Science Foundation Arizona announced five new solar investments totaling $4 million and the opening of the Solar Technology Institute (STI).
One of the projects is Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES): Southwest Solar Technologies, the U.S. Geological Survey, UA and ASU are developing compressed air solar storage technology for use when the Sun is not shining. Other partners include Simmons, Nanovoltaix, and Eusthatia.
The basic idea is to use solar energy to pump air into some kind of geologic reservoir or void during the day, building up pressure, so that during the night (or other times the Sun is not shining), the pressurized air can be released to turn an electric generator. [right, compressed air energy storage in a limestone cavern. Credit, Sandia National Lab]