Driving and thinking

I have a 25 minute commute to work every morning, and am frequently asked if the drive bothers me. To tell you the truth, it really doesn’t unless the roads are bad because of winter.

I generally use the time to think about what I need to do at work that day. I plan my day, decide what to take care of first, prioritize the tasks I need to accomplish.

Well, most of the time that is what I try to do. Sometimes my mind just goes in other directions.

Take today, for instance. I’m pretty sure I solved the energy storage problem while driving from Avoca to Worthington. I don’t have all the details worked out, but I got a good jump on the situation.

You see, I was driving through the gale force winds of southwest Minnesota and thinking about how some of the wind turbines would have to be shut down because it is just too windy. From what I understand, electricity can’t be stored, so when enough is being made to satisfy demand, some of the turbines get shut down.

In layman’s terms, electricity can’t be stored like leftover soup or canned tomatoes. This seems to me to be a problem, because there are times when the draw is high, such as hot days when everyone is running air conditioning. So, while battling the wind on the way to work, I figured out how to store electricity.

Really big batteries.

I figure if a solar panel can be attached to the fish house to trickle down energy into a battery, why can’t electricity be stored in big batteries and accessed at other times?

Granted, I don’t know anything about how a battery works or why, I just know they are used to power my car, my camera, my mp3 player, etc. Since we can’t harvest electricity and store it in a big grain bin, why can’t we just have a big grain bin-shaped battery and plug it into the turbines? Fill up the battery, and when juice is needed, grab some from the full electricity bin.

All I need now are some smart designing people to build the big batteries, because I don’t know how.

I’m just the idea man. Or woman.

Ever wonder what I think about on the drive home? Supper and beer, mostly.

3 thoughts on “Driving and thinking

  1. I remember you writing about how your men wait around for you to make dinner even though they get home long before you. I think you should look into cooking dinner on your manifold. I’m sure it would be a project Eric would thrive upon. He could tinker and build something and the result would be hot food. What do you think?

  2. Arnold,
    I love the idea. It would require a little forethought, since I’d have to prepare something here at work and put it on the manifold before I left for home, but it would be worth it. Especially since we ended up eating supper at 7:30 p.m. last night.

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