Natural energy storage

It’s good to be reminded every now and then how plants do energy storage over long time periods much more effectively than we ever can with batteries. The process is less efficient but the lengthy time shifting is invaluable from summer to winter, say.

A Lapland farmer, for example, is growing enough rapeseed oil in the perpetual summer daylight to provide power for his machinery all year around and he can still export a surplus. “People are shocked when I tell them I grow rapeseed and mustard but because of our geographical position we have an extra growing month. In the summer the 24/7 light means that the rapeseed shoots up by 2cm a day.

But there’s no mention of solar panels because they, coupled with battery storage, wouldn’t make any sense when you have 6 months of daylight and 6 months of night. But 12,000 litres of rapeseed oil grown and harvested in the summer sunshine can store 100MWh of  energy for operating his machinery throughout the entire year.


About Alison Kidd

Research Psychologist
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