Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions. These emissions trap heat, increase the planet’s temperature, and create significant health, environmental, and climate issues. Electricity production accounts for more than one-third of U.S. global warming emissions, with the majority generated by coal-fired power plants. These plants produce approximately 25 percent of total U.S. global warming emissions. In contrast, most renewable energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions. Unfortunately, generated electricity from renewable sources rarely provides immediate response to electrical demands, as the sources of generation do not deliver a regular supply easily adjustable to consumption needs. This has led to the emergence of storage as a crucial element in the management of energy, allowing energy to be released into the grid during peak hours and meet electrical demands. Compressed air energy storage can potentially allow renewable energy sources to meet electricity demands as reliably as coal-fired power plants. Most compressed air energy storage systems run at very high pressures, which possess inherent problems such as equipment failure, high cost, and inefficiency. This research aims to illustrate the potential of compressed air energy storage systems by illustrating two different discharge configurations and outlining key variables, which have a major impact on the performance of the storage system. Storage efficiency is a key factor to making renewable sources an independent form of sustainable energy. In this paper, a comprehensive thermodynamic analysis of a compressed air energy storage system is presented. Specifically, a detailed study of the first law of thermodynamics of the entire system is presented followed by a thorough analysis of the second law of thermodynamics of the complete system. Details of both discharge and charge cycles of the storage system are presented. The first and second law based efficiencies of the system are also presented along with parametric studies, which demonstrates the effects of various thermodynamic cycle variables on the total round-trip efficiency of compressed air energy storage systems.

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