Optimizing Compressed Air Storage for Energy Efficiency 2011-01-0323
Compressed air storage is an important, but often misunderstood, component of compressed air systems. This paper discusses methods to properly size compressed air storage in load-unload systems to avoid short cycling and reduce system energy use. First, key equations relating storage, pressure, and compressed air flow are derived using fundamental thermodynamic relations. Next, these relations are used to calculate the relation between volume of storage and cycle time in load-unload compressors. It is shown that cycle time is minimized when compressed air demand is 50% of compressor capacity. The effect of pressure drop between compressor system and storage on cycle time is discussed. These relations are used to develop guidelines for compressed air storage that minimize energy consumption. These methods are demonstrated in two case study examples.