Bath County Pumped Storage Station (Credit: CHA)

Grid-Level Energy Storage And The Challenge Of Storing Energy Efficiently

Although every electrical grid begins with the production of electricity, there are times when storing this power in some form instead of using it immediately is highly convenient. Today’s battery-powered gadgets are an obvious example of such time-shifting, but energy storage plays a major role on the grid itself, too, whether in electrochemical, mechanical or in some other form.

Utility-level energy storage is essential for not only stabilizing the grid, but also to time-shift excess energy and provide a way to deal with sudden spikes in demand (peak-shaving) plus demand drops by absorbing the excess energy. The health of the grid can essentially be regarded as a function of its alternating current (AC) frequency, with strong deviations potentially leading to a collapse of the grid.

Naturally, such energy storage is not free, and the benefits of adding it to the grid have to be considered against the expense, as well as potential alternatives. With the rapid increase of highly volatile electrical generators on the grid in the form of non-dispatchable variable renewable energy, e.g. wind turbines and PV solar, there has been a push to store more excess power rather than curtailing it, in addition to using energy storage for general grid health.

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Helping The War Effort With 3D Printed Tourniquets

It’s a sad statement on the modern world that even civilians are at risk for severe traumatic injuries in the course of going about their lives. And if something unthinkable happens to you or someone you love, here’s hoping both that the injury can be treated, and that someone is nearby who both knows what to do and is properly equipped to do it.

That’s the thinking behind these 3D printed tourniquets, an unfortunate but necessary response to the ongoing war in Ukraine. To get tourniquets into the hands of those trained to use them, [3DPrintingforUkraine] is working on plans for a printable version of the C-A-T, or combat application tourniquet, a lightweight but strong tourniquet that can be rapidly applied, even by victims themselves. The commercial device consists of molded nylon buckles and hook-and-loop fastener bands, along with a very sturdy plastic handle that serves as a windlass that provides the necessary occlusive force when twisted. The 3D printed version’s parts aren’t as streamlined as the commercial unit’s, but they appear to be strong enough to withstand the considerable forces involved. From the look of their site, STL files and instructions for assembly will be available soon.

To be clear, tourniquets should only be applied by someone properly trained to do so. But having ample tourniquets available where traumatic injuries to the extremities are likely to occur can only improve the odds that one will be available when it’s needed. So hats off to [3DPrintingforUkraine] for making the effort to push this forward.

[Austin Everman] sent us this tip. Thanks!

Build A TPM Module For Your Server

One of the big stories surrounding the announcement of Windows 11 was that it would require support for TPM 2.0, or Trusted Platform Module, to run. This takes the form of an on-board cryptographic processor, which Microsoft claims will help against malware, but which perhaps more importantly for Redmond, can be used to enforce DRM.  Part of the standard involves a hardware module, and [Zane] has built a couple of them for ASrock server motherboards.

The chip in question is the Infineon SLB9965, which with a bit of research was found to map more or less directly to the pins of the TPM socket on the motherboard. The interesting thing here lies in the background research it gives into TPMs, and furthermore the links to other resources dealing with the topic. The chances are that most readers needing a TPM will simply buy one, but all knowledge is useful when it comes to these things.

Our weekly security roundup has been keeping an eye on the use of TPMs for a while, and has even shown us some ways that people have used to bypass the modules.