Energy storage becomes increasingly important in balancing electricity supply and demand due to the rise of intermittent power generation from renewable sources. The compressed air energy storage (CAES) system as one of the large scale (>100MW) energy storage technologies has been commercially deployed in Germany and the USA. However, the efficiency of current commercial CAES plants still needs to be improved. In this study, an integrated system consisting of a CAES system and an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) was proposed to recover the waste heat from intercoolers and aftercooler in the charging process and exhaust stream of the recuperator in discharging process of the CAES system. Steady state process models of the CAES system and ORC were developed in Aspen Plus®. These models were validated using data from the literature and the results appear in a good agreement. Process analysis was carried out using the validated models regarding the impact of different organic working fluids (R123, R134a, R152a, R245fa, R600a) of ORC and expander inlet pressures of the ORC on system performance. It was found that integrating ORC with the CAES system as well as selecting appropriate working fluid was a reasonable approach for improving performance of the CAES system. The round-trip efficiency was improved by 3.32–3.95% using five working fluids, compared to that of the CAES system without ORC. Economic evaluation on levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) was performed using Aspen Process Economic Analyser® (APEA). Different working fluids in ORC and different power sources (e.g. wind and solar) associated with the integrated system were considered to estimate the LCOEs. It was found that the LCOEs for the integrated system were competitive with fossil-fuel fired power and even lower than offshore wind power and solar power. The proposed research presented in this paper hopes to shed light on how to improve efficiency and reduce cost when implementing CAES.

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