UM invention helps advance reliability of alternative energy

April 16, 2012, University of Minnesota

A University of Minnesota invention could help make storage of solar and wind energy more efficient and economical. The invention was licensed to SustainX, a leading global developer of grid-scale energy storage solutions that use patented isothermal compressed air methods to store large amounts of energy cleanly and economically.

"A lot of , like wind and solar, are unpredictable. The wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine. With economical bulk , one can really stabilize these energy sources, which makes them more predictable and more reliable," said Perry Li, inventor and mechanical engineering professor in the College of Science and Engineering.

SustainX is developing isothermal (or near-constant temperature) compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems that provide bulk energy while reducing carbon emissions and increasing the reliability of the electric grid. The conventional method of compressed air energy storage depends on the use of underground caverns, which greatly limits their available locations and practical use. The SustainX solution uses pipe-type air storage, which makes it possible to store energy virtually anywhere.

"This licensing agreement with the University of Minnesota expands SustainX's growing IP portfolio and provides our company with another possible method of implementing our unique isothermal CAES technology," said Dax Kepshire, SustainX vice president and general manager.

The SustainX energy storage solution could also reduce the need for gas-powered peaker plants that operate during hours of usage.

Explore further: Compressed Air Energy Storage: Renewable Energy

Related Stories

Compressed Air Energy Storage: Renewable Energy

March 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wind-power turbines have played an important step in renewable energy but now the future of wind power may be underground. By using compressed-air energy storage plants, air is pumped into large underground ...

In Utah, company aims to store energy in air

February 9, 2010

A Utah company plans to dig a series of underground caverns that it hopes to one day fill with compressed air, releasing it to generate electricity by turning a turbine and solving one of the most vexing problems facing the ...

Blending wind and solar meets peak energy demands

August 13, 2010

In parts of Texas and California, a good match between renewable energy production and peak energy demands could be obtained by combining wind power with solar power, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.

What If Your Energy Supply is Gone with the Wind?

November 18, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new research program at Oregon State University proposes to tackle one of the major remaining problems with wind energy – how do you provide a steady, or at least predictable flow of electricity when ...

Recommended for you

Permanent, wireless self-charging system using NIR band

October 8, 2018

As wearable devices are emerging, there are numerous studies on wireless charging systems. Here, a KAIST research team has developed a permanent, wireless self-charging platform for low-power wearable electronics by converting ...

Facebook launches AI video-calling device 'Portal'

October 8, 2018

Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered video-calling devices, a strategic revolution for the social network giant which is aiming for a slice of the smart speaker market that is currently dominated by Amazon and ...

Artificial enzymes convert solar energy into hydrogen gas

October 4, 2018

In a new scientific article, researchers at Uppsala University describe how, using a completely new method, they have synthesised an artificial enzyme that functions in the metabolism of living cells. These enzymes can utilize ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Infinion
1 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2012
Just what do they mean by Pipe-type air storage? A bunch of pipes strapped together? Doesn't sound very economical if that is all they are talking about. Not terribly informative article.


my guess is that instead of doing it this way http://phys.org/n...601.html which requires a limestone cavern, they're using pipes as air tanks to store compressed air?

If so, can they really take credit for this as an invention? What did they invent? Higher efficiency in converting electricity into compressed air and vice-versa? Are we talking about a storage tank or a pump?
dschlink
not rated yet Apr 16, 2012
Even for a press release this has amazingly little real information.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.