CAES Project Update
A recent article in the Arizona Daily Star indicated that AzRISE’s CAES project at the UA Science and Technology Park is off to a slow start. While it is true that we have not met some of our projected deadlines, we are very excited about the progress of the CAES project and very committed to all of our partners: Solon, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and W2 Energy.
Solon installed the solar PV system at the UA Tech Park Solar Zone and is preparing the electronic controls and site for the tests; TEP provided the location and support for the installation; and W2 Energy is designing and building the engine system, which will take the stored compressed air and turn it into electricity.
The initial plan was to have the system tested, installed and operating at the TEP facility by the end of summer. But as with many truly novel research efforts, there have been unexpected delays. For example, the delivery of the pressurized air tank was slowed by an attempt to calculate the optimum pressure line sizes. The W2 Energy expansion turbine arrived before we had received the pressurized air tank, and upon testing was found to require more air volume than we had targeted. We at AzRISE understand the nature of research. Creating a new, world-changing technology never happens on the first try. Making expansion turbines that use very little air volume while working at high pressure has never been done before – hence some of the trial and error. W2 Energy is currently building a new engine for us which promises to be more effective. Every time AzRISE and W2 Energy build an engine system, we both learn more about our craft.
All of the partners in this project are trying to do something which is very difficult – provide energy – efficient and environmentally safe energy-storage technology which can be used in renewable and conventional energy applications. We are creating something new.
As our project progresses, we will keep you updated on our developments. We look forward to sharing with you our successes and challenges as we help create energy innovations for the 21st century and beyond.