Novel concepts of compressed air energy storage and thermo-electric energy storage

The interest in energy storage is currently increasing, especially from the perspectives of matching intermittent sources of renewable energy with customer demand and storing excess nuclear or thermal power during the daily cycle. Technologies to be considered for load leveling for large-scale energy systems, typically in the range of hours to days of discharge time, include pumped-storage hydroelectricity, compressed air energy storage (CAES), sodium sulfur (NaS) batteries, advanced absorbent glass mat lead acid batteries, and flow batteries. CAES is a promising technology because of significant advantages such as its high reliability, economic feasibility, and low environmental impact. Thermo-electric energy storage (TEES), which was recently proposed as a method for large-scale energy storage, is another mechanical storage method based on thermodynamic cycles. This thesis presents a guide to precisely understand each system along with energy and exergy analyses to characterize the key parameters for achieving high efficiency for each of the systems. In addition, some novel concepts for the systems are proposed in order to address some of the current drawbacks and to widen the scope of their applications. Conventional CAES systems are most commonly operated under constant volume conditions with a fixed, rigid reservoir and compressors and turbines that can operate over an appropriate pressure range. These varying pressure ratios can degrade the efficiencies of compression and power generation owing to deviations from design points. Although it is possible to increase the storage volume to reduce the operating pressure range, doing so results in reduced energy density and high construction costs. Therefore, in order to resolve such problems, a novel constant-pressure CAES system combined with pumped hydro storage is proposed. An energy and exergy analysis of the novel CAES system was performed in order to understand the operating characteristics of the system according to several different compression and expansion processes. The effects of the height of the storage cavern and heat transfer between two media (air and water) and the cavern on the performance of the novel CAES system were also examined. Although the large-scale CAES systems are dependent on the right combination of site-dependent geological factors for air storage, a micro-CAES system with man-made air vessels can be a very effective system for distributed power networks, because it provides energy storage, generates electric power using various heat sources, and incorporates an air cycle heating and cooling system. This thesis presents the results of energy and exergy analyses of different types of micro-CAES systems, as well as some innovative ideas for achieving high efficiency of these systems. Recently, another type of mechanical storage, namely, thermo-electric energy storage (TEES) systems, which use heat pumps and heat engines with thermal storage, have been proposed. The advantages of TEES systems are their higher energy densities and independence from geological formations. In particular, a TEES system with transcritical CO2 cycles is considered to be a promising method for large-scale energy storage. This thesis reviews current TEES systems and proposes a novel isothermal TEES system with transcritical CO2 cycles. It is shown that in the case of TEES systems with transcritical CO2 cycles, the roundtrip efficiency and energy density can be increased by isothermal compression/expansion. In addition, novel transcritical or supercritical CO2 cycles using both low-temperature (LT) and high-temperature (HT) heat sources are proposed to maximize the power output of the CO2 power cycle with the given HT heat sources for use in applications such as nuclear power, concentrated solar power, and combustion. Moreover, the previous TEES system with transcritical CO2 cycles can be combined with the proposed transcritical CO2 cycle using both LT and HT heat sources.

Favrat, Daniel
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis5525-4

 Record created 2012-09-27, last modified 2018-05-01

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