Canadian company, Hydrostor Inc., has just received development approval to build the nation’s first advanced compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) facility near Strathalbyn in South Australia.
Hydrostor plans to re-purpose the former Angas Zinc Mine into a 5 megawatt (MW) / 10MWh facility by transforming the existing mine into an air-storage cavern 240 metres below ground using their innovative design to achieve emissions-free energy storage.
A-CAES works by using electricity from the grid to run a compressor, producing heated compressed air. Heat is extracted from the air stream and stored inside a proprietary thermal store, preserving the energy for use later in the cycle. Compressed air is stored in a purpose-built underground cavern, which is kept at a constant pressure using hydrostatic head from a water column.
During charging, compressed air displaces water out of the cavern up a water column to a surface reservoir, and during discharge water flows back into the cavern forcing air to the surface under pressure where it is re-heated using the stored heat and then expanded through a turbine to generate electricity on demand.
As a fuel-free storage technology, A-CAES holds similar applications to pumped hydro.
Energy and Mining Minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said it is another step in the transition of South Australia’s energy system by the integration of renewable energy into the grid to deliver cheaper, more reliable and cleaner energy.
“A-CAES is a new energy storage technology for Australia that provides synchronous inertia, load shifting and frequency regulation to support grid security and reliability,” he said.
The $30 million project is supported by $3 million in funding through the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund and $6 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Hydrostor expects approximately 40 jobs to be generated during construction and a further four ongoing positions over the project’s 30-year lifespan.
Member for Heysen, Josh Teague, commented that the conversion of the brownfield site into an emission-free clean energy project will stimulate local economic activity, delivering jobs and investment in the local community.
“The Hills community is very supportive of the Marshall Government’s efforts to decarbonise South Australia’s electricity network whilst improving the reliability and affordability of our power system.”
More information on the project can be found here.