Stabilizing wind-generated electricity, no matter the weather

Experiments for Compressed Air Energy Storage system starts

Waseda University, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and the Institute of Applied Energy started empirical experiments for the Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) system on April 20. CAES system’s technology controls power output based on wind power forecast, which tends to fluctuate depending on weather conditions. In the future, researchers aim to establish the regulation technology and expand the use of renewable energy.

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Introduction of renewable energy such as wind and solar powers are currently being expanded. At the same time, technologies to forecast and regulate power output are also in demand, so that electricity could be supplied steadily without having to concern the weather.

Researchers gathered from Waseda University, NEDO, and the Institute of Applied Energy to create the CAES system, which controls power output based on forecast of how much electricity could be produced from wind power. Waseda University developed the CAES system’s control technology in this NEDO project, and the Institute of Applied Energy was responsible for building a facility especially for CAES in Kawazu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Kobe Steel, Ltd. has designed and manufactured the devices.

In this project, two technologies were developed for CAES: power fluctuation suppression and generator control. The power fluctuation suppression technology controls the electricity charge and discharge to suppress fluctuation of electricity generated by wind power on electric grids. The generator control technology minimizes the difference in power output planned in advance and the actual amount of electricity generated by regulating electricity charge and discharge.

The CAES system facility controls electricity charge and discharge with air. More specifically, it compresses and stores air with a motor, using electricity from wind power. Then, whenever necessary, electricity is produced by rotating the expander (generator) using the compressed, stored air. This completed facility uses a screw type motor and expander, free of oil. Furthermore, by building a safe facility with general-purpose machines, CAES was designed to be a clean energy system which does not use rare metals or toxic materials, releasing only air and water. Moreover, it stores heat that is produced when compressing air and reuses the heat to improve the efficiency of electricity charge and discharge.

The CAES system was installed into the facility and connected to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s Higashi-Izu Wind Power Station for empirical experiments. The researchers hope to progress technology for renewable energy so that energy output will not be dependent on weather in the near future.

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