Compressed Air: A New Energy Option?

06/28/2013 |

Harnessing the power of the earth for electricity

Compressed air storage plants, like this proposed one north of Boardman, OR, could aid the Pacific Northwest in utilizing its surplus of renewable energy sources optimally.

The Pacific Northwest alone could power roughly 85,000 homes by storing compressed air in porous rocks underground, according to new research.

Compressed air plants draw power from the electric grid during off-peak periods and use it to power large air compressors that push pressurized air into underground geologic storage.

When power demand is high, the stored air is released to the surface, heated, and pushed through turbines to generate electricity. The plants can regenerate as much as 80% of the electricity they use, researchers say.

The research team has identified two potential sites for compressed air generation plants – one sits north of Boardman, OR, on the Washington side of the Columbia River and could house a conventional compressed air facility due to its proximity to a natural gas pipeline.

The other, located 10 miles north of Selah, WA, has no access to natural gas and would require geothermal energy to power a chiller to keep the air compressors cool and efficient, as well as reheat the air when it’s released to the surface.

The stored power would be especially useful during the spring, when melting snow and a large amount of wind (which often blows at night when power demand is low) offer more renewable energy resources than the region can utilize.

The performance and economic data from the study will now aid an in-depth analysis of the technology’s net benefits to the Pacific Northwest.

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See how professionals like you are taking advantage of the highest performing precision cooling system for their computer rooms and data centers, and why Data Aire is fast-becoming the number one choice for facility managers and building owners looking to decrease their energy consumption. 

Data Aire understands how digital technology and data gravity is rapidly impacting and transforming businesses. That’s why they developed ultra-efficient cooling technology to support the most modern (and not-so-modern) data centers.  Learn how One Wilshire in Los Angeles, one of the most advanced carrier hotels today, is surpassing California's strict energy efficiency requirements with Data Aire’s purpose-built system, which provide full-economization for 260 days – almost 72% of the year. That’s a measurable savings! Furthermore, the projected PUE on an annual basis for a full load is at or below 1.2.


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