Air Power Boosts Utility Energy Supplies

by Robert L. Longardner, (F.ASCE), Pres.; Longardner & Assoc. Inc., Indianapolis, IN,
Anthony Visnesky, Sr. Resource Planning Engr.; Central Illinois Public Service Co., Springfield, IL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 7, Pg. 57-59

Document Type: Feature article


Based in part on successful findings of tests, in which compressed air was stored in underground aquifers, Central Illinois Public Service engineers are investigating a type of pumped air storage system in a sandstone aquifer for generating peaking power. The proposed Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) facility, which could consist of four 50 mw generating units, would store some 650 million cu ft of air (per unit) injected under about 360 psi pressure. Two alternative methods of storing compressed air were also investigated: salt dome storage, a fixed-volume, varying-pressure system that involves drilling into a salt dome and pumping it full with fresh water to create a cavity; and hard-rock storage, a fixed volume, constant pressure system that requires excavation of a hard-rock cavern for air storage. The studies indicate, however, that pumping air directly into sand aquifers (a varying volume, constant pressure system) would be the least expensive of the three geological formations to develop.

Subject Headings: Power supply | Water storage | Aquifers | Salt water | Pumping tests | Waste storage | Energy storage | Compression | United States | Illinois | California

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