Sunday, September 17, 2006

Catch and release

I'm really excited about this new technology because it makes wind power an even more attractive, efficient source of energy. Although wind is the fastest growing energy source, an efficient method for storing the energy for high-peak demand times has alluded the industry.

That problem could be alleviated by Vancouver-based VRB Power Systems Inc., which has created the VRB Energy Storage System (VRB-ESS) that stores the wind power to be released at a later time. Although technologies do exist to store wind power, analysts see VRB-ESS as having wider industry appeal because it is a more flexible product. For example, the same technology could be used for a large utility-scale wind farm or a residential wind turbine.

The VRB-ESS is basically a rechargeable battery, with the difference being that VRB uses a metal called vanadium as its storage medium. The properties of vanadium allow the battery to be charged again and again, giving it a nearly indefinite life-span. VRB's Energy Storage System is already used in Japan, where it has proven to have evened out the energy gained from wind power and established a reliable, secure supply of clean power throughout the year.

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