Compressed Air Energy Storage

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Compressed Air Energy Storage

Can Air be compressed? Yes.

Its astonishing that air can be compressed and that compressed air is used in many industries and technology.. A problem is faced by wind/Air power plants because it is very much depended on the weather conditions. Energy is not always needed just when the wind happens to be generating it. Conversely, the turbines may be sitting idle when electricity needs are high.

Lets see how excess energy is conserved:

In securing excess energy for later use involves compressed-air energy storage power plants (CAES).

Compressed Air Energy Storage:

At times when enough power is available, compressed air is injected into subterranean caverns or porous rock layers. The pressure of this storage facility can easily reach 100 bars. When the air escapes, it drives the generator via a turbine to produce electricity.Thus the air is compressed.

Cons of CAES:

Compressed-air energy storage is an already tried-and-tested technology, although it has one drawback:

The efficiency of existing CAES(Compressed-air energy storage ) plant technology worldwide, only two power plant projects have been realized is below 55% since the emerging compression heat goes unutilized today.

With wind energy expanding, storage power plants will gain in importance in future, so that many researchers are engaged in the further development of this technology.

Adiabatic compressed-air energy storage (CAES)

In an adiabatic CAES concept where heat is recovered which emerges during air compression has a very higher efficiency up to 70% will be achieved.

A-CAES process (Adiabatic – Compressed Air Energy Storage) which places heavy demands on certain system components nowadays are not available in the supplier industry’s portfolio. For this reason researchers have investigated the feasibility of this new type of power plant concept and have provided the basis for a further development program

Adiabatic compressed-air energy storage (CAES) for electricity supply:

Storing electricity safely, efficiently and in large amounts that is one of the greatest challenges for the power supply of the future.The idea behind Adiabatic CAES for the electricity supply is to compress air at times of high electricity availability, to place the resulting heat in an interim heat-storage device and to inject the air into subterranean caverns. When electricity demand rises, this compressed air can be used to generate power in a turbine while recovering the heat.

This adiabatic process, in which the heat of the compressed air is not lost, but remains in the process for use in power generation, differs from existing compressed-air storage facilities, above all when it comes to the much higher efficiencies (approx. 70%). Also, the heating process no longer uses natural gas. All these paves an advantage to make use of this kind of compressed air energy.

Pros of  A-CAES :

  • Capable of storing huge amounts of energy.
  • A-CAES capable of efficiencies nearly as good as PSH (around 70 percent) .
  • Fast response times .
  • Inexpensive way to store energy.

Cons of  A-CAES :

  • Requires sealed storage caverns 24 .
  • Economical only up to a day of storage (for AA-CAES) .
  • Competing against other storage needs (natural gas, hydrogen) .
  • Not yet fully developed

Other types of Air energy