Stanford, UC Santa Cruz study explores ramifications of demand-driven peak to conventional oil
GM, Honda to collaborate on next-generation fuel cell technologies; targeting commercial feasibility in 2020 time frame

Dresser-Rand awarded $200M Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) project; 1st US CAES since 1991

Dresser-Rand Group Inc. received a project award from Apex Compressed Air Energy Storage, LLC for the supply of equipment to be used in a new 317 MW compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility to be constructed near Tennessee Colony, Texas in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market.

The Apex Bethel Energy Center would be the first CAES facility to be built in the United States since the Power South facility in McIntosh Alabama, which was built in 1991 and also contains Dresser-Rand turbo machinery. The Dresser-Rand related contract is valued at approximately $200 million.

This project award is of strategic as well as financial significance to our company. First, it validates the view that the value of large energy storage in the form of CAES is a viable economic investment. As explained over the past several years, we have been working with numerous clients to support their research of this bulk storage option. This order from Apex, affirms the value proposition of CAES.

Secondly, we are pleased that we have been chosen by Apex on this important project, which we believe will lead to further CAES projects in the coming years. We believe this order represents the first step in the development of a compelling market opportunity.

Dresser-Rand continues to expand outside of the oil and gas supply chain into the greater energy infrastructure market through participation and investment in the environmental solutions power space by supplying high speed rotating equipment and services solutions. We believe our evolution is an important differentiator from companies whose revenue streams depend principally on one or a few specific segments within energy infrastructure. Our participation in CAES further strengthens this approach, which is the result of a conscious strategic effort undertaken several years ago by the company.

—Vincent R. Volpe Jr, President and CEO

We are very pleased to introduce the SMARTCAES technology and to be working with Apex to bring this exciting technology to market. We believe we are on the cusp of the re-emergence of the use of this environmentally-friendly power generation technology. A CAES system provides two different services either sequentially or concurrently—high pressure air compression and electric power generation derived from expanding the compressed air. Industry sources estimate that there are more than 40 such projects being contemplated over the next 5 to 10 years. A number of these potential projects are linked to growth in renewable power generation sources such as wind and solar farms.

—Jim Heid, Dresser-Rand’s Senior Vice President, CAES Development

Dresser-Rand’s SMARTCAES includes not only the rotating equipment, but all ancillary services as well—the heat exchange equipment, pollution abatement system, and the plant controls, with performance guarantees (both compression and power generation modes).

Dresser-Rand will manufacture the compression and expansion trains for the Bethel Energy Center at its facilities in Olean and Wellsville, NY. The project scope also includes transportation of the equipment to the Texas site, testing, placement in operation, and training.

Dresser-Rand is among the largest suppliers of rotating equipment solutions to the worldwide oil, gas, petrochemical, and process industries.



The best expander heat rate appears to be slightly more than 4000 BTU/kWh, which does not include the energy required to compress and store the air.  Figure the expander gas-to-electric efficiency at 80-85%.

This is certainly a more attractive scheme for grid regulation with wind power than simple-cycle gas turbines.  Being able to vary the compressor load from 65-100% in 1 minute is going to eliminate headaches, as will the ability to run an excess of total generation over net grid demand.  But without knowing the net efficiency (kWh in vs. kWh out), it's not clear how well this is going to address the overall problem.

Kit P

“This is certainly a more attractive scheme for grid regulation with wind power than simple-cycle gas turbines.”

The grid is regulated by steam plants in a load following mode. SSGT are used for backup if the steam plant would trip off line.


Regardless of how the grid is regulated now, it may be more cost-effective to use CAES in the regulation role because it can ramp faster and does not require other plants to be operated off their optimum efficiency point.

The comments to this entry are closed.