Wednesday, October 17, 2012

'Frozen air' could heat up renewable energy

The journey to a cooler, greener planet may start with a breath of fresh air, suggests a battery technology under development that could rapidly solve one of the biggest problems with wind and solar energy.
 The air we breathe is about 78 percent nitrogen, a gas that turns to liquid at -321 degrees Fahrenheit.

The technology from Highview Power Storage in the United Kingdom involves extracting carbon dioxide and water vapor from the air, chilling the nitrogen to its liquid state and storing it in a giant vacuum flask.
Then, when energy is needed, the liquid is warmed to ambient temperature. As it transition to the gas phase, it expands about 700 times, generating force to drive a turbine that generates electricity.

Wind and solar power are used to suck air into compressors, purify it and freeze it, which gets us over the hurdle of the intermittentcy problem of the renewable energy.

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