Ricardo To Help Develop "Wind Energy On Demand" System

February 11, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

General Compression and its compressor technology partner Mechanology Inc. are using Ricardo plc’s automotive engineering and development expertise to develop technology which aims to make wind power as reliable as conventional power.

General Compression’s proprietary Dispatchable Wind™ system carries the descriptive tagline ‘wind energy on demand’ because it decouples wind energy capture from electrical power generation by substituting the electric generators in its wind turbines with advanced compressor systems linked to a central high pressure compressed air reservoir at each wind farm. The reservoir acts as an energy buffer, storing compressed air which can be passed through an expander plant in order to generate electricity whenever it’s needed – not just when the wind is blowing.

Dispatchable Wind is based on the use of the innovative, high energy density Dragonfly™ compressor under development by Mechanology. Ricardo has been chosen by Mechanology to be one of its key product development partners to assist in developing the Dragonfly™ such that it will meet or exceed the rigors of round-the-clock operation with an expected life in excess of 20 years. Ricardo is applying its product engineering skills and practices in areas such as design optimization & material selection, performance modeling and analysis, mechanical dynamic analysis, reliability and robustness engineering, design for manufacture and cost optimization.

Commenting on the appointment of Ricardo as the product development partner to Mechanology on the Dragonfly™, Ricardo CEO Dave Shemmans said, "We are extremely pleased to have been appointed to assist in the development of the high energy density Dragonfly™ compressor that will be the centerpiece of General Compression’s Dispatchable Wind system, which aims to make wind power available on-demand. Renewable energy is just one of the clean technology areas in which Ricardo is now active, providing our advanced automotive engineering skills, technology and consultancy to the task of addressing global energy issues in a range of rapidly developing industrial sectors."