Pumped air energy storage plans down under

A Canadian start-up has announced plans to support Australian renewables with a novel pumped air energy storage facility.

Hydrostor plans to build a pumped air 5MW demonstration project located in the exhausted Angas Zinc Mine shaft.

Pumped air storage uses surplus electricity, often sourced from wind turbines and solar panels, to pump air into an underground cavern.

Hydrostor’s pumped air method reduces costs by using equipment already developed by the mining and oil and gas industries – unlike some other air-storage ventures, it excavates its own caverns and doesn’t rely on specific geological features, thus avoiding being restricted to a limited number of potential sites.

It says air-storage is much better suited to long-duration storage than lithium-ion batteries.

The company will help pay for the project with a AUD$6 million (£3.3m) grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a AUD$3 million (£1.6m) award from South Australia’s Renewable Technology Fund.

It suggests the facility will soon enter construction phase and is planned to be completed by the mid-2020s.

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