‘A lot of work’ goes into generating power from compressed air
An energy-intensive energy-saving process known as thermal cycling is used to generate electricity from compressed, air-breathing gas, using a technique known as kinetic energy.
“The goal is to get as much heat and energy out of the gas as possible,” said Adam E. Ziemba, a professor at the University of Maryland and one of the inventors of the technique.
The process uses compressed air to be heated to nearly boiling point, and then the compressed air is compressed again, causing the heat and air to recombine into a gas that is then heated and released.
“We don’t have the technology to go out and generate electricity using compressed air, so the energy savings and the benefits are not very great,” Ziembe said.
The research, published in the Journal of the American Society for Testing and Materials, was led by Ziembo and researchers from the University at Buffalo, the University College of London, and the University in Pennsylvania.
“This is a really promising technique to use as an energy-efficient method for energy-capturing gas,” Zembo said.
“A lot more work needs to be done, but the research seems to be pretty promising.”
The technique has been used in other applications, including at nuclear power plants.
The researchers, along with others, have used the technique to capture and store heat from gas turbines to generate energy from compressed wind turbines.
But it has not been widely used for powering homes.
“There is a lot of research that is still being done on thermal cycling to create more energy from less energy, and that is really promising,” said Andrew B. Brown, director of the Materials Research Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the research.
“But in the meantime, we have no choice but to be as energy-intense as possible.”
In other words, if you are using gas to heat a home, you have to use a lot more energy.
So Ziembba and his colleagues took a step toward making that transition.
“For us to get to a good level of energy efficiency, you need to be able to take the same amount of energy you get from the gas and convert it to electricity,” he said.
But the process still involves a lot, Ziembs said.
That’s because the gas that’s captured must be cooled to a temperature below absolute zero, which takes about one to two minutes.
That process converts about 80 percent of the energy produced by the gas into heat, while the rest is dissipated in the air.
The remaining 20 percent is converted to electricity.
“If you heat a small room to about a hundred degrees Celsius, the cooling will make the air and the gas to condense, and you have about the same heat energy,” Zielba said.
And, because there’s a lot heat and a lot energy to dissipate, the condensation is more efficient at cooling the air than the heat energy, which is what you need for a gas turbine.
The researchers hope to eventually convert their process to use for producing electricity from gas in buildings. “
However, in the context of making electric vehicles, you can use it to make more power than you would have otherwise.”
The researchers hope to eventually convert their process to use for producing electricity from gas in buildings.
The method could potentially be used in buildings as well.
The new method has a number of potential uses for electric vehicles that use compressed air for cooling, but for now, Zielbba said he’s focused on the residential use.
“In the future, this may be the way to go,” he added.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘pure’ or ‘pure energy,’ because there are many applications that could benefit from it.”
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