Seamus Garvey, a UK professor at the Nottingham University, thinks he has a better idea of storing wind energy…by storing it in flexible plastic containers on the ocean floor.
Surplus wind energy is currently stored in huge underground tanks via a technique called “Compressed Air Energy Storage” (CAES). During peak energy hours, air is released to power the wind turbine to produce the needed electricity. Unfortunately, there are currently only 2 CAES sites in the world, McIntosh, Alabama and Huntorf, Germany.
Two years ago, using the same idea but different technique, Professor Garvey started researching an alternative way to storing wind energy. He discovered that by using a wind turbine or wave-powered device, that he could compress the air. “Drawing a mass down within the blade of the piston itself compresses the air,” he said.
At a depth of approximately 600 meters, the Professor calculates that plastic bags in the form of polyester reinforcement and polythene, would be able to store 25 megajoules of energy for each meter cubed and might just be a more efficient way to storing excess wind energy.