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passive electrical storage using SC

[Post below was originally written as part of an email sent on 6/16/2008]


Ever wonder why the power grid always seems to go down in times of heavy use? It has to do with the requirement of power distribution that the power is generated and used on demand. We still (after almost 150 years of using electricity in a municipal capacity) have no efficient way to store generated electricity. This is not the same as a chemical battery which generates on load. Yes, we have capacitors and inductors but those store electricity either as charge or current respectively and both are amazingly complex devices for large potentials and currents, plus both can only store electricity for a limited time in a passive configuration (meaning disconnected from a circuit). They also have ratings beyond which excessive charge or current will destroy the device and thus propagate spikes through out the system potentially throwing those out (which is how black out cascades could take out entire sections of the United States) The answer to all our power storage and spike issues under load would be room temperature or lower superconductivity. Superconductors do something to electricity that is amazing, all the electrons essentially dance to the same tune, this harmony makes them behave like one giant quantum object. In such a state we could store arbitrary amounts of current in a superconducting battery without any efficiency loss or heat gain and then offload current as we need , this would allow us to decouple power generation from power utilization. Imagine being able to store all the current we need for the summer and then turn off the generators (many still using fossil fuels to get the energy needed to make the electricity) this is just one revolution that such technology would usher in. Imagine a superconducting battery the size of a regular 9 volt, that is filled with current from a power station with a years worth of current for powering your home that you can take home in your pocket. Unfortunately the number of researchers doing work on room temperature SC is limited to a handful of people across the world with minimal funding...it is a darned shame that this potential is not being minded by our government as a potential gold, no platinum mine. As I said elsewhere, we need to focus like a laser on these technologies that can change the game entirely if we put enough effort into it...I mean we built the atomic and nuclear bombs for cryin' out loud ON DEMAND, it took gathering the best minds in the world at the time to one place but they did it in little more than 4 years...we need to do something similar today to attack these problems.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMES

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