Hybrid Energy Storage System Based on Compressed Air and Super-Capacitors with Maximum Efficiency Point Tracking (MEPT)
This paper presents a hybrid energy storage system mainly based on Compressed Air, where the storage and withdrawal of energy are done within maximum efficiency conditions. As these maximum efficiency conditions impose the level of converted power, an intermittent time-modulated operation mode is applied to the thermodynamic converter to obtain a variable converted power. A smoothly variable output power is achieved with the help of a supercapacitive auxiliary storage device used as a filter. The paper describes the concept of the system, the power-electronic interfaces and especially the Maximum Efficiency Point Tracking (MEPT) algorithm and the strategy used to vary the output power. In addition, the paper introduces more efficient hybrid storage systems where the volumetric air machine is replaced by an oil-hydraulics and pneumatics converter, used under isothermal conditions. Practical results are also presented, recorded from a low-power air motor coupled to a small DC generator, as well as from a first prototype of the hydro-pneumatic system. Some economical considerations are also made, through a comparative cost evaluation of the presented hydro-pneumatic systems and a lead acid batteries system, in the context of a stand alone photovoltaic home application. This evaluation confirms the cost effectiveness of the presented hybrid storage systems.