Compressed Air Energy Storage

Compressed Air Energy Storage

A Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) facility consists of an electric generation system and an energy storage system. A CAES facility uses off-peak electricity available from wind at night and on weekends to compress air into the storage vessel. During peak-demand periods, compressed air will be released from the energy-storage system, heated by combustion of natural gas, and used to drive high efficiency turbines to produce electricity. Natural gas storage in the United States in underground geologic structures is a proven technology since 1955. CAES, like natural gas storage in underground reservoirs is technically feasibility in:

Hydrodynamics has conducted CAES research in all of these geological media since 1997 for 3 private energy development companies, and 10 major electric utilities. We conducted CAES siting studies in bedded salts in Nebraska, the Texas Panhandle, and West Texas. We have been working with the Iowa Stored Energy Plant Agency’s Dallas Center, Iowa CAES aquifer project since 2002. The project consisted of deep exploration core drilling, ten miles of geophysical surveys, and complex CAES reservoir modeling. We have conducted CAES siting studies in depleted gas fields in Alberta, Canada, Montana, Nebraska, and California. Selected candidate depleted gas fields were evaluated for CAES performance using numerical reservoir modeling. We also evaluated potential issues with air and natural gas mixing on CAES performance.

Hydrodynamics has demonstrated expertise and experience with solution mining of salt cavities, and exploration geophysics and core drilling to characterize aquifer and depleted gas fields for CAES. We have worked on the characterization and construction of the Norton Mine CAES power plant since 1999. Our numerical CAES system performance and chemical reaction modeling of air storage vessels using the TOUGH+Air code is a critical part of any CAES analysis.

Our Major Compressed Air Energy (CAES) Storage Projects

Salt Cavities

  • Austin Power CAES Siting Study
  • Chasima Energy West Texas Study
  • Ireland CAES Site Analysis
  • Range Energy


  • Brocton and Hume Illinois CAES Project
  • Duke Energy
  • EPRI Pittsfield CAES Field Test Program
  • Iowa Dallas Center CAES Project
  • Vincent Structure Iowa Project


  • CAES Aquifer Storage System Optimization Study

  • First Energy CAES Norton Mine Project

Depleted Gas Fields

  • Gaelectric, Ltd. Montana CAES Depleted Gas Field Analysis
  • Nebraska Public Power District CAES Candidate Site Analysis
  • Nicor Pittsfield Commercial CAES Feasibility Analysis
  • Pacific Gas & Electric CAES Analysis
  • Southern California Edison CAES Siting Study