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Jacob Elledge PHY498

Alternative Energy Storage
The major obstacle to powering the earth with solar power is the energy storage required for the dark hours of the day. Some of the proposed ideas to solve this problem include: pump storage, fly wheels, electrolysis, and superconducting magnetic energy storage. The Phoenix Metro Area peaks at around 11GWH over the summer and has a normal base load of about 6GWH. To provide the energy needed, one can either use a large scale form of energy storage or make it so that each household is responsible for personal energy storage. Each form of energy storage has its own benefits and draw backs; some drawbacks being so extreme that they require the storage to be as far away from the public hand as possible. Potential energy has always been an invaluable way to store power, whether in the form of a rock on a hill during battle or a large quantity of water held behind generators. Pump storage works by pumping large quantities of water to a high elevation and then letting that water run back down the hill whenever the energy is needed. The equation to calculate the power output is: Where P is power in watts, η is the dimensionless efficiency of the turbine (95%), ρ is the density of water in kilograms per cubic meter (1,000KG/m3), Q is the flow in cubic meters per second (500 m3/s2), g is the acceleration due to gravity (9.82 m/s2), and h is the height difference between inlet and outlet. One of the major benefits of pump storage is that the turbine used is often over 90% efficient, meaning that there is very little energy lost through the direct energy conversion. The numbers listed above are numbers that will be used in the calculation for use in the Phoenix Valley. With a height of 1,100 meters Payson, AZ, we receive an output of 5.1GW, which suite the need for the peak hours. We need 10 hours to cover the peak which results in a storage of 18 million m3 of water. This would require drilling down 1,100 meters and a massive pipe that has a flow rate of 500 m3/s2, which is all somewhat feasible as a solution to the problem of energy storage for the valley. Another form of energy storage is the flywheel. A flywheel is where a symmetrical object is spun at a high RPM. This is best done in an vacuum chamber to reduce any type of resistance. The energy is then drawn from the spinning device with a generator whenever it is needed. One of the benefits to fly wheels is that there is

Jacob Elledge PHY498 very little energy lost over time due to the lack of resistance and high speed. The formula for calculating the energy in a fly wheel is:

ω is the angular velocity, m is mass, and r is the radius. There are different methods for calculating the energy, but for this example we will use the above method. The average household uses 1,000 Kwh per month, with is 33 Kwh per day. With the assumption from the graph for night time energy use we would need around 15Kwh over 12 hours. With a velocity of 6,000 RPM, a mass of 25kg and a radius of .5 meters we get out 15Kwh of electricity. This is a size that is reasonable to have in the basement of a household for daily solar power storage. Another benefit is that any unused power during the day can go directly into increasing the RPM and power available during the evening. Some claim the flywheel to be dangerous, but in a vacuum container the flywheel becomes much less of a threat to the occupants of the house. The third proposal for energy storage is electrolysis. The process of electrolysis separates the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water. 286 kJ are needed for every mole (18 g) of water assuming 100% efficiency (16mJ per kg). The heat of vaporization of H2 is 0.904 kJ·mol-1(1.0794g). The density of H2 is 67.80 kg/m³ and the heat from burning 1m³ is 63 mJ = .0175MW. Through these numbers we find that the Phoenix Valley would need to generate 1,142,857 m³ of H2 every day. This is not a very viable option because hydrogen is very difficult to store due to its danger of combustion and its corrosive traits. Even though it would work on a house by house basis (theoretically) it would be far too dangerous to do successfully.

Jacob Elledge PHY498

The final option that will be considered is the use of Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage which is abbreviated to SMES. The greatest benefit of SMES is that it is almost 100% efficient for the energy in and out. When considering efficiency, SMES is a clear winner, but the amount of energy required to run the SMES is much higher. The “high” temperature SMES still require a temperature of 77 degrees Kelvin, which requires a large amount of energy to sustain. The exact numbers are very hard to find and the assumptions in maintaining a low temperature are too large to obtain an accurate rating, but it is important that this form of energy storage is still considered. In conclusion there is no definitive “winner” in the search for alternative energy storage needs. The best solution is dependent upon the circumstances that are presented for each city. In a society where all safety rules are followed and salt water is readily available, electrolysis is a pretty strong winner. Unfortunately the risk of fire is too great when in the hands of the general public. Pump storage is also a viable option, but it requires a very large investment and could be hard to convince people on (which is a problem that faces nuclear power as well). SMES is a pretty amazing technology, but it does not appear to be cost effective any time soon. This leaves one final option to consider, which also happens to be the best option for personal energy storage. Flywheels are small and compact enough to work well in a common household and if well-constructed are also relatively safe. If we consider a bit of speculation as a viable downside, it may be seen as strange to the general public to put energy into a spinning wheel only to be taking it out a few hours later. This doubt can be solved by showing the home owner that they will be energy independent, but it remains an obstacle none the less.

Jacob Elledge PHY498

Should I go to Wal-Mart or Just Order it on Amazon?
A question that has forever plagued the consumerist population which is the modern United States, is whether it is better to go to the store and purchase a product or to simply order the product online and wait. If it wasn’t for the delay in shipping it would be assumed that most people would just order a product online. With that being said, the fastest and best shipping from Amazon.com is still a 2-day wait. Without considering the price difference in the products, one of the best ways to decide is to consider the embodied energy in the process of buying and having a product in hand. The factors that are most important to consider in this process include the gasoline used by both a personal vehicle and UPS shipment and the energy required the power and maintain a retail store and a warehouse. Before we can look at the stores themselves, one must compare the efficiency of a car with that of UPS. The average vehicle in the United States runs at 20mpg while the average UPS truck receives 9mpg. The difference is considerable, but not to an extreme level. The main consideration is the distance that is traveled during the purchasing or delivering of a good. The average distance to a Wal-Mart for every house in America is 6.3 miles. The number of deliveries per day for a UPS truck is between 130 and150 deliveries. Most people who drive on the road use either their common knowledge of the road or a simple GPS. UPS uses a sophisticated mapping system by the name of Telematics, which is efficient to the point that it avoids left turns if it will decrease travel time. UPS is also slowly phasing in the “plastic truck” which is proposed to improve MPG by 40%. Though it is hard to figure out a clean “winner” for which transportation is more efficient, it is clear that even with the shortest average distance between store and consumer, Wal-Mart has tough competition with Amazon. It is difficult to compare companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon because the revenue difference is almost one order of magnitude with the revenues being $446.950 billion and $48.07 billion respectively. This difference is vital when considering the energy used in storage and distribution. The average warehouse uses 7.6Kwh of electricity and 6.125Kwh in heating (gas) per sq. ft./year. The average retail store uses 14Kwh of electricity and 5.86Kwh in heating (gas) per sq. ft./year.

Jacob Elledge PHY498 Wal-Mart owns: 629 Discount Store at 102,000sq/ft each 3,029 Super Centers at 197,000sq/ft each 199 Wal-Mart Markets at 42,000sq/ft each Amazon owns: 31 Warehouses at 615,000sq/ft each This totals out to 13,290Gwh for Wal-Mart per year and Amazon uses 261Gwh per year. Factoring in the difference in revenue Wal-Mart is still using 1,420Gwh per year. This means that Amazon uses close to 1/6th of the power that Amazon uses. This difference is largely due to the difference in store performance. As warehouses, Amazon’s locations are open 24/7 and are constantly working while Wal-Mart is closed down for at least 8 hours each day. Amazon also has only employees, so the temperature can be higher or lower and the lighting demands are not as high. The overall efficiency of Amazon greatly outweighs that of Wal-Mart. With the difference in transportation being negligible, the main difference between the two retailers is the efficiency of their customer interactions. Because Amazon has no face to face interactions they can reduce their energy use substantially and come out ahead for efficiency. It has been forecasted that online retail will soon beat out in person shopping and as Amazon builds a warehouse in every state this seems to be a viable outcome. In person retail will probably never be replaced when it comes to perishable items, but for all other goods this appears to be the trend. The efficiency gained by removing customer interaction and well planned navigation is invaluable and when combined with a free market economy the prices display this overall improvement.

Jacob Elledge PHY498 Bibliography "Amazon.com, Inc.: NASDAQ:AMZN Quotes & News - Google Finance." Amazon.com, Inc.: NASDAQ:AMZN Quotes & News - Google Finance. N.p., n.d. Dunn, D. J. "Solid Mechanics." N.p., n.d. Web. "Managing Energy Costs in Warehouses." E Source Advisor. N.p., 2011. "Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES)." Home Page. N.p., n.d. "Wal-Mart Annual Report." Wal-Mart Inc. N.p., 2010. Web. "Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: NYSE:WMT Quotes & News - Google Finance." Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: NYSE:WMT Quotes & News - Google Finance. N.p., n.d.