Active Power Inc. (Austin, TX), a developer of battery-free, power quality products, announced its newest alternative energy storage technology, the CleanSource™ XR, which provides extended run times of lead-acid batteries without any of the well-known shortcomings. The new Thermal and Compressed Air Storage (TACAS) technology will be incorporated into Active Power’s new CleanSource XR product, which will begin shipping as an alpha unit late this year.
The CleanSource XR stores energy in the form of heat and compressed air. During a utility outage, the compressed air is routed through a thermal storage unit to acquire heat energy. The heated air spins a simple turbine-alternator to produce electric power. Air that exits the small turbine is below room temperature and can be used to cool the protected load. Tanks that store the compressed air become cold during discharge, absorbing heat from the ambient environment and ultimately converting this heat into additional backup power. CleanSource XR also contains a small, continuous-duty flywheel that handles small fluctuations in power and supports the critical load during the brief period required for the air turbine to reach full speed in the case of an extended outage.
Used almost universally in uninterruptible power supply systems, the TACAS technology is expected to be competitive in cost and footprint to backup power batteries without the HAZMAT or environmental issues. The new system will handle the same challenging range of ambient temperatures and step-loads as Active Power’s flywheel-based products. Unlike flywheels, however, a single TACAS module will provide up to 15 minutes of backup power at full load, and can be configured to provide up to several hours of backup power for lighter loads.