London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
First time founder
I am an inventor who has patents on a way of modifying power plants to work with wind and solar energy.
My background is in law - I am a qualified English lawyer who has worked in insurance, regulatory, and criminal law, and I also have qualifications in economics/finance.
My invention is a compressed air energy storage system which can take the exhaust steam from most thermal power plants and use it as a heat source. Essentially, like other CAES plants it compresses air off peak and recovers energy on peak. However, it also replaces (or supplements) the condenser of a conventional thermal plant during its operation. This can effectively double the output of the steam turbine without any additional emissions.
To recover that 'phase change' energy at a useful temperature, it uses nozzles to temporarily accelerate the air, which depressurises and loses temperature. This means the air can absorb more heat from the steam. We do this in a number of stages to prevent the pipes from freezing the steam. Once the air has recovered enough energy, we slow it back in more nozzles to around its original pressure and speed. The air then becomes hot, and can be used in an expander turbine. Typically, after first condensing, we expand the air from 50 to 5 bars, then we reheat the air in a second low pressure condenser before expanding the air from 5 bars to atmospheric.
The compressor stage typically uses intercooling to reduce energy requirements. Alternatively, we can recover the heat of compression in a flow of steam and recover this in the steam turbine which may be idle or operating at reduced capacity off peak. We recover nearly as much energy from the steam as we use to compress the air, which gives very competitive efficiency levels for the air system.
The system is likely to be substantially cheaper and more cost effective than existing energy storage methods, and the efficiency levels of the complete cycle (air system plus thermal plant) are comparable or exceed those of hydroelectric pumped storage, the most ubiquitous and arguably the benchmark energy storage technology.
I am looking for investor partners with a keen interest in green energy (or affordable and secure energy) to help me develop the idea and bring it to market. Really, the only novel component is the air condenser which comprises a set of air pipes with nozzles and straight sections for absorbing heat. I envisage the following stages:
1. An initial paper / CFD study to provide written technical validation of the condenser and also to provide a detailed specification of the condenser pipe design. I have informal results already from several sources. I anticipate this may take about a month.
2. Once the pipe design is clearly specified, several physical test pieces will be produced. An actual condenser would need quite a large number of these pipes, but for testing purposes, one high pressure (50 bar) and one low pressure (5 bar) pipe will be needed. These pipes will probably be made of copper and have external fins. The pipes will then be placed inside a container or outer pipe to mimic a condenser, and pressurised air, and low temperature and pressure steam added. This testing work could occur in commercially available high pressure research facilities. This stage may take several months to organise getting the pipes manufactured, and several days of testing.
3. The next stage will be to physically prototype the system. It is likely to be fitted to an existing power plant and receive the exhaust steam during peak times. This stage will almost certainly involve an existing power plant owner.
The system could potentially work with any steam or Rankine cycle plant including existing fossil fuel plants (biomass, combined cycle gas turbines) geothermal, nuclear, or emission free hydrogen oxygen turbines or plants fitted with carbon capture and storage or Graz cycle emission free technology.
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