Smart grid transmission: How "twins" could double our benefits
Editor's note: Paul Michael Grant, Ph.D., is an esteemed researcher and electric power veteran. He has long promoted the idea of using electric power transmission corridors for dual purposes, namely the delivery of electric power AND liquid hydrogen. When he got in touch to say that the shale gas explosion was making this scenario even more plausible, I asked him to share his viewpoints with you. If you disagree with him, the Comment form awaits. If you agree, you should consider his suggestion to petition for a pilot. -- Jesse Berst
By Paul Michael Grant
"Double your pleasure, double your fun," went the old advertising jingle for Doublemint gum.
How does double your return on investment sound?
We all know families containing â€œdoublesâ€â€¦ fraternal twin siblings -- the daughters of George and Laura Bush, for example. Each of the two can differ markedly from the other in looks, personalities and gender. Yet together they can form the vital core of the family.
The energy world badly needs fraternal twins to double the benefits we get from our energy thoroughfares. I submit as candidates chemical and electric power co-delivered over a common right of way (ROW). In a 2006 article published in Scientific American, Chauncey Starr (founder of EPRI) and I proposed a model â€œSuperGridâ€ conveying such power over a â€œSuperCableâ€ of high temperature superconductors cooled by liquid hydrogen, the latter to be oxidized as chemical power at point of delivery. The vision proposed that both â€œelectrons and protonsâ€ would be electromagnetically and electrolytically generated via nuclear power at the â€œfront endâ€ of the SuperCable. But the key concept, the â€œtwinningâ€ if you will, is the use of a common right of way for co-transmission.
Now a great â€œteenageâ€ job opportunity for the twins is emerging. We have now learned the North American continent is awash in â€œclean-greenâ€ fossil fuels. This â€œshale gasâ€ is retrievable via hydraulic fracturing (â€œfrackingâ€) and horizontal drilling, and subsequently delivered over a pipeline from wellhead to your neighborhood utility.