An innovative, zero-emission system for electricity generation

My innovation seeks to generate electricity 24X7 from solar and wind energy, without any emissions

By T S Seshadri
Last Updated: Tuesday 29 September 2015

In today’s day and age, when the global emphasis is on renewable energy, India has a lot to thank its stars for. Being located in the tropics, we have sunlight 300-330 days a year. We also have ample wind energy.

However, the challenge lies in generating electricity through solar or wind energy 24x7.

In the techniques that are presently used, solar electricity from solar photovoltaic panels (SPV) is generated for four to five hours on an average daily in the tropics only during sunshine. Solar electricity for the rest of the day is generated in the following way. Excess solar electricity generation capacity is created from SPV. The excess solar electricity is used to run an air compressor through an inverter and the air is compressed to 300 bar preferably (Bar is the pressure of air. 1 bar=1.02 kg per sq cm). The compressed air is stored preferably in cylinders or any other known suitable device/method. The cylinders are transported to the place where electricity generation is needed.

The compressed air is allowed to flow at 10 bar preferably, through a suitable turbine alternator and the solar electricity regenerated is given to the utility. Utility is the consuming point or the customer point paying for the electricity used. It is to be noted that the compressed air is pre-heated to expand when it enters the turbine. This will double the conversion efficiency. Countries like Germany and the US use natural gas for heating the compressed air. This is not environment friendly and moreover, natural gas is a non-renewable source.

Considering these drawbacks, I tried to innovate a way in which electricity can be generated by solar or wind energy 24x7 without emissions.

I used electricity from the solar electricity regenerated from the turbine alternator and use it in the electrical heater. This is zero emission. Our country is yet to realise the full potential of compressed air in electricity storage and generation. There is none till today.

Wind mills in our country generate electricity for 5 to 6 months a year. This electricity is intermittent. A small turbine can be fixed in the shaft at the back of the wind mills with suitable casing. Compressed air filled cylinders from solar electricity preferably are kept in the ground. A suitable hose to withstand 10 bar pressure preferably connects the opening valve of the cylinders to the turbine. An electrical heater to heat the compressed air is fixed in the ground or near the small turbine. Electricity for the heater is used from the electricity generated from the windmill and this is a small percentage of the generated electricity. During non-windy hours, compressed air can be used to generate electricity. This operation can be manual or automated through networking computer. Thus, 24x7 electricity can be generated from the windmills. The cost will be higher by Rs 2/- per unit (Rs 9/-) and with REC (Renewable Energy Certificate), the increase in cost per unit can be absorbed.

Coal, oil & gas, atomic, hydel, bio-mass etc plants can be modified and converted to run on compressed air similarly like wind mills. Climatic changes and global warming are arrested. There is zero emission and electricity obtained is from a renewable source and will last as long as the earth and sun exist.

Compressed air-filled cylinders from solar preferably can be used as batteries/generators with turbine alternator. This is a perfect substitute for all types of batteries available currently. Road, air and sea transport can use the compressed air batteries/generators effectively as an energy source.

People in countries with less sunshine per year like the US, Germany, China and others which are outside the tropics, can tap the sunshine between the tropics and take the filled compressed air cylinders to their country, run an alternator and generate electricity. Thus, all countries can generate electricity as long as the earth and sun exists.

Compressed Air Energy Storage system—CAES is an effective storage system for electricity and it is zero emission, especially with my innovation of using electrical heater to heat the compressed air from the solar electricity regenerated.


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