COLLOQUIUM: Compressed Air Energy Storage: The Bridge to Our Renewable Energy Future
Compressed air energy storage (CAES) is a proven, cost effective, environmentally acceptable technology for storing extremely large amounts of energy. Invented in the 1950s in Germany, and based on widely available gas turbine equipment, two CAES plants have been built and have operated reliably for many decades; several more plants are currently in final planning stages and should come on line in the next few years. In spite of this, it is nearly universally believed that intermittent renewable energy cannot power a modern industrial economy due to our inability to store large amounts of energy.
Understanding how there can be such a vast gap between what is known to be possible and what is believed to be possible is not easy, but is critical if we are to avoid major missteps as we move away from fossil fuels.
From a policy perspective we can begin by examining past DOE energy scenarios, emphasizing the comforting reassurance that natural gas is “the bridge to the [renewable energy] future.” From a technology perspective we can then look at some of the many ways CAES can be implemented with existing gas turbine technology. Turning then to economics, we can examine how, using current market and utility integration rules, renewable energy technologies compare to natural gas, coal and nuclear power plant technologies. Finally we will examine some of the systemic barriers that prevent widespread adaption of CAES plants in the U.S. and abroad.
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2013-2014 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.
- Carol Ann Austin 609-243-2484