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The Soft Grid

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: The Soft Grid Reply with quote

The Soft Grid

But a new mix of technologies is arriving on the scene, a mix which will converge to create a new “soft grid,” relating to the “smart grid” the way a bungee cord relates to a chain.

The “soft grid” will generate energy as hydrogen gas rather than high voltage alternating current and transmit it underground in pipelines, converting it to electric power at (or close to) the point of power consumption.


That’s the solution; here’s the problem: the world is near enough to running out of copper that it’s being ripped-off everything from electric railways to church downspouts. What this means is that within a decade or so there are likely to be two power grids, interconnected and complementary. “Smart grid” distribution of electric power will continue to evolve throughout the century, making electric power consumption Greener, more affordable and more reliable.In addition, a parallel “soft grid” composed of pipelines, hydrogen gas and fuel cells will evolve alongside it--eventually a much cheaper way to transport energy. Long before the end of the 21st century, steel pylons (towers) and the high-tension lines they lift out of our reach will begin to disappear, partly for aesthetic reasons but mostly because they will have become much more expensive than deploying hydrogen pipelines underground.Because hydrogen is compressible, the “soft grid” will be inherently able to store energy and release it without requiring nearly as much “smart” control as the electric grid.
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