Principal Engineer Exponent, Inc. Natick, Massachusetts
Presentation Description: One of the main disadvantages of wind power is that the power generated fluctuates throughout the day and can be difficult to accurately predict. Thus, the amount of power delivered to the electrical grid is both variable and not easy to control. Power usage by consumers is also variable, therefore the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy varies. A wind farm could therefore potentially increase its revenue by storing the power generated by a wind turbine until the price of energy is the highest.
A traditional energy storage system interfaces with the electrical grid. In the novel design concept discussed here, the rotor of a traditional wind turbine is connected through a power transmission shaft to an air compressor that supplies compressed air to a storage vessel. The compressed air can then be used as needed to generate power. Since the price of electricity varies throughout the day, such a system has the potential to provide greater revenue than a traditional wind turbine by shifting power generation to the windows of maximum energy prices.
We developed a thermodynamic model of the entire system to compare the performance of a combination wind power and compressed air system to a traditional wind turbine. This presentation will discuss the overall design concept and the thermodynamic model, and provide specific insights regarding the key design parameters that would make the design concept viable.
Methodology: A portion of the presentation can be interactive. We can ask the audience to suggest changes to the inputs (size of wind turbine, compressed air storage capacity, etc.) and run the thermodynamic model in real time to observe the results.
Understand the advantages and disadvantages of the combination wind power and compressed air system compared to traditional wind turbines and traditional energy storage approaches.
Identify the key challenges that dictate the economic viability of the combined wind power and compressed air system.
Differentiate between isentropic and isothermal compression and explain how that difference impacts the economics of compressed air storage systems.