Some facts and implications
More practical Alternatives and Elaborations
If a little is good, then a lot...
Getting More Serious About Practical Problems
Mole's eye view
If it still don't work, I gets a bigger 'ammer
What's your tipple?
Illustrations of some possibly useful configurations
One’s mind tends to congeal around preconceptions (mine does anyway) so it was a long time before I seriously considered alternatives, and I tended to sneer at ideas concerning say, energy storage in the form of elevated heavy masses; they struck me as limiting and inelegantly mechanical, bulky and small of scale.
- not destroying or consuming resources such as land and water on a large scale;
- not causing pollution as fossils fuels and emptied dams do;
- not decaying in storage or in use as batteries do; and
- not seriously reducing the intensity or quality of the power they yield as they approach the end of their store of energy.
- I reckon it's working, so it aint broke, so don't fix it, and certainly don't even think of trying to improve it.
- If it really, really won't work then look for someone who can lend you a hammer, and explain to you which way round to hold it.
- If it still don't work, look for someone with a bigger hammer.
Pump a fluid, say water, into the tower and when it is full enough, we can withdraw energy by using it to drive our turbine or other hydrodynamic generator; just open its tap to drive the turbine, and close the tap or drive the turbine in reverse when we want to store more energy.
That is enough pressure to be efficiently useful, without being too high for realistic engineering. (I emphasise again that, being inspired by the example of the wall of Saint Donald Trump, I am working with convenient figures, not trying to preempt any professional's design.)
Then the slug — it need only fit to within a mm or two for a thoroughly manageable manufacturing job. But supply it with the equivalent of piston rings of suitable polymer all the way up, and the fit could be very tight and resilient. I suspect that for wear resistance and low friction self-lubrication, piston rings of ultra-high-molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) would last indefinitely. With piston rings of such materials, no gap, such as we have in the typical metal piston ring, should be necessary.
Such opportunities tend to be in short supply, so they should not be regarded as routine resources, but where they are available, and there in no foreseeable temptation say, to fill them with water as reservoirs or lakes, there also is no reason that they should not accommodate cheap, deep, and very large-scale gravitational energy-storage installations, both underground and above-ground, together with whatever facilities could be established beside or on top.
|This is a simple minded version in which the weight of the fluid and the lead combine to give a high output of energy per cylinder. It is however not very compact. Its pressure drops as it empties, but not unacceptably.|