After a general overview of Hybrid Power Plants (HPP) and Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES), the authors present a thermo-economic model for the simulation and optimization of a HPP consisting of a wind turbine coupled with CAES. In the proposed scheme, during periods of excess power production, atmospheric air is compressed in a multistage compressor and cooled; when there is power demand, the compressed air is heated in multiple expansion stages using the stored heat and conventional thermal sources. Such plants can offer significant benefits in terms of flexibility in matching a fluctuating power demand, particularly when renewable sources, characterized by high and often unpredictable variability, are utilized. The possible advantages in terms of energy and cost savings with respect to other solutions must be carefully assessed, critically depending on performance and efficiencies of each sub-system, most of them operating in transient and off-design conditions. To this purpose, a thermodynamic model composed of several sub-systems describing wind turbine, multi-stage compressor, intercooler, aftercooler, heat recovery system, compressed air storage and turbine has been developed in Matlab/Simulink® environment. In the paper, several scenarios are compared by simulation and optimization analysis and a parametric study of the plant performance with respect to the main design variables is presented.

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