Products > Dodgy Technology

AirBattery- Seems pretty dodgy to me.

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Youtube decided to recommend me this vid about this new and revolutionary storage technology.

Quick rundown of how it works:

* Bury sealed tank into the ground
* Water pump pushes water into tank so pressure goes up
* Compressing air makes it heat up but water absorbs this heat
* They do it slowly so "no heat is generated" - wait what? ???
* When you need energy just release the water
* Pressurized air pushes water into turbines and generates electricity
* 81% round trip efficiencyThe video includes the typical buzzwords like "patented technology" and highlights the "special polymers" used in the pressure tanks.
And of course the obligatory CGI.

But this all seems to be just a way to put a new twist on pumped water storage, yet they call it "air battery".
To me this looks more like a grid-scale super soaker.

Lovely shot of STEEL tanks being lowered into the ground at 0:36.  I'd give even odds they are reusing video of a filling station's fuel tanks being installed.

Its just another take on near-isothermal compressed air energy storage.  Wikipedia has a reasonable introduction:

OK, a few things.
1.) Composite tanks are way more expensive than steel tanks, only reason to make them is you can fit more liquid to a truck and stay below weight limit
2.) If you bury an empty tank into the ground, ground water will push it out eventually. They were pouring concrete on it just to keep it in place. But why do it in the first place, when you can just put the tank above ground.
3.) Having many small tanks, because... why? The larger you can build something the more cost efficient it is, and the less material is used to make it. We are extremely good at making large tanks.
4.) The idea would work, but I still think P2G is a better one. Compressed air stores about 100kJ/m3 while CNG is 22000000kJ/m3. And if you create if from carbon scrubbers, it is carbon negative.

AirBattery is a quite misleading term for compressed air energy storage. It doesn't give you electric power directly as a nomal battery does. BTW, the real air batteries are metal–air electrochemical cells. And especially the iron-air battery is a candidate for storage of power from PV and wind farms.

Pushing water in the same tank as used for the air is a bit stupid. The energy storage is in the air part only, so much of the volume is wasted with water.

For the larger to smaller tanks: It does no really save on the material using larger tanks. The wall thickness for a pressure vessel has to scale like the diameter. So the volume to wall ratio stays constant. There is still some saving in needing less corrosion protection.


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