We have been learning so much reading all about compressed air energy storage online at Energystorage.org. We sampled some of our favorite questions and answers from their FAQ page.

Read more online at http://energystorage.org/energy-storage/faq.

Why do we need energy storage?

The primary benefits are:

Risk of Power Outages:  Today’s electricity grid is increasingly vulnerable to threats from nature, terrorists, and accidents.  Millions of American families and businesses are victimized by outages (both sustained and monentary) each year.  Power outages cost as much as $130 billion annually, while hitting the job-creating commercial and industrial sectors the hardest.

Saving Consumers Money:  Sixty million Americans in thirteen states plus Washington, DC are saving money because energy storage systems are providing frequency regulation in PJM territory (the power transmission operator in the mid-Atlantic region).  PJM has projected that a 10-20% reduction in its frequency regulation capacity procurement could result in $25 million to $50 million savings to consumers.  Energy storage can also let customers avoid premium pricing that utilities charge during times of peak demand.  That’s like getting a cheap airline flight on Thanksgiving or a rush-hour subway pass at an off-peakprice.

Clean Energy Integration and Energy Independence: Energy storage supports the integration of renewable energy generation.  Energy storage can also help cut emissions as it takes more of the load off fossil-fuel generation.  Peaking generation is one of the most costly and wasteful aspects of the grid, so making existing generation go further and avoiding capital and resource-intensive new facilities would make a significant contribution to our environmental priorities.  By supporting an all-of-the-above energy strategy, storage will also help accelerate our drive to energy independence.

Economy and Jobs: In addition to reducing economic losses from major and minor annual outages, experts say that energy storage will be a critical technology in the electricity grids of the future.  They also predict that the long term-health of the U.S. economy, and tens of thousands of future U.S. jobs, depend in no small part on the ability of U.S. companies to at least remain competitive, if not to become leaders, in this critical technology.

Compressors use off-peak electricity to fill the cavern with compressed air. For peak demand, the compressed air is withdrawn from the cavern and used to power a wind turbine. Credit: Ridge Energy Storage & Grid Services LP Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2010-03-compressed-air-energy-storage-renewable.html#jCp

Compressors use off-peak electricity to fill the cavern with compressed air. For peak demand, the compressed air is withdrawn from the cavern and used to power a wind turbine. Credit: Ridge Energy Storage & Grid Services LP
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2010-03-compressed-air-energy-storage-renewable.html#jCp

Is energy storage clean?

Yes. Energy storage has no direct emissions. It requires no pipelines. Its systems typically require a minimal footprint.  It recycles electricity.  But energy storage will also help cut emissions as it takes more of the load off traditional generation.

How big is the energy storage market?

Energy storage systems currently make up approximately 2% of U.S. generation capacity.  That percentage is growing significantly, especially with the advent of more renewable energy.  Pumped hydroelectric power has played an important part of our electricity grid since the 1930s.  Yet today, electricity from wind, solar and other ‘intermittant’ sources have created urgent needs for additional energy storage.
World-wide demand for grid-scale energy storage is estimated to reach over 185.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by 2017 – which is approximately the amount of electricity New York City consumes in 17 days.  That represents a $113.5 billion incremental revenue opportunity for an industry that currently generates sales of $50-60 billion a year.

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AA-CAES

Advanced-adiabatic compressed air energy storage (AA-CAES) is an evolution of traditional CAES, designed to deliver higher efficiencies via a zero-carbon process. Operation is similar to traditional CAES in that energy is stored by compressing air with turbomachinery and storing in an underground cavern. The difference lies in the treatment of the heat of compression.

Read more at www.energystorage.org!

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aa-caes_1

Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plants are largely equivalent to pumped-hydro power plants in terms of their applications, output and storage capacity. But, instead of pumping water from a lower to an upper pond during periods of excess power, in a CAES plant, ambient air is compressed and stored under pressure in an underground cavern. When electricity is required, the pressurized air is heated and expanded in an expansion turbine driving a generator for power production.

Read more at www.energystorage.org!

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The #1 Rule of Compressed Air:

 

For every 20 degrees that compressed air is cooled, the air loses 50% of its ability to hold moisture in vapor form (humidity) and it is dropped out as a liquid.

The Difference between Air Drying and Air Filtration:

  • Air Drying is he removal of water vapor (humidity) from compressed air.
    • This is typically accomplished in one of four ways:
    • Desiccant (molecular sieve, activated alumina, silica gel)
    • Membrane
    • Refrigeration
    • Deliquescent
  • When to use compressed air dryers:
    • Air dryers should be used when you want to remove or reduce the humidity levels in your compressed air system to meet or exceed the air quality requirements for their compressed air demands.
  •  Air Filtration is the removal of particulates, water, oil droplets, and oil aerosols.
    • This is most effective when done in stages:
    • Water separator – removes bulk water, oil, and large particulates (down to 10 micron)
    • Coalescing filter – removes oil, small aerosols and fine particulates (down to .01 micron)
    • Activated carbon filter – removes oil vapors; eliminates odors and taste (down to .003ppm)
  • Where to place compressed air filtration:
    • The further away from the compressor, the more effective your filtration will work.
    • On or near the equipment, directly connected to air supply connection (IMPORTANT)
    • In front of all air dryers as pre-filters
    • Water separators should be placed at all air tool drops with regulators

 Important Things to Know:

  • Proper control of air pressure throughout your facility can help save 10-15% of your compressed air energy costs.
  • Repairing an audible air leak can save you $50 or more per year in energy used to drive your compressor.
  • When sizing a compressor for manufacturing, it is important to calculate total machine air consumption as well as total air consumed by machine operators and other personnel.
  • Proper control of air volume (CFM) will make all your air drying and filtration technology perform at their rated capacity. Most pieces of equipment have a manufacturer’s specification of volume consumption along with the recommended operating pressure.
  • Improper use of volume can cause an “over-flowing” of the rated capacity of your dryer or filtration which causes a carry over of moisture and contaminants.

Learn more ways you can save money and eliminate costly down time with the Compressed Air 101 video below!

Tsunami Compressed Air Solutions™ offers a complete line of products engineered to give customers dry, clean air for their specific application demands. These systems use the latest technology to provide the highest quality compressed air available. Watch this video to learn some of the key reasons you need to maintain dry, clean air in your system.
 
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