Green Dreams: Life in the Year of the Rabbit

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 23 Jan 2012 14:04:54 GMT  <== Science/Technology ==> 

Danielle Fong - a retrospective on the last year at Lightsail Energy, a maker of "regenerative air energy storage". Their technology stores energy by compressing air, and they claim >80% efficiency. I wish them great success.

LightSail set out to prove that the science of our regenerative air energy storage concept works, and we have answered that challenge with a triumphant yes!

We built an industrial scale machine by modifying a commercial natural gas compressor. We changed the cylinder head, added nozzles, replaced valves to allow reversibility, coated the surfaces to prevent corrosion, and threw our minds and hearts at the problem of showing that our approach could dramatically increase the efficiency of compressed air energy storage. Without water spray, and without burning natural gas, previous attempts at storing energy in compressed air topped out at less than 50% thermal efficiency — ok for a backup system, but not enough to change the world. This year, we aimed at greater than 80% thermal efficiency, at a high RPM (and therefore power), to show that unlike what people had assumed, high efficiency does not mean sacrificing performance.

Add comment Edit post Add post