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Transp Porous Med (2008) 73:1–20

DOI 10.1007/s11242-007-9156-x
Steady Periodic Gas Flow Around a Well of a CAES
Plant
Roy Kushnir · Amos Ullmann · Abraham Dayan
Received: 11 April 2007 / Accepted: 6 July 2007 / Published online: 14 August 2007
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007
Abstract The design of a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plant requires
knowledge of the pressure and temperature variations within the reservoir, for
expected sets of plant operation. In the current work, a closed form approximate
analytical solution for the pressure variations, in porous media reservoirs, was derived
for conditions of steady periodic isothermal radial gas flow. Two different expressions
for the pressure variation were obtained, one as an infinite series and the other as
an integral, where the latter is the computationally preferred solution. In order to
evaluate the model accuracy, a finite difference numerical solution of the full non-
linear problem was developed. The accuracy of the analytical solution was confirmed
through, both, error analysis and comparison against the numerical calculations. The
analytical solution can be used to calculate the well pressure variations and the ra-
dius of the active region around the well. Examples of calculations are provided, and
a parametric study is presented to demonstrate the sensitivity of the well pressure
to pertinent parameters. The model could eventually yield improved CAES plant
designs.
Keywords Compressed air energy storage (CAES) · Gas storage · Compressible gas
flow · Porous reservoirs · Nonlinear diffusion equation · Periodic boundary condition
Nomenclature
C Constant, C = e
γ
= 1.781072 . . .
CD Charging discharging time ratio
f Porosity
F(t

) Dimensionless well mass flow rate
F
B
Function defined in Eq. 28
R. Kushnir · A. Ullmann (B) · A. Dayan
Department of Fluid Mechanics and Heat transfer, School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
e-mail: ullmann@eng.tau.ac.il
2 R. Kushnir et al.
h Well screen length
k Permeability
˙ m
c
Compressor mass flow rate
˙ m

c
Dimensionless compressor mass flow rate,
˙ m
c
µZRT
πhkP
2
0
N
ν
(x) Function defined in Eq. 20
p Pressure
P
0
Reservoir initial pressure
p

Dimensionless pressure, p/P
0
r Radial coordinate
r
w
Well radius
r

Dimensionless radial coordinate, r/r
w
R Specific gas constant
R Penetration radius
R

Dimensionless penetration radius, R/r
w
t Time
t
p
Cycle time period
t

Dimensionless time, t/t
p
t

i
i = 1, 2, 3, dimensionless times, see Fig. 1
T Temperature
v
r
Gas radial superficial velocity
Z Gas compressibility factor
Greek Symbol
α
p
Pneumatic diffusivity, kP
0
/f µ
β Stretching parameter
φ
ν
(x) Function defined in Eq. 20
Modified pressure, defined in Eq. 13


Dimensionless modified pressure, /P
0
η Dimensionless coordinate, see Eq. 41
µ Gas viscosity
θ
n
Lag angle
ξ
n
Defined in Eq. 20
ρ Gas density
τ Dimensionless cycle time period, t
p
α
p
/r
2
w
Subscript
s Steady periodic condition
1 Introduction
The electric power consumption undergoes significant variations. It reaches its peak
during daylight and drops to its trough at nighttime. Storage of excess power capacity
during off peak hours is desirable for energy conservation and environmental protec-
tion purposes. It is also economical, since the stored energy is provided at marginal
costs. In principle, inexpensive off peak excess electrical energy is stored for subse-
quent use during hours of peak demand. In this respect, the Compressed Air Energy
Storage (CAES) facility is a highly attractive venue for having a well-managed power
generation. In a CAES plant, air is compressed into an underground reservoir through
the consumption of inexpensive excess electrical power. During peak hours, the
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 3
compressed air is fired to expand in a gas turbine for electrical power generation.
Three geologically different types of underground reservoirs are feasible: salt cav-
erns, hard rock caverns, and porous reservoirs (such as aquifers or depleted reser-
voirs). Previous investigations of CAES plants thermodynamic performance were
based on the assumption of constant pressure storage (e.g., Vadasz et al. 1989; Najjar
and Zaamout 1998). This assumption is viable for storage in hard rock caverns with
hydraulic compensation and, for certain conditions of porous media storage. The cur-
rent work is focused on porous reservoirs, and among others, examines the conditions
that conform to the assumption of constant pressure distribution. It is important to
note that experimental testing proved the technology viability without identification
of any contamination of the reservoir and stored air (Allen et al. 1984; ANR Storage
Company 1986).
Models of gas transport in porous reservoirs have been largely based on the Darcy
law. Accordingly, the isothermal transient compressible gas flow in porous media is
described by a nonlinear partial differential equation (Muskat 1937). A self-similar
solution of the equation exists for an infinite reservoir around a zero radius well
(Barenblatt et al. 1990). The solution is for a uniform initial pressure distribution
subject to a constant gas flow rate at the well. This solution, in some cases, could be
also applicable for non-zero well radius and bounded reservoirs. However, for time
dependent boundary conditions (such as in a CAES plant) a similarity solution does
not exist, and solution of the equation is likely to rely on approximate analytical
methods or numerical schemes.
A numerical study of the behavior and suitability of an aquifer based CAES was
conducted by Ayers (1982). The solution for the air pressure distribution around the
well was obtainedby a numerical integrationof the governing dimensional-differential
equation. Two models of isothermal airflow have been developed. The first is a one-
dimensional radial flow around a single well and the second is a two-dimensional
horizontal flow around a multiple-well system. These models were used to design a
well-field system for a 1000 MW 10-h CAES plant, for several potential sites.
Braester and Bear (1984) developed a two-dimensional isothermal gas flow model
for a partially penetrating single well subject to a daily periodic mass flow rate.
The model accounts for the location variation of the aquifer air-water interface.
The solution was obtained by the Galerkin finite-element method. In the range of
the parameters studied, the variations in the air-water interface were small. Whereas,
the pressure fluctuations at the well were pronouncedincases of short well penetration
(less than 20% of the gas layer height).
An approximate one-dimensional analytical solution for the isothermal radial flow
around a well was obtained by perturbation methods (Shnaid and Olek 1995). The
gas pressure was assumed as a sum of spatial averaged pressure and small pressure
perturbations. This assumption led to a linear equation of the pressure perturbation,
which was subsequently solved by an eigenfunction expansion. The results indicated
that the pressure transient triggered by the initial well flow quickly disappear, leaving
subsequently a stabilized gas flow regime which is governed by the Poisson equation
for the pressure perturbation. Separately, Olek (1998) used an eigenfunction expan-
sion to reduce the nonlinear one-dimensional isothermal radial flow equation to an
infinite system of initial value first-order ordinary differential equations. The latter
can be solved by standard numerical codes for various boundary conditions.
Sakakura (1953) analytically studied the transient behavior of radial gas flow, sub-
ject to a constant well pressure. Through a variable transformation, the nonlinear
4 R. Kushnir et al.
equation was reduced to a heat conduction equation with a variable diffusivity. A
solution was derived for constant diffusivity, and by using minimal and maximal dif-
fusivities the nonlinear effects on the transformed variable were found negligible.
Ritchie and Sakakura (1956) extended the solution to account for non-isothermal gas
flow and prescribed constant well mass flux. A similar approach was conducted in the
current work for periodic boundary conditions.
Inspection of the aforementioned models clearly indicates that a need for explicit
analytic formulae exists. Such formulae could be used to identify the influence of,
both, the reservoir characteristics and CAES plant operating conditions on the reser-
voir pressure. In order to address that need, the current work was undertaken with
the purpose of providing an analytical tool to calculate the steady periodic pressure
distribution around a well during CAES plant operations. An approximate analyti-
cal solution was developed for typical operating conditions; namely, two periods of
constant well mass flow rate for the charging and discharging phases and no flow
in between. Additionally, the operation is usually characterized by small pressure
fluctuations relative to the reservoir average pressure.
2 Problem Formulation
Consider a fully penetrated well located in a porous reservoir. During a CAES plant
operationair flows intoandout of the reservoir. It was shownthat for typical reservoirs,
the momentum equation reduces to the Darcy law equation (Shnaid and Olek 1995).
Hence, for radial gas flow, the continuity and momentum equations, subject to the
generalized gas state equation, are:
∂ (f ρ)
∂t
+
1
r
∂ (rρv
r
)
∂r
= 0 (1)
v
r
= −
k
µ
∂p
∂r
(2)
ρ =
p
ZRT
(3)
where v
r
is the gas radial superficial velocity, f and k are the mediumporosity and per-
meability, respectively. The remaining symbols are consistent with common notations.
The model is based on the assumption that the reservoir can adequately be repre-
sented as an isotropic and homogeneous porous space with, both, constant effective
porosity and permeability.
The airflow is essentially isothermal owing to, both, the air cooling immediately
after the compression stage, and the immense thermal inertia of the porous medium
(as compared to that of the gas). Indeed, field test data (Allen et al. 1984) revealed
that air temperature variations in the reservoir are minor when a compressor after
cooler is used. From the isothermal flow assumptions, it is also sensible to consider
the fluid viscosity as constant. Hence, substitution of Eqs. 2 and 3 into Eq. 1 yields the
following nonlinear partial differential equation
∂p
∂t
=
k
2µf
_

2
p
2
∂r
2
+
1
r
∂p
2
∂r
_
(4)
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 5
The pertinent initial and boundary conditions are
at t = 0 p = P
0
(5)
at r = r
w
ρv
r
(2πrh) = ˙ m
c
F(t) (6)
at r →∞ p →P
0
(7)
where h is the well screen length (here, equal to the gas layer height), and the product
˙ m
c
F(t) represents the gas mass flow rate at the well during plant operation ( ˙ m
c
is the
compressor mass flow rate, and F(t) is a dimensionless periodic function with a time
period t
p
). Initially the reservoir gas pressure is uniformly P
0
. Given that the pressure
fluctuations are smaller than P
0
, the compressibility factor is approximately constant
and evaluated according to Z = Z(T, P
0
). In contrast to previous investigations
that addressed closed finite reservoirs (e.g, Shnaid and Olek 1995), an unbounded
reservoir is studied. The latter produces simpler formsolutions that apply to bounded
wells provided that the reservoir radius is larger than the fluctuating gas penetration
radii (the effective region for gas storage around the well).
The dimensionless formof Eqs. 4–7 when P
0
, r
w
and t
p
are the pressure, length and
time scales, respectively, is
∂p

∂t

=
τ
2
_

2
p
∗2
∂r
∗2
+
1
r

∂p
∗2
∂r

_
(8)
at t

= 0 p

= 1 (9)
at r

= 1
∂p
∗2
∂r

= − ˙ m

c
F(t

) (10)
at r

→∞ p

→1 (11)
where
p


p
P
0
, r


r
r
w
, t


t
t
p
, τ ≡
t
p
kP
0
r
2
w
µf

t
p
α
p
r
2
w
, ˙ m

c

˙ m
c
µZRT
πhkP
2
0
(12)
Equations 8–11 could be reduced to a simpler formthrough introduction of a modified
pressure “”, according to
p
2
= P
2
0
+P
0
i.e. p
∗2
= 1 +

(13)
Such a variable change is commonly used in non linear heat conduction problems
(Carslaw and Jaeger 1959). In effect

is a mass flux potential. Substitution of
Eq. 13 into Eqs. 8–11, yields
6 R. Kushnir et al.


∂t

= p

τ
_

2


∂r
∗2
+
1
r



∂r

_
(14)
at t

= 0

= 0 (15)
at r

= 1


∂r

= − ˙ m

c
F(t

) (16)
at r

→∞

→0 (17)
In terms of the modified pressure, the nonlinearity is represented solely by the
coefficient p

τ. As aforementioned, realistically, the pressure fluctuations within the
reservoir are smaller than P
0
. Thus, as a first approximation, Eq. 14 can be linearized
by substituting p

= 1. Indeed, for typical operating conditions and reservoir charac-
teristics, the nonlinearity effects on Eq. 14 can be shown to be small (see Appendix
A). Therefore, for practical conditions, the solution of the linearized equation is suf-
ficiently accurate to represent the full non-linear equation solution.
3 Analytical Solution
3.1 Fourier Series Method
Astraightforward method to obtain the steady periodic solution of the linearized Eqs.
14–17 is through a Fourier series representation. First, the equations are solved for a
mass flow rate that is expressed as a harmonic function of time. This is accomplished
by the complex combination method (Arpaci 1966). Therefore, when
F(t

) = sin(2πnt


n
) (18)
the steady periodic solution of Eqs. 14–17 (with p

= 1) was found to be


s
=
˙ m

c
ξ
n
N
0

n
r

)
N
1

n
)
sin
_
2πnt


n

0
_
ξ
n
r

_
−φ
1

n
) −

4
_
(19)
where
ξ
n
=
_
2πn
τ
(20)
N
ν
(x) =
_
Ker
2
ν
(x) +Kei
2
ν
(x) , φ
ν
(x) = arg (Ker
ν
(x) +Kei
ν
(x)i)
Ker
ν
and Kei
ν
are the Kelvin functions of order ν. The subscript s in

s
indicates
steady periodic solution that satisfies, both, the differential equation and boundary
conditions, but not the initial condition.
Equation 19 represents a pressure wave which oscillates everywhere at the same
frequency as the disturbance at the well. The amplitude of oscillation, appearing as
an expression of Kelvin functions, diminishes as the radial distance from the well
increases. The dimensionless radius R

at which the pressure amplitude reduces to a
fraction ε from that at the well, satisfies the equation
N
0
_
_
2πn
τ
R

_
−εN
0
_
_
2πn
τ
_
= 0 (21)
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 7
It follows from Eq. 21 that higher disturbances frequency (larger n) produce shorter
penetration radius R

.
The solution for a harmonic mass flow rate is a building block for construction of
any periodic mass flow function. This is accomplished by a purely sine Fourier series
representationof F(t

), whichineffect is a superpositionof harmonic forcing functions
for which the solution (19) applies. For a CAES plant operating at a compressor and
turbine constant mass flow rates, the actual flow rate at the well is (see Fig. 1)
F = 1, m < t

< m+t

1
F = 0, m+t

1
< t

< m+t

2
F = −CD, m+t

2
< t

< m+t

3
F = 0, m+t

3
< t

< m+1
_
¸
¸
_
¸
¸
_
m = 0, 1, 2, . . . (22)
where the dimensionless time intervals are: t

1
for the charging time, t

2
− t

1
for the
storage time, t

3
−t

2
for the power generation time, and CDrepresents the discharging
to charging mass flow ratio (equal also to the ratio of the charging time to discharging
time). The solution of the actual mass flow rate, obtained through the Fourier series
application, is


s
= ˙ m

c
_

π
3

n=1
1
n
3/2
N
0

n
r

)
N
1

n
)
C
n
sin
_
2πnt


n

0
_
ξ
n
r

_
−φ
1

n
) −

4
_
(23)
where
C
n
=
_
A
2
n
+B
2
n
, θ
n
= arg(B
n
+A
n
i)
A
n
= cos
_
πnt

1
_
sin
_
πnt

1
_
−CDcos
_
πn(t

3
+t

2
)
_
sin
_
πn(t

3
−t

2
)
_
(24)
B
n
= sin
2
_
πnt

1
_
−CDsin
_
πn(t

3
+t

2
)
_
sin
_
πn(t

3
−t

2
)
_
Equation 23 is an “exact” solution to the linearized problem. However, in the
vicinity of the flow step changes, seen in Fig. 1, the solution series converge extremely
slowly near r

= 1. Therefore, the Fourier series solution would not reveal the maxi-
mum and minimum well pressures, which indeed occur at t

1
and t

3
, respectively. For
all other periods, the solution is useful. This especially applies for large r

, where
the contribution of the high-frequency terms is negligible, which produces a rapidly
converging series.
The penetration radius of any charging/discharging boundary condition is revealed
by the penetration radius of the first Fourier series harmonic term. All higher harmon-
ics, as previously elucidated, produce shorter penetrationradii, andthus are irrelevant.
Hence, the radius R

of the storage active region can be calculated by Eq. 21, solely
by consideration of the fundamental harmonic frequency, i.e., n=1.
Fig. 1 Dimensionless well
mass flow rate during a CAES
plant cycle
Discharging
-CD
1
Storage Storage
Charging
1
*
1
t
t
*
*
2
t
*
3
t
F(t
*
)
8 R. Kushnir et al.
3.2 Laplace Transform Method
In order to circumvent the aforementioned convergence problemof the pressure near
the well, an alternative solution is proposed (see Jaeger 1953). For that, the Laplace
transform method is incorporated. For the present problem, the corresponding solu-
tion for the well pressure can be easily evaluated.
Applying the Laplace transform to Eqs. 14–17 (with p

= 1), subject to F(t

) as
expressed by (22), yields the solution
¯


(r

, s) =
˙ m

c
_
1 −e
−st
1

+CD(e
−st
3

−e
−st
2

)
_
(1 −e
−s
)s


−1
K
0
_


−1
r

_
K
1
_


−1
_ (25)
where
¯


(r

, s) denotes the Laplace transform of

(r

, t

), and K
0
and K
1
are the
modified Bessel functions of the second kind of order zero and one, respectively. The
inversion theorem for the Laplace transform states that


(r

, t

) =
1
2πi
γ +i∞
_
γ −i∞
¯


(r

, s)e
st

ds (26)
where γ is a positive constant. The integrand of (26) has a branch point at s = 0 and
simple poles at s = ±2πni, n = 1, 2, . . .. Applying the Residue Theoremto the integral
(26) for the contour seen in Fig. 2, yields


(r

, t

) =
2 ˙ m

c

τ
π

_
0
1 −e
ξ
2
t

1
+CD(e
ξ
2
t

3
−e
ξ
2
t

2
)
(1 −e
ξ
2

2
e
ξ
2
t

F
B
_
r

, ξτ
−1/2
_
dξ +

s
(r

, t

)
(27)
where
F
B
_
r

, ξτ
−1/2
_
=
J
0
_
ξτ
−1/2
r

_
Y
1
_
ξτ
−1/2
_
−Y
0
_
ξτ
−1/2
r

_
J
1
_
ξτ
−1/2
_
J
2
1
_
ξτ
−1/2
_
+Y
2
1
_
ξτ
−1/2
_ (28)
J
ν
and Y
ν
are the Bessel functions of the first and second kind of order ν, respectively.
The first termon the right hand side of (27) stands for the transient part of the solution,
which vanishes as t

progresses. It is produced from the integrals on the contours FE
and DC. The integrals over the arcs AF and CB vanish as the contour radius tends to
infinity. Likewise, the integral over the small circle around the origin vanishes as the
circle radius tends to zero. The second term, of (27), represents the steady periodic
part of the solution. It can be evaluated by calculating the sum of the residues at the
poles. However, that approach would produce the Fourier series of (23). Therefore,


s
is evaluated differently.
Equation 27 is a general solution, valid at all times. Hence, the steady periodic term
can be found by equating Eq. 27 with the values of

during the first period. In this
context, the solution of

for 0 ≤ t

≤ t

1
is well known (Carslaw and Jaeger 1959,
p. 338)


(r

, t

) ≡

1
(r

, t

) =
2 ˙ m

c

τ
π

_
0
_
e
−ξ
2
t

−1
_
F
B

ξ
2
0 ≤ t

≤ t

1
(29)
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 9
Fig. 2 The contour for the
integration of Eq. 26
A
B
C D
E F
x
y
The values of

in the subsequent times can be found easily by


(r

, t

) ≡

2
(r

, t

) =

1
(r

, t

) −

1
(r

, t

−t

1
) t

1
< t

≤ t

2
(30a)


(r

, t

) ≡

3
(r

, t

) =

2
(r

, t

) −CD

1
(r

, t

−t

2
) t

2
< t

≤ t

3
(30b)


(r

, t

) ≡

4
(r

, t

) =

3
(r

, t

) +CD

1
(r

, t

−t

3
) t

3
< t

≤ 1 (30c)
The comparison of Eqs. 29, 30 with the general solution Eq. 27, yields the following
expressions for the steady periodic part


s
=
2 ˙ m

c

τ
π

_
0
_
1 −e
ξ
2
(t

1
−1)
+CD(e
ξ
2
(t

3
−1)
−e
ξ
2
(t

2
−1)
)
(1 −e
−ξ
2
)e
ξ
2
t

−1
_
F
B

ξ
2
0 ≤ t

≤ t

1
(31a)


s
=
2 ˙ m

c

τ
π

_
0
1 −e
ξ
2
t

1
+CD(e
ξ
2
(t

3
−1)
−e
ξ
2
(t

2
−1)
)
(1 −e
−ξ
2
)e
ξ
2
t

F
B

ξ
2
t

1
< t

≤ t

2
(31b)


s
=
2 ˙ m

c

τ
π

_
0
_
1 −e
ξ
2
t

1
+CD(e
ξ
2
(t

3
−1)
−e
ξ
2
t

2
)
(1 −e
−ξ
2
)e
ξ
2
t

+CD
_
F
B

ξ
2
t

2
< t

≤ t

3
(31c)


s
=
2 ˙ m

c

τ
π

_
0
1 −e
ξ
2
t

1
+CD(e
ξ
2
t

3
−e
ξ
2
t

2
)
(1 −e
−ξ
2
)e
ξ
2
t

F
B

ξ
2
t

3
< t

≤ 1 (31d)
In order to calculate the well pressure, it is convenient to use the relation
F
B
_
1, ξτ
−1/2
_
=
−2
_
πξτ
−1/2
_
−1
J
2
1
_
ξτ
−1/2
_
+Y
2
1
_
ξτ
−1/2
_ (32)
The integrals (31) are far more suitable for well pressure computations, as compared
to the Fourier series solution. Finally, for any sets of parameters, the pressure distri-
bution within the reservoir can be calculated by either (23) or (31), according to the
convenience of use.
10 R. Kushnir et al.
3.3 Asymptotic Formulae
Consider a set of CAES plant operating conditions and reservoir characteristics that
correspond to a large τ. For such sets, the solutions (23) and (31) can be significantly
simplified by using their asymptotic approximation. The asymptotic representation of
N
1
(x) and φ
1
(x), subject to x << 1, are:
N
1
(x) =
1
x
, φ
1
(x) = −

4
(33)
Substitution of (33) into (23), yields


s
=
2 ˙ m

c
π

n=1
1
n
N
0
_
ξ
n
r

_
C
n
sin
_
2πnt


n

0
_
ξ
n
r

__
(34)
where θ
n
, and C
n
are defined in (24), and ξ
n
, N
0
and φ
0
by (20). Additionally, near the
well (r

≈ 1) N
0
and φ
0
can also be reduced to their asymptotic representation
N
0
(x) =
1
2
_
ln
2
_
4
x
2
C
2
_
+
π
2
4
, φ
0
(x) = arg
_
ln
_
2
xC
_

π
4
i
_
(35)
where C = e
γ
, and γ is Euler’s constant (C = 1.781072 . . .).
Equation 34 is valid for ξ
n
= (2πn/τ)
1/2
<< 1. The condition effectively states
that the harmonic oscillation time period t
p
/n must be substantially larger than the
characteristic time r
2
w

p
. Excluding the periods where the flow boundary condition
changes abruptly, as previously discussed, the summation in Eq. 34 converges with a
reasonable finite number of terms. For large values of τ, those terms will satisfy the
condition ξ
n
<< 1.
Similarly, Eq. 25 is simplified through introduction of the Bessel functions asymp-
totic approximations, subject to z << 1:
K
0
(z) = −ln
_
zC
2
_
, K
1
(z) =
1
z
(36)
Substituting the expression for K
1
into (25) and repeating a derivation procedure
similar to that of Sect. 3.2, yields


s
= −
˙ m

c
2
_
Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τt

_
−2I(r

, t

)
_
0 < t

≤ t

1
(37a)


s
= −
˙ m

c
2
_
Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τt

_
−Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τ(t

−t

1
)
_
−2I(r

, t

)
_
t

1
< t

≤ t

2
(37b)


s
= −
˙ m

c
2
_
Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τt

_
− Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τ(t

−t

1
)
_
−CDEi
_
−r
∗2
4τ(t

−t

2
)
_
−2I(r

, t

)
_ t

2
< t

≤ t

3
(37c)
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 11


s
= −
˙ m

c
2
_
Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τt

_
−Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τ(t

−t

1
)
_
−CDEi
_
−r
∗2
4τ(t

−t

2
)
_
+CDEi
_
−r
∗2
4τ(t

−t

3
)
_
−2I(r

, t

)
_ t

3
< t

≤ 1
(37d)
where
I(r

, t

) =

_
0
1 −e
ξ
2
t

1
+CD(e
ξ
2
t

3
−e
ξ
2
t

2
)
(1 −e
ξ
2

J
0
_
ξτ
−1/2
r

_
e
−ξ
2
t

dξ (38)
The Exponential Integral, Ei, is obtained from the asymptotic expansion of

at
0 ≤ t

≤ t

1
(Ritchie and Sakakura 1956). Furthermore, near the well (r

≈ 1), the
asymptotic representation of K
0
can also be incorporated into the pressure expression
derivation, which yields


s
=
˙ m

c
2
_
ln
4τt

Cr
∗2
+I(t

)
_
0 < t

≤ t

1
(39a)


s
=
˙ m

c
2
_
ln
t

t

−t

1
+I(t

)
_
t

1
< t

≤ t

2
(39b)


s
=
˙ m

c
2
_
ln
t

t

−t

1
−CDln
4τ(t

−t

2
)
Cr
∗2
+I(t

)
_
t

2
< t

≤ t

3
(39c)


s
=
˙ m

c
2
_
ln
t

t

−t

1
+CDln
t

−t

3
t

−t

2
+I(t

)
_
t

3
< t

≤ 1 (39d)
where
I(t

) =

_
0
1 −e
ξt

1
+CD(e
ξt

3
−e
ξt

2
)
(1 −e
ξ

e
−ξt


= ln
(1 +t

−t

1
)
(1 +t

)
+CDln
(1 +t

−t

2
)
(1 +t

−t

3
)
(40)
and is the Gamma function. Equations 37 and 39 are valid when τt

>> 1 for
0 < t

≤ t

1
, and τ(t

− t

1
) >> 1 for t

1
< t

≤ t

2
, etc. In effect, these conditions
state that the time elapsed from the beginning of each period should be substantially
larger than the characteristic time r
2
w

p
. Consequently and as opposed to the Fourier
series, the maximum and minimum pressures can be easily calculated by the above
equations, each for its indicated time. Furthermore, it turns out that Eqs. 37 and 39
provide accurate pressure predictions for the entire range of realistic conditions, as
compared to those obtained by the exact expression.
Based on the linearity of the modified pressure representation, the solution of a
single well can be extended to a field of multiple wells by superposition. The pressure
at any point is obtained from the summation of the neighboring wells contributions,
through the use of Eqs. 37 and 39.
12 R. Kushnir et al.
4 Numerical Solution
In order to support the analytical results, a numerical solution of the nonlinear
Eqs. 8–11 was developed. Using central differences for the spatial derivatives, the
partial differential equation and boundary conditions were converted to a system
of initial value ordinary differential equations. As aforementioned, high-frequency
components of the pressure wave vanish rapidly as the distance from the well in-
creases. Therefore, to conduct an effective numerical computation of the differential
equation, the grid points were arranged in increasing intervals as the distance from
the well increases. In order to develop a central difference numerical scheme, the r

coordinate is transformed to a uniformgrid size variable. The transformation used for
that purpose is (Tannehill et al. 1997)
η = 1 −
ln
__
β +1 −
r

−1
R

−1
_
/
_
β −1 +
r

−1
R

−1
__
ln
_
β+1
β−1
_ 1 < β < ∞ (41)
It transforms the physical domain r

∈ [1, R

], with its clustered grid points near the
well, into a uniform grid computational domain η ∈[0,1]. The stretching parameter,
β, clusters more points near the well (within the r

domain) as β →1.
Applying the transformation to Eqs. 8–11, yields
∂p

∂t

=
τ
2
_
η
2

2
p
∗2
∂η
2
+
_
η

+
η

r

_
∂p
∗2
∂η
_
(42)
at t

= 0 p

= 1 (43)
at η = 0 η

∂p
∗2
∂η
= − ˙ m

c
F(t

) (44)
at η = 1
∂p

∂η
= 0 (45)
where η

andη

are the first andsecondderivatives withrespect tor

. For the numerical
computation of unbounded reservoir, the boundary condition (11) is assigned to a
bounded reservoir with an external radius equal to the penetration radius, R

.
For a central difference derivatives representation, the semi discrete form of
Eq. 42 is
∂p

j
∂t

= τ
_
_
_
η
2
p

j
p

j+1
−2p

j
+p

j−1
η
2

2
_
p

j+1
−p

j−1

_
2
+
_
η

+
η

r

_
p

j
p

j+1
−p

j−1

_
¸
¸
¸r

=r

j
j = 1, 2, . . . , N −1 (46)
where
η =
1
N
, η
j
= jη, r

j
= 1+(R

−1)
β +1 −(β −1)
_
β+1
β−1
_
1−η
j
1 +
_
β+1
β−1
_
1−η
j
j = 0, 1, . . . , N (47)
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 13
Note that Eq. 46 is not the only possible finite difference scheme available. Alternative
schemes could be developed, for instance, with discretization of p
∗2
, or, through a semi
discrete form of Eqs. 14–17 (generated for

). Nonetheless, Eq. 46 was found to be
the most stable scheme for numerical computations.
Discretization of the boundary conditions and application of the semi discrete form
of Eq. 42, yields the boundary grid points equations
∂p

0
∂t

= τ
_

2
p

0
p

1
−p

0
η
2
+
_
˙ m

c
F(t

)
2p

0
_
2
+
_

η

η

η


1
r

_
˙ m

c
F(t

)
2
_
|r

=r

0
(48)
∂p

N
∂t

= τ
_

2
p

N
p

N−1
−p

N
η
2
_
|r

=r

N
(49)
Equations 46–49 comprise a complete set. They are solved for a uniform initial con-
dition of unity.
The solutions were computed with the problem solving environment Maple
(Maplesoft 2003), based on the default stiff method, which is an implicit Rosen-
brock third-fourth order Runge-Kutta method (see Shampine and Corless 2000). The
location of the external boundary, R

, is determined by solving Eq. 21 for ε = 0.5%
(n = 1); where, as shown subsequently, the pressure oscillations are negligible. The
set of equations were solved for N=20. The stretching parameter β, was chosen such
that a relative error of less than 0.1% is achieved (between the exact and Numerical
solutions of the linearized problem, at the well maximum and minimum pressures).
Like the penetration radius R

, the stretching parameter β, depends solely on the
parameter τ. Finally, the numerical computation was verified through a successful
reproduction of Ayers (1982) results, as seen in Fig. 3. The radial pressure distribu-
tions at the end of each of the four periods of a single cycle are shown in the figure.
The results are for boundary conditions of two constant dimensionless well pressures
(rather than constant mass flow rates), which are: 1.2 for the charging phase and 0.8
for the discharging phase.
Fig. 3 Numerical calculated
dimensionless pressure as a
function of dimensionless
radius, for an initial pressure of
1, a loading pressure of 1.2
from 0 to 6 h, an extraction
pressure of 0.8 from 10 to 14 h,
and zero flow for all other
periods. (R

= 3378.4,
τ = 1.12 ×10
7
)
14 R. Kushnir et al.
Table 1 Representative ranges of reservoir characteristics, operating conditions and their corre-
sponding dimensionless parameters
Variable Definitions Minimum value Maximum value Units
f Porosity 0.05 0.35 unitless
k Permeability 100 5000 md
h Layer height 5 25 m
r
w
Well radius 0.05 0.6 m
P
0
Initial air pressure 2 7 MPa
˙ m
c
Compressor flow rate 1 50 kg/s
T Air temperature 300 400 K
µ Air viscosity 1.8 ×10
−5
2.4 ×10
−5
kg/m s
t
p
Time period 24 24 hour
Z Compressibility factor 0.99 1.01 unitless
α
p
Pneumatic diffusivity 2 ×10
−2
40 m
2
/s
r
2
w

p
Characteristic time 7 ×10
−5
15 s
τ t
p
α
p
/r
2
w
5 ×10
3
1 ×10
9
˙ m

c
˙ m
c
µZRT/(π h k P
2
0
) 8 ×10
−5
20
t

1
t
1
/t
p
6/24 12/24
t

2
−t

1
(t
2
−t
1
)/t
p
2/24 8/24
t

3
−t

2
(t
3
−t
2
)/t
p
2/24 10/24
5 Results and Discussion
5.1 General Considerations
The analytical analysis reveals the dimensionless parameters affecting the time and
spatial pressure distribution within the reservoir. These parameters are τ, ˙ m

c
, and
the dimensionless time intervals: the charging time t

1
, the storage time t

2
− t

1
, and
the power generation time t

3
− t

2
. Representative ranges of reservoir characteristic,
operating conditions and their corresponding dimensionless parameters are listed
in Table 1. As seen in the table, both τ and ˙ m

c
(which represent all the physical
properties) have a wide range of applicable values. The remaining dimensionless
parameters (the time intervals) are determined so as to meet the local power demand
and production capacity.
Analytically and numerically calculated reservoir pressures for a cycle period at
different radii (for steady periodic conditions), are illustrated in Fig. 4a (for the
indicated set of operating conditions). The curves reveal a diminution in amplitude
and a progressive phase lag (though small) as r

increases. Additionally, it is apparent
that higher-pressure harmonics fluctuations disappear at increased distance from the
well. The pressure dependence on r

, at the end of each time interval, is seen in Fig. 4b.
Due to a small phase lag, the curves for t

= t

1
and t

= t

3
approximately represent
the pressure envelop, which expectedly decreases as r

increases. It is clearly observed
that the penetration of a well pressure fluctuation into the reservoir does not exceed
a certain distance; beyond that distance the pressure oscillations are negligible. Note
that the pressure distribution at the end of each storage time (t

= t

2
, t

= 1) is nearly
uniform.
A good agreement exists between the analytical and numerical solutions. As
expected (see Appendix A), the analytical solution produces somewhat smaller pres-
sures. The deviations at t

= t

3
(the highest fluctuation) is smaller than 1%. Further-
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 15
0.68
0.76
0.84
0.92
1
1.08
1.16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
t
*
p
s
*
Numerical
Analytical
Discharging
r
*
=1
22.25
256.35
951.65
Charging Storage
Storage
t
1
*
t
2
*
t
3
*
0.68
0.76
0.84
0.92
1
1.08
1.16
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
log(r
*
)
p
s
*
Numerical
Analytical
t
*
=t
1
*
1
t
2
*
t
3
*
(a) (b)
Fig. 4 Steady periodic dimensionless pressure oscillations for τ = 5 × 10
5
, ˙ m

c
= 0.05, t

1
= 7/24,
t

2
= 14/24 and t

3
= 18/24. (a) versus dimensionless time at different dimensionless radii; (b) versus
dimensionless radius at different dimensionless times
Fig. 5 Nonlinear effects on
the well pressure at different
pressure fluctuations
0.68
0.76
0.84
0.92
1
1.08
1.16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
t
*
p
s
*
NonLinear
Linear
m
c
*
=0.01
.
0.03
0.05
τ =5×10
5
t
1
*
=7/24
t
2
*
=14/24
t
3
*
=18/24
more, for the indicated value of τ, calculated pressures by the asymptotic formulae,
Eqs. 37 and 39, coincide with those of the exact expressions.
As seen in Fig. 4a, the well pressure undergoes rapid changes at the beginning of
each time interval (owing to the flow variations). Following those sharp variations,
the pressure change rate moderates as it approaches stable conditions. The well pres-
sure reaches its crest at the end of the charging stage and drops to its trough at the
end of the power generation stage. In order to examine the difference between the
current solutions to a solution of the classical linearized equation (of the pressure),
calculations were conducted for several pressure fluctuations. As seen in Fig. 5, non-
linear effects of Eq. 8, for large pressure fluctuations, produce substantially smaller
pressures than those of the linear solution. It stems from the fact that compressible
gas flow acts as a “spring” rather than a “rigid” non-compressible flow.
As aforementioned, the fluctuating gas penetration radius can be calculated by
considering only the fundamental harmonic term of

s
. The dimensionless radius
R

, at which the fundamental harmonic amplitude decreases by a factor ε is plotted
16 R. Kushnir et al.
Fig. 6 The dimensionless radius R

at which the fundamental harmonic amplitude decreases by a
factor ε
in Fig. 6. According to Eq. 21, for a given ε, the dimensionless radius R

depend
only on τ. In order to identify the maximum value of ε that ascertains negligible
pressure oscillations beyond the corresponding R

, Eqs. 14–18 were solved once more.
Subsequently, the boundary condition (17) was replaced by a closed reservoir with an
external radius equal to the penetration radius, R

. The solution was than compared to
that of the unbounded reservoir, Eq. 19. Indeed as ε decreases the solutions coincide.
It turns out that already at ε =1% the deviation in amplitude and phase of the well
pressure are negligible. As seen in Fig. 6, R

is nearly proportional to the square root
of τ, and for ε =1% is approximately equal to τ
1/2
.
5.2 Parametric Study
For the design of a CAES plant, predictions of the well pressure oscillations are
required, and in particular their maximum and minimum values. The maximum pres-
sure is one constraint that the compressor train must work against. The minimum
pressure is essentially the turbine inlet pressure (excluding losses). Therefore, the
exploration of the well pressure sensitivity to operational parameters is of essence.
The dimensionless parameter ˙ m

c
andτ canvary withinseveral orders of magnitude.
The way in which these parameters affect the well pressure oscillations is illustrated in
Fig. 7 a and b. As seen in the figures, the pressure oscillation amplitude increases with
both ˙ m

c
and τ. From these two parameters, ˙ m

c
is more influencing. That dominance
can also be observed from inspection of Eq. 39, where the modified pressure,

s
, is
directly proportional to ˙ m

c
, while τ appears as a logarithmical argument. In order to
specifically demonstrate that point, the range of pressure oscillation p

s
= p

s max

p

s min
is plotted in Fig. 8 a and b as a function of τ and ˙ m

c
, respectively. As seen, p

s
is moderately dependent on τ and strongly on ˙ m

c
. By using several wells, it is possible
to reduce ˙ m

c
with its associated pressure fluctuations.
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 17
0.68
0.76
0.84
0.92
1
1.08
1.16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
t
*
p
s
*
Numerical
Analytical
m
c
*
=0.03
t
1
*
=7/24
t
2
*
=14/24
t
3
*
=18/24
5×10
5
5×10
8
τ =5×10
3
.
0.68
0.76
0.84
0.92
1
1.08
1.16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
t
*
p
s
*
Numerical
Analytical
m
c
*
=0.02
.
0.05
0.08
τ =5×10
3
t
1
*
=7/24
t
2
*
=14/24
t
3
*
=18/24
(a) (b)
Fig. 7 Steady periodic dimensionless well pressure during a cycle. (a) at different τ

s; (b) at different
˙ m

c
s
0.01
0.1
1
2 4 6 8 10
log( τ )

p
s
*
p
=
s
*
x
a
m
p
-
s
*
n
i
m
Numerical
Analytical
m
c
*
=0.04
0.02
0.01
.
t
1
*
=7/24
t
2
*
=14/24
t
3
*
=18/24
0.01
0.1
1
-3 -2.5 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5
log(m
c
)

p
s
*
p
=
s
*
x
a
m
p
-
s
*
n
i
m
Numerical
Analytical
.
τ=10
9
10
5
10
3
t
1
*
=7/24
t
2
*
=14/24
t
3
*
=18/24
*
(a) (b)
Fig. 8 Ranges of dimensionless pressure variations. (a) versus τ at different ˙ m

c
s; (b) versus ˙ m

c
at
different τ

s
As previously illustrated, Figs. 7 and 8 substantiate the agreement between the
analytical and numerical solutions. Within the range of parameter shown in the fig-
ures, the deviations of the predicted well pressure fromthe numerical results at t

= t

3
are smaller than 3%. As expected (see Appendix A), for the same pressure fluctua-
tions the discrepancy decreases as τ increases. In effect, for the entire range of the
relevant parameters, the asymptotic formulae could be used to calculate the reservoir
pressure oscillations. It could be seen from Table 1, that the values of the character-
istic time r
2
w

p
are significantly smaller than the time intervals of each period. Even
for the maximum value of r
2
w

p
(of 15 s) the conditions for the asymptotic solutions
applicability are fulfilled already within minutes from the beginning of each period.
As previously discussed, all three: the charging time, the power generation time,
and the resulting storage time depend on the local power demand and production
capacity. Realistic bounds for these time intervals are shown in Table 1. Essentially, a
larger charging time, or power generation time, produce higher-pressure fluctuations.
However, for a given mass of stored air (i.e. ˙ m

c
t

1
= const), it is expected that larger
charging time spans, or power generation time spans, produce smaller pressure fluctu-
ations. These assertions are seen in Fig. 9, when the modified pressure oscillations at
the well are plotted for different charging time spans (a) and power generation spans
18 R. Kushnir et al.
-40
-30
-20
-10
0
10
20
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
t
*
Φ
s
*
m
c
*
t
1
*
t
1
*
=7/24
9/24
12/24
.
r
*
=1
τ =5×10
5
t
2
*
=14/24
t
3
*
=18/24
-40
-30
-20
-10
0
10
20
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
t
*
Φ
s
*
t
2
*
=12/24
t
3
*
=22/24
13/24
20/24
14/24
18/24
r
*
=1
τ =5×10
5
t
1
*
=7/24
m
c
*
t
1
*
.
(a) (b)
Fig. 9 The variation of

s
/ ˙ m

c
t

1
during a cycle for a fixed mass stored ( ˙ m

c
t

1
= const). (a) for
different charging time spans; (b) for different power generation time spans
(b). Evidently, it is preferred to expand the compression and power generation time
spans as much as possible to mitigate the pressure fluctuations, and associated losses.
6 Conclusions
A combined analytical and numerical investigation of the steady periodic gas flow
around a well in porous reservoirs for a CAES plant operation was conducted. A
useful closed form solution for the reservoir pressure distribution was developed.
It was shown that, for practical conditions, this solution is sufficiently accurate to
represent the full non-linear equationsolution. Moreover, the analysis provides simple
and useful asymptotic expressions. The following conclusions were drawn from the
investigation:
• By incorporating a pertinent variable substitution, it is possible to obtain an equa-
tion that is insensitive to non linear effects caused by the gas compressibility,
provided that the time is substantially larger than the characteristic time r
2
w

p
(see also Appendix A).
• For a given set of charging, storage and production periods, the dimensionless
pressure fluctuations were found to depend on the dimensionless parameters τ
and ˙ m

c
. From the two, ˙ m

c
is the more influencing parameter.
• It is desirable to expand the compression and power generation time spans, as
much as possible, to mitigate the pressure fluctuations and associated losses, for a
given air mass.
• As it turns out, the dimensionless distance R

, which characterizes the effective
storage radius, depends only on τ, and is close in value to τ
1/2
.
The analytical solution can be used to construct a solution for multiple well systems.
It provides an important tool that could eventually support compressed air storage
optimization analyses. Field test data are needed for model validation, and for possible
model adjustments, to account for real reservoir conditions.
Steady Periodic Gas Flow 19
Appendix A: Error Analysis
The solution for the modified pressure was obtained through the linearization of
the governing differential equation. In order to estimate the errors entailed by the
solution method, a simple analysis is presented (see Ametov and Danielyan 1973).
Consider the problemfor the modified pressure at the first time interval 0 ≤ t

≤ t

1
.
During that interval, the differential equation and, both, the initial and boundary
conditions are


∂t

= p

τ
_

2


∂r
∗2
+
1
r



∂r

_
=
_
1 +

τ
_

2


∂r
∗2
+
1
r



∂r

_
(A.1)


(r

, 0) = 0,


∂r

|r

=1
= − ˙ m

c
,

(∞, t

) = 0 (A.2)
Now, let the functions

1
and

2
satisfy the conditions (A.2) and the equations


1
∂t

= p

min
τ
_

2


1
∂r
∗2
+
1
r



1
∂r

_
,


2
∂t

= p

max
τ
_

2


2
∂r
∗2
+
1
r



2
∂r

_
(A.3)
where p

min
and p

max
represent the upper and lower limits of the reservoir dimen-
sionless pressure. Clearly, p

min
=1, while the upper limit remains unknown. Since


/∂t

≥ 0, the following inequalities hold true


1
∂t


_
1 +

1
τ
_

2


1
∂r
∗2
+
1
r



1
∂r

_
,


2
∂t


_
1 +

2
τ
_

2


2
∂r
∗2
+
1
r



2
∂r

_
(A.4)
It follows from (A.4) that (Ametov and Danielyan 1973)


1




2
(A.5)
hence,

1
and

2
are the lower and upper bounds of the unknown exact solution

.
When τt

>> 1, the solutions of Eqs. A.3 under conditions (A.2) are (Ritchie and
Sakakura 1956)


1
= −
˙ m

c
2
Ei
_
−r
∗2
4τt

_
,

2
= −
˙ m

c
2
Ei
_
−r
∗2
4p

max
τt

_
(A.6)
Particularly at the well


1
=
˙ m

c
2
ln
_
4τt

C
_
,

2
=
˙ m

c
2
ln
_
4p

max
τt

C
_
(A.7)
with a relative error
RE =


2


1


1
= ln
_
p

max
_
_
ln
_
4τt

C
_
(A.8)
It is seen that the error depends on p

max
and τt

. Obviously, larger values of p

max
entails greater errors. However, larger values of τt

produces lower errors. For the
typical values of τ = 5×10
5
, t

= t

1
= 9/24, and an ˙ m

c
’s that correspond with p

max
=
1.2, 1.6, and 2; one gets relative errors of 1.41%, 3.63%, and 5.35%, respectively. As
seen, even if the well pressure is doubled, the relative error between the upper and
lower reservoir modified pressure limits is merely 5%.
20 R. Kushnir et al.
The same analysis can be applied to the withdrawal of air fromthe reservoir. It can
be done by replacing − ˙ m

c
with ˙ m

c
in (A.2). For this case, p

max
= 1 and p

min
is the
unknown. However, since ∂

/∂t

≤ 0,

2
represents the lower bound and

1
the
upper bound of the unknown exact solution

. Again, if the well pressure is reduced
by a half, the error between the limits would be about 5%.
The comparison with the numerical solution validates the conclusions drawn from
the simple analysis. First, it shows that the analytical solution predicts somewhat lower
pressures. Second, it shows that for identical extreme pressure values, the relative error
decreases as τ increases. Finally, within the range of parameter checked, the deviations
of the predicted well pressure fromthe numerical results, at the maximumfluctuation
points, were smaller than 3%. It is therefore concluded that for the present problem,
where the values of the characteristic time r
2
w

p
are significantly smaller than the
time t (τt

>> 1) and the pressure fluctuations are moderate, the nonlinearity effects
of Eq. A.1 are negligible.
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