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SustainX Makes Compressed Air Energy Storage Cheaper and More Efficient


A roadblock that’s standing in the way of alternative energy is energy storage. People have been traditionally using batteries and flywheels for that purpose, but their uses are limited and the energy they can provide (at least in the battery’s case) costs pretty much.

SustainX, a company specialized in compressed air energy storage (CAES), has recently invented a system that could significantly improve this type of energy storage.

CAES systems have one major drawback: as the air is compressed, it ceases heat, and as it’s expanded, it absorbs heat. The SustainX engineers have built a system that provides isothermal compression and expansion and gets the job done with a 90 percent efficiency (much higher than batteries’).

The company also mentions that they use above-ground cylinders, unlike classic underground-stored compressed air facilities, which have been very expensive to build and maintain.

Compressed air had been used before to store energy for cars, and some companies even invented air-powered engines. With SustainX’s technology, air-powered engines may make their comeback, and companies like CAT will be able to make them compete with battery-powered or gasoline engines.

[via ecogeek]

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