Many of the most hard-core environmentalists may point out that the lithium-ion battery technology is far from perfect. Battery chemistry has largely been a mystery to the average consumer, but it matters. Many scandals have unfolded regarding battery manufacture that involve rare earth metals, which are often mined in terrible conditions by poorly paid labor. While measures are taken to change battery chemistry to be comprised of more readily available materials, many remain unconvinced, and don’t consider the current state of battery technology to be as environmentally friendly as advertised. Lickily, there are alternatives.
Flywheel energy storage
Few people know what it is despite it being among the oldest methods of storing energy. Flywheel technology is basically a way of storing energy in physics. Often called the mechanical battery, a flywheel storage system can be an elegant solution to solar-powered event problems. The principle is simple, and common among most variations of the technology – a disk or cylinder is spinning around a magnetic axis that holds it suspended in the magnetic field. The disk is contained in a vacuum chamber to reduce resistance and is made out of a material that has high mass and tensile strength to contain as much energy as possible while withstanding the enormous centrifugal forces. The mechanical battery is charged and discharged via the same magnetic array. When charging, it works as an electric motor adding rotational speed to the disk or cylinder. When discharging, it uses the kinetic energy of the spinning disk to generate electricity. The advantage of this kind of energy storage solution for festivals is huge. First, it is a much more durable battery than any chemical battery available today, as it doesn’t degrade over time. It will store as much energy in 10 years as it does today. Second, it’s range of discharge is anything that you may need. It can fully discharge in ten hours or in ten minutes, and respond to demand fluctuation in a second. Like chemical batteries, these also come in containerised form ready for shipping. These are more resilient to weather conditions, and you don’t need to worry about drain or degradation when storing them. Thus, they represent a solid investment that won’t lose value too quickly over time.
Solar Power To Synthetic Methane
This one is a little more outside the box. Lets say your festival is in a location where solar isn’t viable, but you still want to be sustainable. No point in bringing batteries, chemical or mechanical, because there is no solar to charge from? Use synthetic methane produced from solar and wind. Synthetic methane is a fuel that can be used in CNG-fueled generators, but which is completely carbon neutral. The electricity generated by wind and solar is put through water in a process of electrolysis. This splits the water atom into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then fused with carbon dioxide harvested from the atmosphere and voila – you have synthetic methane which is identical in chemical composition to natural gas. The downside is that it’s hard to come by, but not impossible if you’re willing to put in the effort.