Next-generation wind technology, with compressed air

A noteworthy idea in load management for wind power — compressed air. Energy Daily has a story about a company exploring this technology: Massachusetts-based wind energy company General Compression and its compressor technology partner Mechanology are using Ricardo’s automotive engineering and development expertise to develop technology which aims to make wind power as reliable as conventional power.

With energy security and global warming at the very top of the political agenda in all parts of the world, renewable energy resources are increasingly seen as an important contributor to the future of regional and national grid power supplies. Of the potentially large-scale renewable energy resources wind is perhaps the most universally available, as virtually every part of the earth’s surface experiences the natural force of the wind.

However, as the wind is subject to the vagaries of the weather and as such is inherently unpredictable, wind energy has traditionally been seen as an intermittent source of electrical power. General Compression’s proprietary Dispatchable Wind system carries the descriptive tagline ‘wind energy on demand’ because it decouples wind energy capture from electrical power generation by substituting the electric generators in its wind turbines with advanced compressor systems linked to a central high pressure compressed air reservoir at each wind farm.

The reservoir acts as an energy buffer, storing compressed air which can be passed through an expander plant in order to generate electricity whenever it’s needed – not just when the wind is blowing….

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