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Air Energy Storage

While more efforts are being taken to generate energy through various methods very little research is being done on the field of storing energy. This is an extremely significant criterion because energy demands will not be the same all the time and there must be an efficient system to store the produced energy.

Air medium is used for many purposes such as communication, transportation etc, but the next generation energy storage will be carried out with the help of air.

Compressed Air Energy Storage may look like a new concept but it has a history dating way back. During late 1970’s this compressed air technology was used but in a different, less technical way. In Germany underground caves were used to store compressed air and a similar one now exists in Alabama.

However, there are a few problems with compressed air energy storage such as the thermodynamic effect where the gas gets heated up when it is compressed. But researches have created new prototypes to make it more efficient. Though this method of storing energy is considered quite energy efficient, the Alabama plant ends up burning an amount of natural gas to reheat the compressed air equal to about 1/3 of what it would use for direct combustion power generations. This makes the whole energy efficient storage concept slightly absurd. Another associated problem is the location for the plant which needs to meet certain criteria.

A new prototype of compressed Air energy storage has been created by a company called SustainX which looks more energy efficient and cheaper compared to existing models. The idea is to use high pressure bottles instead of caves or underground structures which require particular a geographic area and other necessary requirements.

Another attractive side is the Energy Bag. In many cases, high pressure vessels or cave structures are used to contain the air under high pressure and the energy bag is a lightweight (75 kilograms or 165 pounds) bag that can store pressurized air sufficiently to provide 70 megawatt hours of storage. This method does not require natural gas like the Alabama plant and therefore it is clean as well as energy efficient.

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