Freeland, WA 5147 Honeymoon Bay Road

Compressed-Air Energy Storage (CAES)

A CAES facility consists of an electric generation system and an energy storage system. A CAES facility uses off-peak electricity available from wind and solar to compress air into the storage vessel. During peak-demand periods, compressed air will be released from the energy storage system, and used to drive high efficiency turbines to produce electricity. Since 1955, natural gas storage in the United States in underground geologic structures has been a proven technology.

CAES EESAT Publication

CAES, like natural gas storage in underground reservoirs is technically feasible in:

Since 1997, Hydrodynamics has conducted CAES research in all of these geological media for 3 private energy development companies and 10 major electric utilities. We conducted CAES siting studies in bedded salts in Nebraska, the Texas Panhandle, and West Texas. In 2002, we worked with the Iowa Stored Energy Plant Agency’s CAES aquifer project. The project consisted of deep exploration core drilling, ten miles of geophysical surveys, and complex CAES reservoir modeling. We have conducted CAES siting studies in depleted gas fields in Alberta Canada, Montana, Nebraska, and California. Selected candidate depleted gas fields were evaluated for CAES performance using numerical reservoir modeling. We also evaluated potential issues with air and natural gas mixing on CAES performance.


Hydrodynamics has demonstrated expertise and experience with solution mining of salt cavities, and exploration geophysics and core drilling to characterize aquifer and depleted gas fields for CAES. We have worked on the characterization and construction of the Norton Mine CAES power plant since 1999. Our numerical CAES system performance and chemical reaction modeling of air storage vessels using the TOUGH+Air code is a critical part of our CAES analysis.

The key to the success of the Hydrodynamics CAES team is the organization of our project team by the essential disciplines to:

  1. Evaluate the technical CAES feasibility of a candidate site,
  2. Conduct and analyze geophysical survey data for geological framework modeling,
  3. Model the CAES development and operation potential of a candidate site,
  4. Evaluate geotechnical and geochemical issues of CAES storage in aquifer and depleted gas field storage systems,
  5. Field test and ultimately develop a CAES storage vessel to operate commercially available CAES turbo-machinery,
  6. Air injection test program well design and construction engineering,
  7. CAES land rights support evaluation.