Superconducting magnetic energy storage, practical?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Storing energy in a system means to raise the internal energy of it. A system could be in superconducting phase because the latter has correspondingly lower internal energy. How can energy be stored in a phase that has the lower energy? When energy is injected into the system, it would leave superconducting phase.

Is there a dam-like mechanism between superconducting state and normal state? If yes, what is it?
 

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  • #2
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A system could be in superconducting phase because the latter has correspondingly lower internal energy.
The cooper pairs have a slightly lower energy than individual electrons, but you don't want to break them up in superconducting energy storages so this number does not matter.
The magnetic field around the superconductor (from the current flow) can store energy.
 
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The cooper pairs have a slightly lower energy than individual electrons, but you don't want to break them up in superconducting energy storages so this number does not matter.
The magnetic field around the superconductor (from the current flow) can store energy.
If an electron becomes a carrier, the corresponding increase of magnetic energy is associated with that electron's state so its total energy increases, and the electron possibly could release some of its energy to avoid that the energy of the electron system becomes too high. I just tried a model and it did include such a process.

BTW, many web pages of SMES have become dead links. Is there any evidenced SMES device?
 
  • #4
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If an electron becomes a carrier, the corresponding increase of magnetic energy is associated with that electron's state so its total energy increases, and the electron possibly could release some of its energy to avoid that the energy of the electron system becomes too high. I just tried a model and it did include such a process.
This is not true, as you can see from superconducting energy storages. The energy is in the field.
BTW, many web pages of SMES have become dead links. Is there any evidenced SMES device?
Every MRI system works as one, although a recovery of the energy is not done. The LHC magnets store a huge amount of energy (~10 GJ). Wikipedia has some non-dead links. They exist as commercial products.
 
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The question was "practical". The LHC has a capital cost of something like $2000000 per kWh, give or take a factor of 2. That ignores operating costs. The equivalent cost for a lithium-ion battery is $20. So, no, it's not practical, and costs will need to fall by something like 100,000 or more before it becomes so.
 
  • #6
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The topic has "practical", but the questions inside were purely about the possibility and if devices exist: yes they do. The LHC is not designed to be a cheap energy storage, obviously, as it is a particle collider.
 
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Fine - I'll spot you a factor of 100. Or even 1000. :)
 
  • #8
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The magnetic field stores energy and when the current decreases the energy is released as induced electric field, which does work on carrier electrons. OK for this. But the superconducting carrier electrons do not store energy.

The superconducting carrier electrons could be modeled such that they like water confined by a dam; or in another model, they could alternatively be modeled as water flowing in a trench. I have worked out a "trench" result. A dam scenario is that they are confined by a energy gap.
 

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