Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Edge 124 – Blackout and The moral sense test

Posted by shannonclark on August 22, 2003

Edge 124

Two really interesting articles on one page. I probably need to read “Edge” more often, looks to be very much stuff that I like by authors I admire.

The Blackout conversation starts off with a piece by the author of Linked: The New Science of Networks which is a book I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.

As I read over his article I was struck by the following thought, he mentioned “electricity cannot be stored” as one of the reasons why the current power grid is so interconnected, with the risks so dramitically illustrated earlier this month. My thought and question is, “is this still the case? Or, with fuel cells and/or other technologies might electricity be stored?”

Probably there is no way of storing electricity without some loss other than perhaps superconducting coils (where the electricity can go around and around in circles without loss), but are there means of harnessing energy currently as electricity and converting it to stored energy of another form? One that could ideally be quickly and easily converted back to electricity when there was demand?

It would seem to me that there must be, but perhaps it is a question of scale – i.e. it would take a lot of very large “rechargable batteries” to store the output of a small power plant, let alone a large one.

Anyway, something for me to noodle on, may show up in a future novel if I think of something really cool.

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