What is Compressed Air Energy Storage Technology? This is a form of large scale energy storage technology that is currently attracting the interest of technologists and researchers around the world. Called CAES for short, compressed air energy storage is accomplished by pumping air into underground storage chambers such as depleted gas wells or salt caverns. These caves and caverns are speculated to have the capability of holding enough pressurized air to provide several days worth of electrical energy. When needed, the pressurized air is released from the chamber and used to drive turbines, which intern drive electric generator to generate electricity.
This form of energy storage along with pumped hydroelectric are seeming to be the most favourable forms of large scale energy storage techniques of the technologies currently being pursued. Earlier this year the New Jersey, utility PSEG announced that it would be investing $20 million over the next three years into the development of an underground compressed-air storage system to support its wind turbines. Currently there are only two CAES facilities in operation, one in Alabama and the other in Huntorf, Germany.
The safe and efficient storage of electrical energy in large amounts is one of the greatest challenge facing power supply intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar. Currently RWE Power, General Electric, Züblin and DLR are facing up to this challenge in the ADELE project, see video.