The performance of CAES is evaluated for various configurations, with and without thermal energy storage. First, a conventional compressed air energy storage process is modeled using a time series iterative forward differencing method to simulate the round trip efficiency, exergy storage, cavern temperatures and pressures, and the gas expander exit temperature of a CAES plant. The computational model was validated experimentally by comparing trended data of the compression cycle of a 280 HP Gardener-Denver tandem horizontal two-stage compressor to computational results. It was found that the process of cooling the compressors resulted in a large exergy loss and the inefficiencies of the expanders lead to higher temperature gas being exhausted back to ambient pressures. Second, Advanced Adiabatic Compressed Air Energy Storage (AACAES) was simulated to study the effectiveness of storing the thermal energy removed from the compressors to be added to the compressed air as it enters the expanders at a later time. Third, the concept of increasing the capacity of the thermal energy storage systems to allow recharge with concentrated solar heat was explored. It was found that the thermal efficiency of converting the solar thermal energy to power would be high (> 60%). Further, the expander exhaust temperature and exergy are high (> 500 K), implying that additional waste heat energy recovery will be possible. Taken together, the results of this study show that an integrated, high efficiency, on-demand, water-free, solar energy delivery system is possible if combined with an AACAES system.

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