Survivalist Forum banner
  • Are you passionate about survivalism? Would you like to write about topics that interest you and get paid for it? Read all about it here!
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched for this but if I missed it and it’s already out there sorry. I was wondering if anyone had considered using compressed air as a way to store energy. My father had cabinets built by an Amish cabinet shop, when we were in their shop I noticed a lot of their equipment was run by compressors, if solar panels were used to power an air compressor to fill a large tank/tanks then the air could run machines at night instead of using batteries. I also thought that it could be used to generate electricity. Batteries eventually die, how long do you think it would stay pressurized before it went bad? Do you think a large tank would be more expensive than a bank of batteries? Any thoughts or additions?
 

·
Gun Luvin Hippie
Joined
·
231 Posts
Air compressors are very useful and deserve a place in the tool shed at one's BOL. However the electricity required to power even a small portable compressor would require a large solar array on a sunny day. Compressed air is not the best form of stored energy either. A 50 gallon tank(think oil drum) of compressed air can be depleted in 30 minutes while just using a nail gun. Think how fast a continuous running appliance like a small generator or saw would deplete that stored air. 5 minutes at the most. You would require a small barn of heavy steel compressed air tanks to run a pneumatic tool/appliance for any period of time. logistically I just don't see it being feasible.

I've often wondered about the longevity of batteries and how to deal with out them. Before batteries folks harnessed hydraulic power from rivers and creeks with amazing success. Entire work shops and factories were built next to creeks to power sewing machines, grain mills, power hammers and anything else that could be driven by a belt or wooden gear. There is a historical farm 1hr drive from my home and the care taker still rips wooden planks on the water powered table saw. The small blacksmith shop still runs off creek water. It would be much easier and efficient to manage a long section of water pipe that turns equipment than to build a barn full of compressed air tanks and the long wait to fill them up for only a few hours of operation.

the water powered 1800's table saw. The metal drum on the concrete pillar is where the water pipes in, turns a fan like blade and then exits out a pipe on the other side. The large brown disk to the left of the drum is a flywheel designed to give the hole system more inertia. The rest of the saw is pretty basic. All the care taker does is turn open the water valve and the blade start turning faster and faster. This basic design can be applied to generators, water pumps and so on.

Kudos for thinking out of the box.
 

·
454
Joined
·
177 Posts
Compressed air is a very inefficient form of power. What you are contemplating would not practical at all. However air is very handy for the shop. I have thought for a long time about setting a compressor up on a windmill.

Pan
 

·
Alrighty then
Joined
·
274 Posts
^^^ Agreed !

If battery life is a worry for you and what you are really looking for is long term reliable battery storage then your going to have to bite the bullet and go with some Ni-Fe batteries...... you can abuse the hell out of them with solar arrays, generators or what ever else you want to beat on them with, and decades from now after your dead and gone, your kids can continue abusing them for multiple decades more until they join you.

They are pricey but they last 100+ years. You never have to worry about them except for adding a little distilled water every now and then.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, thanks for your thoughts, I've also worked as an electrician in a few places where they have Air tanks about 6 ft across maybe 8 ft long, the compressor wasn't very big although it was 208V, but they ran all kinds of different machines off of them all day and the compressor didn’t come on too often, what’s a big compressor (not industrial) draw like 13-16 Amps at start up, maybe 2-5 while running at 120V, if it was a 240V compressor it would draw less. So like a 30 panel off grid system with batteries would be able to handle that, and I wasn't thinking of entirely omitting batteries, keep things like lights or heaters on them or whatever, but once they are fully charged where does the surplus energy go? Why not store it an air tank? I can see a nailer or air hammer using a lot of air, but once you get a fly wheel going it shouldn’t' take that as much as that to keep it going, its like the hydraulic power thing, shouldn't you harness as much energy to do as much as you can? And if the batteries go you sort of have another back up? Is it bad to keep the tank fully compressed I only have a 10 gal compressor, but I've been told I should release the pressure when not in use.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top