Underground mine project to turn hot air to electricity
11-02-2019 No Comment

Summary: A new power project is transforming a closed underground mine and compressed air into a battery capable of providing instant electricity.....

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Canadian technology company Hydrostor’s Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) project is the first of its kind in Australia and uses excess solar and wind power that would typically be wasted.

The $30 million project in South Australia is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund and operates similarly to pumped hydro but uses compressed air instead.

The 5-megawatt project will use the closed Angas underground zinc mine, 60 kilometres south-east of Adelaide, as a below ground air-storage cavern.

The technology works by using excess electricity created from renewables like wind and solar to run a compressor and produce heated, compressed air that can be turned back into energy.

“During charging, heat from the compressed air is collected and stored before the cooled air displaces water out of the cavern up to a water reservoir on the surface,” ARENA said.

“To discharge, water flows back into the cavern forcing air to the surface under pressure where it is heated with the stored thermal energy and drives a turbine to generate electricity.”

HydroStor said the technology would be used to support the grid in the same capacity as Tesla’s mega-battery, also located in South Australia.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said the technology was more flexible than pumped hydro.

“While being a commercial demonstration at this stage, Hydrostor’s innovative way to store energy with air could add to Australia’s grid-scale storage capability, complementing pumped hydro and batteries,” he said.

“Compressed air storage has the potential to provide similar benefits to pumped hydro energy storage, however, it has the added benefits of being flexible with location and topography, such as utilising a cavern already created at a disused mine site."

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the project could provide 24/7 power.

“Hydrostor’s A-CAES project is a welcome addition to Australia’s rapidly expanding renewable generation and storage technologies,” Mr Taylor said.

“Importantly, it can provide the dispatchability required to ensure the reliability of the energy system as more solar and wind power is installed.”

Minister for Trade and Investment Simon Birmingham said, "This is a major win for the state's energy grid."

"We'll continue to back companies that invest in innovative emission-free storage solutions that develop a more reliable electricity supply."




Source : Cole Latimer, 08/02/2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/underground-mine-project-to-turn-hot-air-to-electricity-20190208-p50wjz.html

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