Mildura renewable power plant built by RayGen to provide energy solutions

In the last 20 years we have solved the production of cheap renewable energy. RayGen’s argument is that we’re still bad at building renewable energy grid – aAnd that’s a problem they can solve.

Because renewable energy is generated in the middle of the day, when electricity consumption is highest in the early evening. And it’s usually made far from the city, forcing the aging grid to carry it thousands of miles.

John Lasich (left), Founder and Executive Director of RayGen, and William Mosley, Chief Commercial Officer.

John Lasich (left), Founder and Executive Director of RayGen, and William Mosley, Chief Commercial Officer.Recognition:Eddie Jim

“They sell electricity in the middle of the day when prices are garbage and the grid is congested,” said Will Mosley, RayGen’s chief commercial officer. “You can’t run a grid on green energy right now. We would see this happen globally if you could.”

The solution is storage; Generate electricity during the day, move and sell it at night. Many have advertised Tesla-style batteries, but RayGen is skeptical. “Batteries are too expensive,” Mosley said. “You can’t buy them now. The raw footage is a massive constraint.”

And they don’t last long enough: only four to six hours of charging.

RayGen’s solution is known as a thermal hydro battery. Hot water is stored in a tank. Another tank is cooled to zero degrees with solar power.

The hot water is passed through an Organic Rankine Cycle Turbine where it heats pressurized ammonia into steam and spins the turbine. The cold water then condenses the ammonia and the cycle begins again.

Inexpensive storage systems that hold electricity all day and can feed into the grid at night. “That’s roughly the equivalent of a large battery,” Mosley said. “But as you can see, it’s really just a dam filled with agricultural water.”

Will it work? The technology is solid, said Tony Wood, director of the Grattan Institute’s energy program. “The question is the economy.”

Solar panels are really cheap. RayGen’s more complicated system needs to produce a lot of electricity to be competitive.

The black rubber coating sits on top of a huge reservoir of water that is used to power the RayGen battery.

The black rubber coating sits on top of a huge reservoir of water that is used to power the RayGen battery.Recognition:Eddie Jim

If batteries get better and cheaper, RayGen’s business model could be disrupted. Experts disagree on whether that would happen. “Nobody really knows. There is massive innovation,” said Professor Bruce Mountain, Director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre. (RayGen claims its cost should also come down over time.)

But no one really knows what a green web will look like. It is possible that we need many different forms of storage for the energy to come online at different times of the day.

“As we get a system that contains more and more solar energy, the case for alternatives with slightly different properties that can balance the role of solar energy becomes stronger,” said Professor John Quiggin, senior economist at the University of Queensland.

The project is backed by fossil fuel giants including Schlumberger, Chevron and AGL, plus $15 million in taxpayer money from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

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“It’s two for one. They generate a lot of electricity and a lot of heat,” says John Lasich, founder of RayGen.
Recognition:Eddie Jim

Now the $30 million pilot plant is generating electricity they hope to roll out nationwide; A large-scale 3.6 GW project was announced in South Australia last year. When finished, it will be the largest energy storage power plant in the world, excluding pumped storage power plants.

“It’s fantastic technology, really interesting. Ultimately it comes down to how scalable it is and how much it costs,” said Grattan’s Wood. “But you have to try things. You have to try.”

Age traveled to RayGen’s Carwarp project as a company guest.

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https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-world-first-power-plant-aimed-at-solving-mildura-s-rhombus-of-regret-20220921-p5bjq3.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Mildura renewable power plant built by RayGen to provide energy solutions

Joel McCord

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