A coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical model of jointed hard rock for compressed air energy storage
Renewable energy resources such as wind and solar are intermittent, which causes instability when being connected to utility grid of electricity. Compressed air energy storage (CAES) provides an economic and technical viable solution to this problem by utilizing subsurface rock cavern to store the electricity generated by renewable energy in the form of compressed air. Though CAES has been used for over three decades, it is only restricted to salt rock or aquifers for air tightness reason. In this paper, the technical feasibility of utilizing hard rock for CAES is investigated by using a coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) modelling of nonisothermal gas flow. Governing equations are derived from the rules of energy balance, mass balance, and static equilibrium. Cyclic volumetric mass source and heat source models are applied to simulate the gas injection and production. Evaluation is carried out for intact rock and rock with discrete crack, respectively. In both cases, the heat and pressure losses using air mass control and supplementary air injection are compared.