when you find 1000 year old grape vines, producing grapes for wine, in Scotland.

Mar 11, 2016
@Eikka, just to clarify, there's quite a difference between generation and distribution of energy on the domestic side versus the industrial side. And transportation is a long way from all-electric. Each area is worthy of its own article and relevant set of solutions.

The idea for storing solar energy using salt is over a decade old; it's a good idea, and it's good to see some real muscle behind developing and adding it to humanity's arsenal of smarter energy for posterity.

Mar 12, 2016
Not so fast, GE Global Researc-- if their process is capable of developing the same or better energy density, it would apper as though these guys have you beaten before you even get out of the gate:

http://phys.org/n...sun.html

So much for dry ice.

Mar 13, 2016
This a lot of work to produce electricity. It will be expensive. And even if it works as a way of storing power, is it the best way? A nuclear reactor is a lot simpler and more straight forward. Nuclear power is a proven technology used to provide 80% of French electricity. Not speculative or hypothetical.


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