As Energy Demand Accelerates, ARPA-E Bets on Caves, Biofuels – Bloomberg   Leave a comment

It is disruptive thinking and innovation like this which will break us out of the narrow band of consumption  of energy and the extraction and production of that energy.

“Eric Ingersoll wants to solve a central shortcoming of solar and wind power: their intermittency, such as when clouds block the sun or wind peters out during peak demand. His solution borders on geo-engineering: blow huge volumes of compressed air into underground salt caverns when the power sources are generating and then release the air through turbines when electricity is needed.

To be cost-effective for utility-scale operations, efficiency is crucial. Ingersoll was pretty sure he could keep 80 percent of the air pressurized, but private money to build a proof- of-concept model was elusive. In 2009 the 50-year-old autodidact landed a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Energy Dept., enabling him to test a critical refinement of his air- compression technology. “That [money] gave us a significant boost, going from ‘this looks like it is working,’ to ‘this is definitely working and it’s bankable,’” says Ingersoll, now chief executive officer and co-founder of 40-employee General Compression in Newton, Mass.

This is just the kind of creative transformational-energy research the DOE is trying to support through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).”

via As Energy Demand Accelerates, ARPA-E Bets on Caves, Biofuels – Bloomberg.

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Posted June 30, 2011 by arnoneumann in Energy, Innovation

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