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Canadian underwater ESS whets appetite for grid scale energy storage

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 10:48 -- paul Crompton
Canadian underwater ESS whets appetite for grid scale energy storage

A unique two-year pilot test to gauge the effectiveness of a compressed air energy storage system has begun in Canada.

Toronto’s Hydrostor founders Curtis VanWalleghem and Cameron Lewis unveiled their underwater compressed air energy storage (CEAS) system on November 18.

The system, located three kilometres off Toronto Island, will be used to stablise electricity utilities firm Toronto Hydro’s grid during peak times.

The ESS works by storing compressed air in a balloon-like structure 55 metres under Lake Ontario. When the energy is required the weight of the water is used to push the air to the surface through a pipe where an expander coverts the air back into electricity.

At peak output the storage unit is capable of 660kW, and is able to run for little more than a hour, depending on how much power is drawn, say the firm.

VanWalleghem said the firm is now focused on commercialising the green technology globally.

Anthony Haines, President and CEO, Toronto Hydro, said: “We have been very busy exploring new ways to power our grid, and I think this is the most creative project we’ve been involved in so far.”

In 1978, the world’s first CEAS was built in Huntorf, Germany, capable of storing 290-megawatt of energy.