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China is aiming to produce electricity from air; Read on…

China is preparing to link its first commercial compressed-air energy storage plant to the grid as it explores novel methods to harness fast-growing clean electricity resources for 24/7 usage. China Huaneng Group Co. announced that its Jiangsu Jintan Salt Cave project has successfully completed four days of trials and is now ready for commercial operations.

According to BloombergNEF, the 60-megawatt facility will be the largest compressed air energy storage plant built anywhere in the world since 1991 and the first in China outside of small-scale technological demonstration projects. When demand is low at night, the facility will use energy to pump air into an underground salt cavern. When demand is strong during the day, the compressed air may be released at high enough pressure to spin a turbine and generate power.

According to BloombergNEF, underground compressed air is one of the least expensive types of long-term energy storage and has few safety issues. However, its reliance on topographical characteristics such as subterranean caves may restrict its widespread adoption. It has established a foothold in China, with roughly four gigatonnes of projects in the pipeline, while the rest of the globe has fewer than two gigatonnes planned.

Shandong province announced this week in its work plan for this year that it will use the technology to develop three projects. According to a Science and Technology Daily story from last year, the Jintan salt caves in Jiangsu, China’s second-largest provincial economy located north of Shanghai, can store around 10 million cubic meters of gas, enough to power four gigatonnes of compressed air plants.

Energy storage is a critical component of China’s aim to develop a robust and more flexible system in order to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and zero them out before 2060. Every year, the country adds a world-leading quantity of wind and solar power, but its intermittent nature stresses infrastructures that must transmit electricity at all times. China has set goals of 30 gigatonnes of additional energy storage by 2025 and 120 gigatonnes of pumped hydro storage by 2030.



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