Saturday, April 11, 2009

Filling up my Air Engine Tank from a Hole in the Ground

First, let’s give credit where credit is due. I’d like to thank my good friend, Didier (, for coming up with this idea (and also the title of this article). This is a very insightful idea, Didier; and I’m sure that you, the readers of this blog, will agree with the points raised here.

Imagine, sometime in the very near future, that you are driving down the highway in your brand new Air Car and you suddenly need to stop to fill up your compressed air tank. Where would you go? Some would point out that you’d have to stop at a “Gas Station” along the way and park beside the slot reserved for filling air into tires and use the air hose to fill up your tank. This is probably what would happen in the near future.

But can you imagine filling up at a Compressed Air Powered Electrical Plant? This Idea may not be so farfetched at all! In one of my earlier posts, “Using Compressed Air to Store up Electricity”, Matthew Wald, the author of that article, mentioned that the Alabama Electric Cooperative, in McIntosh Alabama, utilizes a plant that powered by compressed air. A similar system is currently being employed at the Iowa Stored Energy Park. A 2007 Businessweek article entitled “Catching the Wind in a Bottle” mentions that a coalition of local utilities in Iowa is building a system that will steer surplus electricity generated by a nearby windmill farm to a big air compressor located underground, near a deep well. The compressed air is, then, stored and used when the demand for power rises. A whoosh of air flows back up the pipe (much like a balloon releasing air) into a natural-gas-fired turbine, boosting its efficiency by upwards of 60%.

Interestingly, the two plants I mentioned above produce more air than their tanks will ever need. With this in mind, it might be worthwhile to build other tanks for the purpose of filling up our Air Car Tanks. And, a cost efficient Air Refilling Station is born! The possibilities are endless when we’re finally Running on Air!


willowdan said...

This should be an interesting set-up once we're full blast ...

Charlie said...

Did MDI do a production run of 50 AirPods in Spring 2009 like they had intended? I haven't seen anything about them.

How are the 6 months tests at Air France and KLM that were to start in April been doing? Any word on actual observed operating range?