Storing Energy, Changing Processes or Both?

An important barrier to the use of non fossil fuel energy is that it cannot provide baseload. The solution is considered to be in storage technologies but could it also be in changing industrial processes to use energy when is is available (and therefore cheap) rather than all the time. In this way supply from intermittent non fossil fuel energy can more easily be match to demand and the provision of base load curtailed.

Consider the diagram below:

Energy Demand and Supply Options

The extent to which energy or energy capacity is not wasted depends amongst other things on the mix of power generation capacity. If ample hydro for example is available that can be adjusted relatively quickly to demand then there is little wastage. On the other hand nuclear or coal generation capacity cannot quickly be adjusted and much is therefore wasted or blackouts occur.

Desirable as it may be to reduce the proportion of non fossil fuel energy in the grid the problem of supplying energy with alternatives such as wind or solar remains that of continuity because the wind varies as does the amount of sunlight.

The perceived solution is to increase storage however options are technically limited. The alternative which is not considered is to change processes that can be easily changed so they can use excess wind or solar energy at times when it is available. Either way there is not doubt that energy that would otherwise be wasted will be cheaper.

Some examples:

The TecEco Tec-Kiln is designed to use energy when it is available. (See

A small business making washers etc could turn the washer press off and pack washers or do something else during peak demand/higher price periods.

Goods trains using electicity could run only at night when it is cheaper.

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