Caves Are The Best Way To Store Energy


Forget searching for an all powerful battery to store energy. There’s a smarter, simpler, cheaper solution to the problem. Find caves, and store compressed air in them, says Robert Schainker, a senior exec. at EPRI.

Greentech Media: Compressed air storage – i.e., compressing air and storing it in caves, underground aquifers or abandoned mines until the air is needed to turn a turbine – will beat out other mass storage technologies in terms of cost largely because of the relative technical simplicity and the potential volumes for storage.

Compressed air right now costs about $700 a kilowatt, he said. By comparison, Deeya Energy just released its first flow batteries. A 2-kilowatt device costs about $4,000 a kilowatt, says Izak Bencuya. With volume manufacturing, Deeya hopes to lower that to $1,000 a kilowatt.

…Compressed air, of course, has been an idea that has been ready for takeoff for years. Prototypes in Alabama and Germany have operated for years. The Department of Energy, Sandia National Labs, and a host of municipal utilities in the Midwest are in the midst of designing a compressed air generation plant in Iowa. The plant is expected to be operational by 2012 and produce 268 megawatts of power or 50 hours of power storage. That could enough to save a municipal utility $5 million a year.

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