Editorial Comment ///

A key enabler. The world seems preoccupied with future energy sources, rightfully so. But the ability to store and transport energy is easily as important, sometimes more so, than the energy itself. Car engines are inefficient, because they must throttle up and down. If they operated under a constant load, their efficiency would soar. That's also true of electricity generation. The problem with electricity is the difference between peak and base demand. At peak demand, much less efficient means to generate power are used. If a way could be found to store electricity efficiently, the world energy picture would change. There are three or so main ways that electricity is stored. Pumped-storage hydroelectric involves using electricity to pump water uphill to a reservoir, typically at night. During peak demand, the water is flowed downhill through a turbine to generate electricity. Usually, the pump and turbine are the same unit, only run in reverse.

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