Latest News

If not wind turbines, then how does air produce power?

Written by

Stephen Wright, ENSEK | Business Development Manager

Share

Air power - will it blow over?

When talking about 'Air Power' you may be mistaken into thinking we mean wind turbines. Confused? Let us help.

There are a couple of new innovations that could take off over the next few years relating to air power, one is actually decades old but recent changes could make it more efficient so what are they?

Compressed Air:

Compressed air was first used back in the 70's when excess electricity was stored as pressurised air deep underground and then released when generation was not meeting demand. The air would help turn turbines when needed but recent innovations could be used to make this more efficient.

If we remove the need to generate electricity to create the pressurised air we would be able to reduce the emissions from this process but we need to pressurise the air and incredibly it's quite simple as the laws of physics do not change. If we were to position two tanks of cylindrical shape with one mounted vertically and much larger than the other then we could install pistons that would pressurise the air in the smaller tank as it is filled as air is pushed down into the smaller tank. These could be positioned in geographical areas that are extremely windy and would naturally fill and vent through the power of gravity. In areas that are less windy it would be possible to use water to pressurise the air similar to the mechanics of a liftlock used on canals etc. All of this air when vented would follow the same principles as the 70's from this point as we could use it to turn turbines when needed.

Solar Updraft:

Another use of air would be solar updrafts, we know that hot air rises so if we take the principle of a greenhouse where we could heat the air inside a very large building (the bigger the better) this hot air would rise up a central chimney like a wind turbine and turn turbines either in or around the chimney as the hot air rises generating electricity. The higher the chimney the better the pressure generated due to the temperature difference at the base and top resulting in a larger stack effect. Although the land needed to create a good enough solar updraft stack the benefits would be the creation of arable land underneath the greenhouse due to the condensation created at night under the structure. This would allow for land to be used in the most remote deserts that aren't currently usable land for farming.