Midwest Renewable-Energy Generation and Storage Solutions (Seed)
Today, wind energy must be piped to the grid as soon as it’s produced. The ability to store the energy would allow users to save for when the wind doesn’t blow — wind power harnessed during winter gale could run air conditioning on a windless summer.
Mizzou Advantage funded a team of interdisciplinary researchers to explore new ways to accomplish a viable storage solution for renewable energy. Advancements in storage capabilities of renewable energy would revolutionize the field of green energy.
Atmospheric scientist Neil Fox and engineering Professor Noah Manring have devised a system to store wind energy by pumping water into a water tower so it can be used for later hydroelectricity production.
The cycle starts when wind turns the blades of the windmill, powering a turbine that pumps water into a tower for storage. To produce energy later, the water is released, driving another turbine that creates electricity similar to a small-scale dam.
According to Fox, the water tower method could be a boon for rural towns burdened with steep electricity rates.
Fox is analyzing wind data from across the state to find the best place for the team to construct a turbine and test the idea. Meanwhile, Manring and Fox are working with an economist to determine if the concept would be a financially feasible option for small towns.