Compressed air in the works for Canadian wind power storage.

Dan Chapman wants to put a fridge-sized battery in an apartment building
and fill it up with electricity from solar panels on the roof so that at
night, there’s plenty of power.

Or, a grocery store could lower its power bill by using the super-size
battery to store power at night when the price is low and use it in the
daytime when electricity rates on the grid soar too high.

Calgary-based TransAlta is bringing this new technology, made by
California-based electric carmaker Tesla, to Alberta as part of the
province’s push to increase the amount of renewable energy in the province,
says Chapman, TransAlta’s chief engineer.

The biggest problem with renewable energy like wind and solar is the
unstable supply — when the wind dies or clouds move in, the power stops,
says Mark Summers with the government research agency Alberta Innovates,
Energy and Environment Solutions.

So the agency put out a proposal call, with a $250,000 prize for each
winner, for new technology to solve the storage problems, smooth out supply
and develop technology appropriate to Alberta’s private electricity market.

Chapman was in California this spring when Tesla unveiled its revolutionary
local-use big battery technology and made a deal to bring the new product

(Tesla also unveiled a smaller version, called a power wall, that lets a
homeowner store energy right in the house for use later.)

TransAlta hasn’t identified a business or apartment site to test the
commercial use of the big batteries to be built by Tesla.

But it will install batteries at its Blue Trail wind farm near Fort Macleod.

The idea is to prove the batteries are capable of smoothing out the wind
power supply by storing the excess power which could also be sold when
electricity is at peak demand times and thereby maximize revenues.

If you don’t like the idea of large, expensive, chemical-based batteries,
there’s another option — compressed air modules stuffed into shipping

Nova Scotia-based Unify Energy won $250,000 for a compressed air project in
that province using new technology also from a California firm, Light Sail.

The project will attach to a wind farm enough shipping containers to store
electricity to run 200 houses for eight hours, Sebastian Manchester said in
a telephone interview.

“Twenty modules could help integrate a pretty big wind farm,” said
Manchester, adding that he is looking for partners in Alberta.

These compressed air shipping containers are much bigger than Tesla’s
fridge-sized batteries. But they are also much cheaper to manufacture, use
readily available materials and can store about as much power, he said.

The compressed air is put into carbon fibre storage units inside the
shipping container at 3,000 PSI.

The system is high-efficient as heat generated by compressing the air is
stored in water and used later to decompress the air when electricity is

Three other winners are ZincNyx Energy Solution, University of Calgary with
large scale liquid batteries, Ambri and Eguana Technologies.

The companies have two years to complete their projects.

On Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 2:29 PM, archer75--- via Mercedes <> wrote:

> Rich wrote:
> > What voltage does the Pious battery pack run at?
> G: 288v
>   Would it be possible
> > to tap an inverter straight into it?
> G: There has been a recent discussion about that possibility but I haven't
> been following it. I vaguely remember the major problem was that the AC
> current produced by the main inverter that runs the traction motor, water
> pump, and air conditioner; (there are no belts); is that it is three phase.
> They also discussed tapping straight off the battery to a separate inverter
> but ran into potential problems with that approach as well.
>   Do those packs go bad or wear down
> > after a time?
> G: they are warranted for 150,000 miles or ten years if purchased in
> California, Pennsylvania, and several other states. The rest are warranted
> for 100,000 miles or 8 years. DIYers often take the batteries apart and
> test the individual modules; replacing the bad ones with good modules from
> the junkyards or buying new modules for $45. There aren't a lot of modules.
> Rebuilt batteries are about $1700; new about $3000. Most last beyond the
> warrantee period under normal use.
>  Buy a used one for cheepcheep and turn it into a rolling
> > emerg system?  I have read that some guys mod them for charging from the
> > mains, that would make it easy to keep topped off with mains or solar or
> > whatever power source, in addition to gasoline.
> G: Go to and type in "output of prius generator". There are
> several articles there by people who did just that.
> Note: The inverter that changes battery DC to 3 phase AC is enclosed in a
> large module that has it's own liquid cooling system. I wonder if an
> inverter handling the high output of a Prius generator feeding a house
> would also need a liquid cooling system?
> "Prius_Technical_Stuff" on Yahoogroups ( is the
> group to which I belong.
> is a larger and more generalized group which also has a
> lot of technical info.
> Gerry
> _______________________________________
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