free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 273. STORING ENERGY WITH ICE

Friday, March 31, 2006


Ice is an often overlooked way to store energy. Here's a neat idea that's been around a while:
The oldest form of energy storage involves harvesting ice from lakes and rivers, which was stored in well insulated warehouses and sold or used throughout the year for almost everything we use mechanical refrigeration for today, including preserving food, cooling drinks, and air conditioning. The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest is still air conditioned with ice harvested from Lake Balaton in the winter. Quite an impressive system, which I was able to visit last summer.Source
It makes you wonder about other possibilities. How about saving city ice and snow from the winter, and using it in the summer for air conditioning? Or towing bags of water up to higher latitudes to freeze, and towing them back again?

Of course, that's just brainstorming. In practice, ice energy storage is rapidly growing as a new way for homes, factories and commercial facilities to slash costs by shifting their cooling load to the night-time hours. In Japan, the technique is called "Eco Ice". In America, the "Ice Bear" from Ice Energy is one popular system (click to enlarge):
These systems can also reduce CO2 emissions and fossil fuel dependence in areas where nighttime base load is provided primarily by nuclear and hydroelectric.
-- by JD


At Friday, March 31, 2006 at 9:21:00 PM PST, Blogger Big Jay said...

This is a good, commonsense idea that really ought to be implemented on a much, much wider scale. I've heard it called 'ice banks' where ice is built using off peak power. This reduces the demand charge. For those readers who don't know what the demand charge is it is this. For large organizations, like a university, or an office tower, or any large building... the power bill is divided up into two sections. The first section is the total number of kilowatt hours used for the month. The second charge is the demand charge which basically takes the highest total number of watts being used at any one time during any 15 minute period during the month. There is a demand charge to basically pay for the utility's capacity. So if your peak demand for the month was 50,000 watts, your demand charge will be bigger than if your peak demand was 35,000 watts. By using the power during the night, or during off peak hours, to build ice you can pump the heat out of your buildings with less energy during peak hours. Of course this uses more net energy, but it costs the utility big money to build in the capacity to deliver larger amounts of electricity at any given moment it might be needed.

At Friday, March 31, 2006 at 11:05:00 PM PST, Blogger Rishabh said...

My guess is that people who aren't using the base load can just put it into the ice instead. They don't have to sacrifice daytime energy because they can use as much as they want.

At Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 12:08:00 AM PST, Blogger Fat Man said...

It is also one way to use wind and solar energy which are sporadic.


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