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The rocky seabed of the North Sea could store energy by a compressed air method

The rocky seabed off the coast of the United Kingdom could provide long-term storage sites for the production of renewable energy.

29/01/2019

PeriĆ³dicodelaenergia.com

This is the main idea that suggests a research carried out by engineers and geoscientists from the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde.

The team has used mathematical models to evaluate the potential of the process, called compressed air energy storage (CAES) . This process would work using electricity from renewable sources to power an engine that generates compressed air. This air would be stored at high pressure in the pores found in the sandstone, using a deep well drilled in the rock.

During periods of power shortage, pressurized air would be released from the well and would feed a turbine to generate electricity that would then be dumped into the network. According to the sources mentioned, a similar process of air storage in deep salt caverns has already been used in points in Germany and the United States.

 

The location of the wells near renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind turbines, would make the process more efficient and cheaper, requiring, in addition, a smaller number of submarine cables.

The study found that using this technique on a large scale could store enough compressed air to meet the UK’s electricity needs during the winter, when demand is greatest. In particular, the report notes that the potential storage capacity is equivalent to approximately 160% of UK electricity consumption in January and February 2017 (77-96 TWh), with a round trip energy efficiency of 54- 59% This storage potential in the United Kingdom can be achieved at costs in the range of 0.42 to 4.71 dollars per kWh.

The study, which has been published in the journal Nature Energy , has been funded by the Research Council of Physical Sciences and Engineering, the Scottish Finance Council and the Energy Technology Association.

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