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Compressed Air Energy Storage Poised to be a Contender

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CAESOver the next decade, compressed air energy storage (CAES), a way to store energy generated at one time for use at another time, is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, according to Navigant Research.

Despite being commercially available for nearly 30 years, compressed air energy storage hasn’t really taken off, until now, primarily because it was expensive in nearly all applications. But these days, as the need for energy storage increases, CAES is becoming a more attractive option.

CAES systems do not require rare materials and have great durability. These systems can be recharged and discharged rapidly. It’s not a sexy technology, and some detractors consider it “low-tech” due to its simplicity.

Coal, nuclear, and thermal natural gas power plans have trouble meeting electricity demand on their own, leading to the use of peaking power plants.

Experts at Navigant Research maintain that macro conditions will drive up the demand for CAES, and will breathe new life into a sector that has been dormant for the last 20 years. Interest in CAES will be driven by the more scalable, modular technologies, like isothermal and adiabatic CAES. This technology is expected to be commercially validated within the next 36 months.

Next-gen CAES technologies not limited by geological considerations are on the brink of commercialization. They are able to address the gap in availability of long duration energy storage technology that can be sited where needed. Experts forecast that worldwide installed capacity of compressed air energy storage systems will reach 11.2 GW by 2023.

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