Dresser-Rand acquires CAES technology

Dresser-Rand has purchased all patents, trademarks and other intellectual property associated with compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology developed by Mikhail Nakhamkin, and is retaining Dr. Nakhamkin, owner Energy Storage and Power LLC (ES&P), as a consultant.

(A second generation CAES using air injection)

Nakhamkin has developed the second generation of CAES technology that promises significant performance, operational and economic advantages to serve renewable and smart grids. This technology provides load management of renewable and base power plants, efficient storage of off-peak and return peak energy and enhances smart grid operation by instant energy regulation and synchronous reserve, and enhances distribution generation.

Advanced second generation CAES is scalable from 3 MW to 430 MW per unit, has good storage capacity at relatively low costs and the technology can be optimized easily for specific site conditions. It has a fast start-up and about 60-70% of the load regulation takes place within 10-20 seconds. With nominal heat rates of ~3800 Btu/kWhrs and a green air storage cycle, it delivers 90 percent efficiency and can also double up as a synchronous condenser.

Reliable and economic

A typical advanced second generation CAES technology uses standard industry proven equipment components to deliver a reliable and economic compressed air energy plant. The key power generation components are either a new or existing combustion turbine to provide power and waste heat with a simple air-to-air heat exchanger, multiple air expanders for driving electric generators, with air extraction for the combustion turbine power augmentation.

The energy storage is conducted by multiple standard, industrial, motor-driven compressors, compressing the air and directing into the compressed air energy storage. Compressed air storage for the larger units will be underground and for smaller units, steel pipes and vessels can be used.

Dresser-Rand will now be able to provide the smallest to the largest CAES projects to meet specific grid scale requirements.  Dresser-Rand will provide complete CAES solutions from conceptual design through project optimization in addition to provision of equipment supply, engineering services and a full range of aftermarket services for its entire CAES product line. Aftermarket services also include long-term maintenance agreements.

According to James Heid, Dresser-Rand's Vice President of Business Solutions, CAES is an enabling technology that allows clients to store bulk electrical power on a utility scale and withdraw it on demand when the power is needed. It also provides a much needed load source when in compression mode that prevents curtailment of renewables and base load electrical generation. CAES also provides ancillary services/electrical products necessary to ensure the consistent deployment of renewable energy.

Heid said there will be a strong market for energy storage in the form of CAES in the near and longer-term. “We view the technology developed by Dr. Nakhamkin as complementary to the base technology we presently offer and which has been successfully operating for over 20 years." Dresser-Rand is expecting the first CAES order possibly in the latter part of 2012 or early 2013.