Storing Sunshine

Storage tanksEnergy is a commodity that has different sources and values. We once only used gas and oil for our cars, and now have begun to move to alternative fuel sources such as electric and hydro-electric. The power we use for our homes is generated by water, electricity, solar, and nuclear energy. There is even wind energy as a viable source. But turning those sources into something that is usable and safe is not always an easy practice.

However EnerVault, a startup company that is using the sun to power a large battery out on an almond farm in Turlock California. There they have set up a large flow battery that is harnessing the energy of the sun and storing it for later use, such as watering the almond farm in the evening. While solar energy is a great way to use an energy source that is plentiful, there haven’t always been successful and safe ways of storing much of that energy for later use.

The flow battery that is set up on the farm consists of four large tan tanks. They don’t stand out in any way, other than to look like miniature tan grain silos. The battery consists of these tanks being filled with 95 percent water and flowing over the conductors. It’s like taking an ion battery and breaking down the components to do the job separately. The solar panels provide the energy, and they track the sun throughout the day, following it so no amount of energy gets lost.

Since California has been taking steps to help create new energy sources, EnerVault is taking a large step in providing something that we could all use, a cheaper, safer energy source that can be stored.

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