Antwerp, Belgium, 22 August, 2016: In Biasca, Switzerland, an innovative way of storing renewable energy is being developed. In an old transportation tunnel of the Gotthard tunnel tests are done to store hot compressed air and release it to the power grid when necessary. Two Atlas Copco Rental compressors provide the oil-free air needed for these tests. If the test succeeds, the first steps towards efficiently storing excess energy will be taken.
The idea to store compressed air underground is not new. Already in the late seventies researchers tried to store compressed air and use it as a power source. However, these ways of storing were not efficient since a lot of air and heat was lost during the process.
“We at ALACAES, supported by the Swiss government, are researching if we can increase the efficiency by storing not only the compressed air itself but also the heat generated in the process. Therefore we have created a hi-tech test cell inside this former transport tunnel of the Gotthard tunnel,” says Zanganeh.
Not only the set-up is quite extraordinary, so is the location. The test cell is set up in Biasca, Switzerland, in a 20 year old transportation passway of the Gotthard tunnel. This small tunnel is only around 5 m diameter at its widest point and was originally dug out to transport rocks and other debris from the construction of the Gotthard tunnel. You can still see this debris just opposite of the tunnel, where a green plateau was crafted with it.
If the test is successful, Giw Zanganeh and his team will have found an efficient way to store energy. Storing energy efficiently is one of the largest challenges in the ‘Energiewende’ since a lot of sustainable energy sources such as solar or wind power have high peaks with a lot of excess power.
Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and services focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2015, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 102 (BEUR 11) and more than 43 000 employees. Learn more at www.atlascopcogroup.com. Specialty Rental is a division within Atlas Copco’s Construction Technique business area. It serves customers in the industry segments around the world with temporary air and power rental solutions. The specialty rental services are offered under several brands. The divisional headquarters is located in Houston, USA. Learn more at www.atlascopcorental.com