Hello again everyone!
Recently, researchers with the National Renewable Energy Research Labs, a department of the DoE in the USA, published a paper entitled “Optimal strategies for a cost-effective and reliable 100% renewable electricty grid“.
It’s interesting and relevant because it is based on extending the smart energy system to the US, even if the fundamental principles have been widely promoted in academic arenas since the 1980’s.
Some of the skepticism surrounding our claims, especially the claim to unlimited range and houseload energy production, is grounded in the false assumption that a smart energy system must “store” as much energy as is found in a tank of fuel. Our Blog on Energy Management addresses the smart energy system but the aforementioned publication shows how slowly the establishment comes around to these nuanced and complex understandings regarding the challenge of moving to 100% renewable.
While their paper considers a grid scale, the concept is directly applicable to our project because at all times the ‘grid’ must be able to absorb all the energy it requires and distribute it at a fixed voltage and frequency to the end user. It is the same requirement for a closed loop system, like the one aboard Whio II, just 7 orders of magnitude smaller.
After reading the paper in detail, it becomes clear that their approach is very similar to ours. Providing managed storage, highly efficient use (electric has about 75% less losses per NM travelled), biddable loads, alternative storage mediums (hot water, or desalinated water), and a large capacity for oversupply (in supercharging mode, 50kW) means an effective and balanced combination is achieved.
“Why isn’t it being done if it is so well understood?” We hear you ask.
Herein lies the key ingredient to our closed loop system. To achieve a smart energy system in a grid requires tens of thousands of individual actors, companies, and institutions to work together, while I as the operator of Whio II, have the ability to control everything. From propulsion to generation, supply and demand, safety and comfort; everything can be balanced from the helm.
In Whio II’s case, everything is calculated with well-defined error margins. With this overview we can easily model energy flows and show conclusively that there are plenty of resources to allow you to get from A to B safely and comfortably.
There is still a lot to prove for CMG. Unfortunately there are commerical speed-bumps that hinder us talking more freely about some of the techinical aspects. However, I hope that this paper and the article that lead me to it helps everyone in understanding our methodology is sound and a simple reapplication of well-understood systems in a more controllable and much smaller scale. We really hope that this approach is going to play a major role in the electrification of the marine industry!
We’re all looking forward to building and kickstarting the revolution towards 100% zero-emissions!