If you’ve ever driven by an industrial plant, you’ve probably noticed big white plumes rising from the tops of the facilities. While it might look like smoke or pollution at first glance, most of the time those white plumes are comprised of steam and heat, or what Ener-G-Rotors CEO Michael Newell calls waste heat. Mike and the researchers of Ener-G-Rotors are finding ways to use this escaped steam and turn it into energy.
Earlier this week, we told you about a new company that’s developing battery technology that will allow energy storage for multiple hours on the power grid. General Compression is another innovative company that’s developing a different way to store electricity by using compressed air energy storage, or CAES. The technology uses cheap power to pump air into natural underground caverns, and then releases it to turn a turbine when power demands are at their peak. Basically, when the wind blows too hard, wind energy is stored as compressed air. When the wind doesn’t blow hard enough, compressed air is expanded to generate power – all without burning any fuel.
Naperville, Illinois is improving their long-term electricity distribution through the implementation of the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI) -- to the tune of $3million in savings over a 15-year period.