Chamisa Energy believes that compressed air energy storage (CAES) and pump hydro are the most flexible bulk electric storage technologies available today. CAES involves compressing air and storing that compressed air in subsurface storage spaces. This storage of air below ground is entirely similar to the storage of natural gas which is common practice in the energy industry.
The compressed air is released as needed, mixed with a small amount of natural gas, and used to fire a turbine that generates electricity. The reason that it is necessary to mix the compressed air with natural gas is to add heat to the expanded air, because the expanded air is cold.
Chamisa uses the Dresser-Rand SMARTCAESTM technology. This technology essentially splits a conventional gas turbine in half so that the compression side does not directly drive the combustion or expansion side of the turbine. This has several advantages, for example, the roundtrip efficiency of a CAES train is about 87% and the HHV is 4400. The train can run at all ambient temperatures and altitudes without any de-rate in output.
The Dresser-Rand CAES train can be configured so that one unit can compressor and generate simultaneously or it can be configured so that it only performs one function at a time - - i.e. it either compresses or it generates. A CAES train has a ramp rate of 26MW per minutes on the generating side with a rated output of 135 MW. On the compression side it can go from min IGV to max IGV within a minute. These configuration and performance parameters give Dresser-Rand SMARTCAESTM technology the flexibility to provide a wide array of electrical services: peaking, intermediate, base load, tolling and ancillary services. Finally, SMARTCAESTM has emissions controls that are capable of meeting all current regulatory requirements for NOx and CO limits.