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**DOI 10.1007/s11242-009-9397-y
**

Compressed Air Flow within Aquifer Reservoirs

of CAES Plants

R. Kushnir · A. Ullmann · A. Dayan

Received: 18 February 2009 / Accepted: 9 April 2009 / Published online: 20 May 2009

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Abstract A model on the air ﬂow within aquifer reservoirs of Compressed Air Energy

Storage (CAES) plants was developed. The design of such CAES plants requires knowledge

of the reservoir air pressure distribution during both the charging and discharging phases.

Also, it must assure air/water interface stability to prevent water suction during discharge. An

approximate analytical solution for the pressure variations within the anisotropic reservoir

porous space was developed, subject to the Darcy equation and for conditions of partially

penetrating wells. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to identify the dominant parameters

affecting the well pressure and the critical ﬂow rate (water suction threshold). It is dem-

onstrated that water coning is a factor that could severely limit the discharge air ﬂow rate.

A significant diminishment of that limitation and reduction of the pressure ﬂuctuation can

be achieved by enlargement of the air layer height and discharge period. Likewise, aquifers

with larger horizontal permeability impose less restrictive critical ﬂows. A conclusion on the

preferred screen length could not be merely drawn from technological considerations, but

should also involve important economic aspects.

Keywords Compressed air energy storage (CAES) · Porous reservoirs ·

Partially penetrating well · Water coning · Critical ﬂow rates

List of Symbols

C Constant, C=e

γ

=1.781072…

CD Charging discharging time ratio

f Porosity

F(t

∗

) Dimensionless air mass ﬂow-rate at the well

g Gravitational acceleration

g

∗

Dimensionless hydrostatic pressure, ρ

w

gH/P

0

h Well screen length

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

1 3

220 R. Kushnir et al.

h

∗

Dimensionless well screen length, h/H

H Gas layer height

k Permeability

˙ m

c

Air mass ﬂow rate through the compressor

˙ m

∗

c

Dimensionless air mass ﬂow-rate through the compressor,

˙ m

c

µZRT

πHk

r

P

2

0

p Pressure

P

0

Initial air pressure in the reservoir

p

∗

Dimensionless pressure, p/P

0

r Radial coordinate

r

∗

Dimensionless radial coordinate,

_

k

z

k

r

r

H

r

w

Radius of the well

r

∗

w

Dimensionless well radius,

_

k

z

k

r

r

w

H

R Speciﬁc gas constant

s Laplace transform parameter

t Time

t

p

Time period of the cycle

t

i

i =1, 2, 3, process duration times, see Fig. 2

t

∗

Dimensionless time, t /t

p

t

∗

Dimensionless elapsed time from the beginning of each stage

T Temperature

v Superﬁcial velocity of the gas

y

∗

Relative interface rise,

H−η

H−h

z Vertical coordinate

z

∗

Dimensionless vertical coordinate, z/H

Z Gas compressibility factor

Greek Symbol

α Pneumatic diffusivity, kP

0

/( f µ)

Modiﬁed pressure, deﬁned in Eq. 21

∗

Dimensionless modiﬁed pressure, /P

0

η Interface location

η

∗

Dimensionless interface location, η/H

µ Viscosity of the gas

θ

n

Lag angle

ρ Density of the gas

ρ

w

Density of the water

τ

z

Dimensionless cycle time period, t

p

α

z

/H

2

Subscript

cr Critical

f First cycle

r Radial

s Steady periodic cycle

z Vertical

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 221

1 Introduction

Typical diurnal electric power consumption exhibits significant variations. It reaches its

peak during daylight and drops to its trough at nighttime. Storage of excess power capac-

ity during off-peak hours is desirable both economically and environmentally. In principle,

off-peak excess electrical energy is stored for subsequent use during hours of peak demand.

In this respect, incorporation of a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) facility is highly

attractive. In a CAES plant, air is compressed into an underground reservoir through the con-

sumption of inexpensive excess electrical power. Later, during peak hours, the compressed

air is heated (ﬁred) and then driven to expansion in a gas turbine for electrical power genera-

tion. Three geologically different types of underground reservoirs are feasible: salt caverns,

hard rock caverns, and porous reservoirs (such as aquifers or depleted reservoirs). For the

design of a CAES plant, prediction of the underground reservoir pressure oscillations during

plant operation is required, and specifically the oscillations’ extreme values. The maximum

pressure constitutes a constraint that the compressor train must meet. The minimum pressure

essentially determines the turbine inlet pressure.

This study addresses the air storage in aquifer reservoirs. To date, there is no commercial

CAES plant that is linked to such reservoirs. However, experimental testing in a single-well

and two-well environments was conducted and conﬁrmed that an aquifer reservoir is indeed a

suitable mediumfor compressed air energy storage (Allen et al. 1984, ANRStorage Company

1986). The experiments also showed that incorporation of a compressor after-cooler reduces

air temperature variations within the reservoir (the gas ﬂow becomes essentially isothermal).

Based on Darcy’s law, an isothermal transient gas ﬂow in porous media is described by

a single, nonlinear, partial differential equation (Muskat 1937). An approximate analytical

steady periodic solution of that equation was derived for one-dimensional radial ﬂow by

Kushnir et al. (2008). The 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.

In general, the radial ﬂow solution is applicable to studies of dry reservoirs, in which the

well can fully penetrate the air zone. In wet aquifer reservoirs, partially penetrating wells are

used to prevent undesired water suction during the discharge phase. Consequently, the air

ﬂow near the well is two dimensional and axis symmetrical. Furthermore, instead of a ﬁxed

impervious bottom boundary condition, a ﬂuctuating air–water interface must be addressed.

During the discharge stage, a local pressure drop causes the interface to rise toward the well,

forming a cone shape. Muskat and Wyckoff (1935), who coined the term “water coning”,

indicated the existence of a critical cone height and a corresponding critical ﬂowrate. Beyond

that height, the interface becomes unstable and water would ﬂow into the well. Accordingly,

it is necessary to avoid the condition of interface instability.

The air injection and withdrawal induces a two-phase (air–water) ﬂowprocess. Numerical

solutions of the two-phase ﬂow equations for a partially penetrating single well subject to

a weekly cycle were presented by Wiles and McCann (1981). The work made part of an

extensive CAES research effort conducted at the Paciﬁc Northwest Laboratory, U.S.A. (e.g.,

Wiles 1979). The reservoir pressure ﬂuctuations were found to be highly sensitive to the well

screen length. Also, it was shown that for certain operating conditions and reservoir char-

acteristics, water can enter the well. Meiri and Karadi (1982) developed a numerical model

for similar conditions (two phase, two dimensional, single well), but subject to a daily cycle.

They examined reservoir permeability effects and found that the air–water displacement is

strongly inﬂuenced by it. The breadth of the transition zone (the zone where both air and

1 3

222 R. Kushnir et al.

water are present in the void space at various degrees of saturation) narrows with increasing

permeability.

If the transition zone is considerably narrower than the air ﬂow domain, it is justiﬁed to

assume that a sharp air–water interface would be representative, where a single-phase air ﬂow

exists in the upper domain. Based on that assumption, Braester and Bear (1984) developed

a two-dimensional numerical model for a partially penetrating single well subject to a daily

periodic cycling. The model accounts for variations of the air–water interface location. In the

range of the parameters studied, the air–water interface ﬂuctuations were found to be small.

Calculations indicated that the well pressure ﬂuctuations were pronounced in cases of short

well penetrations (smaller than 20% of the gas layer height).

Clearly, application of each of the aforementioned numerical solutions is restricted to the

speciﬁc range of parameters for which it was developed. As such, those investigations cannot

reveal the general sensitivity of both the well pressure and water coning to the reservoir char-

acteristics and operating conditions. Furthermore, no quantitative data on the critical ﬂowrate

have been reported. Additionally, excluding the study of Meiri and Karadi (1982), all other

investigations addressed only the ﬁrst cycle solution, to minimize computation cost. There-

fore, there exists a need for explicit formulae that cover a wide range of parameters. In order

to address that need, this study was undertaken with the purpose of providing an analytical

tool to calculate the reservoir pressure distribution, and to determine the interface stability

during a plant operation. An approximate analytical solution for the reservoir pressure distri-

bution 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. Based on

the solution, the critical ﬂow rate and interface height were determined in accordance with

the concepts of Muskat and Wyckoff (1935).

2 Formulation of the Problem

Consider a partially penetrating well located in an aquifer reservoir as shown in Fig. 1. Ini-

tially, the porous reservoir contains a stationary air layer of height H, bounded by a water

aquifer below and an impervious caprock above. During a CAES plant operation, air ﬂows

into and out of the reservoir cyclically. Owing to that ﬂow, the air–water interface moves

downward in the charging stage and upward during the withdrawal stage. Two-phase ﬂow

phenomena are expected to periodically affect a relatively small volume of the reservoir,

located near the air–water interface. Such effects are, therefore, likely to be of limited signif-

icance. Hence, it is assumed that the air–water interface is sharp, meaning that the air-bubble

domain does not contain movable water (i.e., only water at irreducible saturation). For such

conditions, the continuity and momentum equations (neglecting gravitational effects) for the

air region, subject to the generalized gas state equation, are as follows:

∂ ( f ρ)

∂t

+

1

r

∂ (rρv

r

)

∂r

+

∂ (ρv

z

)

∂z

= 0 (1)

v

r

= −

k

r

µ

∂p

∂r

, v

z

= −

k

z

µ

∂p

∂z

(2)

ρ =

p

ZRT

(3)

where v

r

and v

z

are the gas radial and vertical superﬁcial velocities, f is the porosity, and

k

r

and k

z

denote the medium permeability in the radial (horizontal) and vertical directions,

respectively. The remaining symbols are consistent with common notations. The model is

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 223

H

h

r

w

r

z

Undisturbed interface

p(r,z,t)

Compressed Air

Discharge stage interface

Charging stage interface

Water aquifer

η(r,t)

Fig. 1 Schematic of a partially penetrating well in a CAES aquifer reservoir

based on the assumption that the reservoir can adequately be represented as a homogeneous

porous space with both constant effective porosity and permeability.

The air ﬂow is essentially isothermal owing to both air cooling following the compression

stage and the immense thermal inertia of the porous medium(as compared to that of the gas).

Indeed, as aforementioned, the ﬁeld test data (Allen et al. 1984) revealed that air temperature

variations in the reservoir are minor when a compressor after cooler is present. Substitution

of Eqs. 2 and 3, for a constant temperature, into Eq. 1 yields the following nonlinear partial

differential equation:

∂p

∂t

=

k

r

2µf

_

∂

2

p

2

∂r

2

+

1

r

∂p

2

∂r

_

+

k

z

2µf

∂

2

p

2

∂z

2

. (4)

The initial reservoir gas pressure, P

0

, is uniform and equal to the local hydrostatic head

(the reservoir gas static head is of negligible inﬂuence). The cyclical air injection and with-

drawal produce pressure ﬂuctuations in the stored air. Given that the pressure ﬂuctuations

are smaller than P

0

and subject to the isothermal-ﬂow assumption, it is reasonable to con-

sider the ﬂuid viscosity and compressibility factor as constants and, respectively, equal to

µ = µ(T, P

0

), Z = Z(T, P

0

).

The pertinent initial and boundary conditions for the indicated coordinate system are

t = 0, p = P

0

(5)

z = 0, 0 < r < ∞,

∂p

∂z

= 0 (6)

0 ≤ z ≤ h, r →0,

h

_

0

2πrρv

r

dz = ˙ m

c

F(t ) (7)

h < z ≤ H, r = 0,

∂p

∂r

= 0 (8)

0 ≤ z ≤ H, r →∞, p →P

0

(9)

where h is the well screen length (penetration length), and the product ˙ m

c

F(t ) represents

the mass ﬂow rate of the gas at the well during plant operation. ˙ m

c

is the air mass-ﬂow rate

through the compressor, and F(t ) is a dimensionless periodic function with a cycle time

t

p

. Figure2 shows the variations of F(t ) of a CAES plant operating with constant air mass

ﬂow-rates through the compressor and the turbine. The indicated time intervals are t

1

for the

charging time, t

2

−t

1

for the storage time, and t

3

−t

2

for the power generation time, and CD

represents the discharging to charging mass ﬂow ratio (also equal to the ratio of the charging

1 3

224 R. Kushnir et al.

Fig. 2 The dimensionless air

mass ﬂow-rate at the well during

a CAES plant cycle

Discharge

-CD

1

Storage Storage

Charging

t

p

1

t t

2

t

3

t

F(t)

time to the discharging time). The mass ﬂow boundary condition is applied at r →0 rather

than at the well radius r = r

w

. This is justiﬁed since for typical operating conditions and

reservoir characteristics, seconds within the operation initiation of each stage, asymptotic

conditions are reached with a reservoir pressure distribution that is independent of the well’s

radius (Kushnir et al. 2008). Consequently, the well is represented as a line source instead

of a cylindrical source. The boundary condition (9) addresses a large reservoir whose effec-

tive radius exceeds the ﬂuctuating gas penetration radii (the effective region for gas storage

around the well). However, as will be discussed later, the solution can be extended to account

for ﬁnite reservoir boundaries and cases of multiple wells.

In order to complete the model, the boundary condition at the air–water interface must

be formulated. As indicated in Fig. 1, the interface coordinates are speciﬁed by η(r, t ). The

kinematic boundary condition requires that

D(η − z)

Dt

=

∂η

∂t

+

v

r

f

∂η

∂r

−

v

z

f

= 0 on z = η. (10)

Neglecting the capillary pressure, at equilibrium condition, the pressures on both sides of the

interface are identical. As seen later, excluding short transition periods at the beginning of

each stage, the pressure variation rate near the well is moderate. Consequently, the interface

movement rate is slow. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the water layer beneath the

air ﬂow zone is quasi-static. Hence, the position of the interface is described by

p = P

0

−ρ

w

g (H − z) on z = η. (11)

The left-hand side of Eq. 11 represents the air pressure at the interface, and the right-hand

side (RHS) stands for the water pressure at the interface under hydrostatic conditions, with

ρ

w

being the water density. In order to obtain the kinematic boundary condition in terms of

the air pressure, the derivatives of Eq. 10 (with respect to η) are derived from Eq. 11.

Choosing P

0

and t

p

as the pressure and time scales, respectively, and H as the length scale

in the vertical direction, the dimensionless form of Eqs. 4–11 becomes

∂p

∗

∂t

∗

=

τ

z

2

_

∂

2

p

∗2

∂r

∗2

+

1

r

∗

∂p

∗2

∂r

∗

+

∂

2

p

∗2

∂z

∗2

_

(12)

t

∗

= 0, p

∗

= 1 (13)

z

∗

= 0, 0 < r

∗

< ∞,

∂p

∗

∂z

∗

= 0 (14)

0 ≤ z

∗

≤ h

∗

, r

∗

→0, r

∗

h

∗

_

0

∂p

∗2

∂r

∗

dz

∗

= − ˙ m

∗

c

F(t

∗

) (15)

h

∗

< z

∗

≤ 1, r

∗

= 0,

∂p

∗

∂r

∗

= 0 (16)

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 225

0 ≤ z

∗

≤ 1, r

∗

→∞, p

∗

→1 (17)

z

∗

= η

∗

,

∂p

∗

∂t

∗

−τ

z

_

_

∂p

∗

∂r

∗

_

2

+

_

∂p

∗

∂z

∗

_

2

_

+ g

∗

τ

z

∂p

∗

∂z

∗

= 0, (18)

where the location of the interface is

z

∗

= η

∗

, p

∗

= 1 − g

∗

_

1 − z

∗

_

(19)

and

p

∗

≡

p

P

0

, t

∗

≡

t

t

p

, r

∗

≡

_

k

z

k

r

r

H

, z

∗

≡

z

H

, h

∗

≡

h

H

, η

∗

≡

η

H

τ

z

≡

t

p

k

z

P

0

H

2

µf

≡

t

p

α

z

H

2

, ˙ m

∗

c

≡

˙ m

c

µZRT

πHk

r

P

2

0

, g

∗

≡

ρ

w

gH

P

0

(20)

Equations 12–19 could be reduced to a simpler formthrough the introduction of a modiﬁed

pressure “”, according to

p

2

= P

2

0

+P

0

, i.e., p

∗2

= 1 +

∗

. (21)

The substitution of Eq. 21 into Eqs. 12–19 yields

∂

∗

∂t

∗

= p

∗

τ

z

_

∂

2

∗

∂r

∗2

+

1

r

∗

∂

∗

∂r

∗

+

∂

2

∗

∂z

∗2

_

(22)

t

∗

= 0,

∗

= 0 (23)

z

∗

= 0, 0 < r

∗

< ∞,

∂

∗

∂z

∗

= 0 (24)

0 ≤ z

∗

≤ h

∗

, r

∗

→0, h

∗

r

∗

∂

∗

∂r

∗

= − ˙ m

∗

c

F(t

∗

) (25)

h

∗

< z

∗

≤ 1, r

∗

= 0,

∂

∗

∂r

∗

= 0 (26)

0 ≤ z

∗

≤ 1, r

∗

→∞,

∗

→0 (27)

z

∗

= η

∗

,

∂

∗

∂t

∗

−

τ

z

2p

∗

_

_

∂

∗

∂r

∗

_

2

+

_

∂

∗

∂z

∗

_

2

_

+ g

∗

τ

z

∂

∗

∂z

∗

= 0 (28)

and the location of the interface is

z

∗

= η

∗

,

_

1 +

∗

_

1/2

= 1 − g

∗

_

1 − z

∗

_

. (29)

The integrated well ﬂux (Eq. 15) is represented by a constant average ﬂux (Eq. 25). This

representation entails a negligible error for homogenous reservoirs (Muskat 1937; Ruud and

Kabala 1997), and is clearly of advantageous simplicity.

In terms of the modiﬁed pressure, the nonlinearity of the differential equation is repre-

sented solely by the coefﬁcient p

∗

τ

z

. For efﬁcient operation, namely, one that is characterized

by small pressure ﬂuctuations relative to P

0

, Eq. 22 can be linearized by substituting p

∗

= 1.

Indeed, for typical operating conditions and reservoir characteristics, the nonlinearity effects

on Eq. 22 are small (subsequently discussed). Hence, for practical conditions, the solution

of the linearized equation is sufﬁciently accurate to represent the full nonlinear equation

solution.

Nonlinearity exists in the air–water interface boundary condition (Eq. 28), which further-

more refers to the unknown surface z

∗

= η

∗

. Nonetheless, for small pressure ﬂuctuations,

1 3

226 R. Kushnir et al.

the air–water interface level would exhibit corresponding small variations. As a ﬁrst approx-

imation, one may neglect the inﬂuence of the interface shape on the pressure distribution by

assuming a ﬁxed air–water interface (represented as an impervious boundary to the air ﬂow

domain). With that simpliﬁcation, Eq. 28 is replaced by

z

∗

= 1, 0 < r

∗

< ∞,

∂

∗

∂z

∗

= 0. (30)

In fact, Eq. 30 can also be derived from Eq. 28, following perturbation solution method tech-

niques (based on the ﬁrst expansion term, while neglecting the interface movement).

From the pressure distribution solution, the shape of the interface z

∗

= η

∗

(r

∗

, t

∗

) during

discharge can be determined from Eq. 29. However, under certain conditions of ﬂow in the

air zone, the interface becomes unstable and water could be sucked into the well. In order

to avoid such occurrence, the conditions that ascertain the air–water interface stability are

subsequently explored.

3 Pressure Distribution

Evidently, from the imposed periodic boundary condition, the solution for the modiﬁed

pressure can be constructed from two separate parts (transient and steady periodic). The

transient part, which is affected by the initial condition, vanishes practically within a few

cycles. Therefore, the conditions within the reservoir are determined by the steady periodic

solution.

3.1 Fourier Series Method

A straightforward method is used to obtain the steady periodic solution of Eqs. 22–27 and

30, through a Fourier series representation of F(t

∗

). First, the equations are solved for the

mass ﬂow rate expressed as a harmonic function of time, namely,

F(t

∗

) = sin(2πnt

∗

+θ

n

). (31)

It is convenient to introduce the steady periodic modiﬁed pressure distribution for an

unbounded reservoir caused by a periodic source element distribution at z

∗

= λ along the

well (Carslaw and Jaeger 1959, p. 263)

d

∗

s

=

˙ m

∗

c

dλ

2h

∗

e

−

_

πn

τ

z

(r

∗2

+(z

∗

−λ)

2

)

_

r

∗2

+(z

∗

−λ)

2

sin

_

2πnt

∗

+θ

n

−

_

πn

τ

z

_

r

∗2

+(z

∗

−λ)

2

_

_

, (32)

where ˙ m

∗

c

dλ/2h

∗

is the element strength amplitude with dλ being the element dimensionless

length. In order to satisfy the boundary conditions (24) and (30), a corresponding set of source

elements along the z

∗

axis at points (0, ±2m ±λ), m = 0, 1, 2, . . . must be accounted for.

The solution can then be obtained by integrating the derived expression for all λ’s from 0 to

h

∗

. Consequently, the steady periodic solution of Eqs. 22–27 and 30 (with p

∗

= 1), subject

to F(t

∗

) as expressed in (31), is

∗

s

=

˙ m

∗

c

2h

∗

∞

m=−∞

z

∗

−2m+h

∗

_

z

∗

−2m−h

∗

e

−

_

πn

τ

z

(r

∗2

+ξ

2

)

_

r

∗2

+ξ

2

sin

_

2πnt

∗

+θ

n

−

_

πn

τ

z

_

r

∗2

+ξ

2

_

_

dξ. (33)

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 227

In the derivation, for simplicity, the variable transformation z

∗

±2m ±λ = ξ was incor-

porated. Generally, the solution is a fast converging series. This is especially valid for smaller

τ

z

where the contributions of remote elements become negligible.

The solution for a harmonic mass ﬂow rate is a building block for the construction of any

periodic mass ﬂow function. This is accomplished with a sine Fourier series of F(t

∗

), which

effectively is a mere superposition of harmonic forcing functions for which the solution (33)

applies. The solution of the actual mass ﬂow rate (see Fig. 2), obtained through the Fourier

series application, is therefore

∗

s

=

˙ m

∗

c

πh

∗

∞

n=1

C

n

n

∞

m=−∞

z

∗

−2m+h

∗

_

z

∗

−2m−h

∗

e

−

_

πn

τ

z

(r

∗2

+ξ

2

)

_

r

∗2

+ξ

2

×sin

_

2πnt

∗

+θ

n

−

_

πn

τ

z

(r

∗2

+ξ

2

)

_

dξ, (34)

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

)

_

, and (35)

B

n

= sin

2

_

πnt

∗

1

_

−CDsin

_

πn(t

∗

3

+t

∗

2

)

_

sin

_

πn(t

∗

3

−t

∗

2

)

_

Equation34 is an exact steady periodic solution to the linearized problem. However, in the

time vicinity of a ﬂowstep change (see Fig. 2), the solution series (for n) converges extremely

slowly for small values of r

∗

. Hence, the Fourier series solution does not reveal the maximum

and minimum well pressures, occurring at t

∗

1

and t

∗

3

, respectively. Nevertheless, the solution

is useful for all other times, and it also serves as a validation tool of the Laplace transform

solution, subsequently presented.

Although the plant operating conditions are determined by the steady periodic solution,

published numerical studies usually focused only on the ﬁrst cycle solution. Hence, it is of

interest to obtain the ﬁrst cycle solution and compare the limiting conditions of both solu-

tions. The solution for the charging stage of the ﬁrst cycle (when F(t

∗

) = 1) can be obtained

in a similar way as applied to the steady periodic solution method, where the steady periodic

point source is replaced by a continuous source. The modiﬁed pressure for 0 ≤ t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

is

therefore

∗

f

=

˙ m

∗

c

2h

∗

∞

m=−∞

z

∗

−2m+h

∗

_

z

∗

−2m−h

∗

1

_

r

∗2

+ξ

2

erfc

_

_

_

_

r

∗2

+ξ

2

_

4τ

z

t

∗

_

_

dξ 0 ≤ t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

. (36)

The values of

∗

f

in the subsequent times can be readily found by superposition

∗

f 2

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) =

∗

f

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) −

∗

f

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

−t

∗

1

) t

∗

1

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

2

(37a)

∗

f 3

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) =

∗

f 2

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) −CD

∗

f

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

−t

∗

2

) t

∗

2

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

3

(37b)

∗

f 4

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) =

∗

f 3

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) +CD

∗

f

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

−t

∗

3

) t

∗

3

< t

∗

≤ 1. (37c)

Equations 36and37represent anexact ﬁrst cycle solutiontothe linearizedproblem. The series

solution converges rapidly and is useful for calculating the ﬁrst cycle pressure

variation.

1 3

228 R. Kushnir et al.

3.2 Laplace Transform Method

In order to circumvent the slow convergence of the Fourier series, an alternative solution

based on the Laplace transform is incorporated. The method provides a steady periodic

pressure solution that can be easily evaluated for all values of r

∗

. Applying, ﬁrst, the Laplace

transform to Eqs. 22–27 and 30 (with p

∗

= 1), and subsequently, the ﬁnite Fourier cosine

transform, yields the solution

¯

∗

(r

∗

, z

∗

, s) = ˙ m

∗

c

¯

F (s) K

0

__

s

τ

z

r

∗

_

+

2 ˙ m

∗

c

¯

F (s)

πh

∗

∞

m=1

K

0

__

(mπ)

2

+

s

τ

z

r

∗

_

sin(mπh

∗

) cos(mπz

∗

)

m

, (38)

where

¯

∗

(r

∗

, z

∗

, s) and

¯

F(s)denotes the Laplace transform of

∗

(r

∗

, z

∗

, t

∗

) and F(t

∗

),

respectively, and K

0

is the modiﬁed Bessel function of the second kind of order zero. The

ﬁrst term on the RHS of (38), represents the solution of a fully penetrating well radial ﬂow

(h

∗

= 1). The second term describes the vertical pressure variations around a partially

penetrating well.

The ﬁrst cycle compression solution can be found by the substitution

¯

F (s) = 1/s (i.e.,

F(t

∗

) = 1) in Eq. 38. The expression obtained is then integrated, according to the inversion

theorem. Consequently, the modiﬁed pressure for 0 ≤ t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

is

∗

f

= −

˙ m

∗

c

2

Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

t

∗

_

+

2 ˙ m

∗

c

πh

∗

∞

m=1

_

_

K

0

(mπr

∗

)

−e

−m

2

π

2

τ

z

t

∗

∞

_

0

ξ J

0

(ξr

∗

)e

−ξ

2

τ

z

t

∗

ξ

2

+(mπ)

2

dξ

_

_

sin(mπh

∗

)cos(mπz

∗

)

m

, 0 ≤ t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

(39)

where Ei, is the exponential integral, and J

0

is the Bessel function of the ﬁrst kind of order

zero. The values of

∗

f

in subsequent times can be found by Eqs. 37a–c. Equation39, as

it stands, is merely an equivalent form of Eq. 36, and has no advantage on the latter. Actu-

ally, it carries a disadvantage, since as r

∗

→0, the series containing K

0

(mπr

∗

) requires an

extremely large number of terms before converging (and is singular at r

∗

= 0). As shown sub-

sequently, that problem can be avoided by replacing the Bessel series with its corresponding

power series representation in terms of r

∗

.

The superiority of the Laplace transform method is clearly apparent when considering the

steady periodic solution. The procedure used to obtain the steady periodic solution (follow-

ing the inversion theorem incorporation) is described by Kushnir et al. (2008). Applying that

procedure on Eq. 38 yields

∗

s

=

∗

f

+ ˙ m

∗

c

I

0

+

2 ˙ m

∗

c

πh

∗

∞

m=1

I

m

e

−m

2

π

2

τ

z

t

∗ sin(mπh

∗

) cos(mπz

∗

)

m

0 ≤ t

∗

≤ 1, (40)

where

I

m

=

∞

_

0

1 −e

(ξ

2

+m

2

π

2

τ

z

)t

∗

1

+CD

_

e

(ξ

2

+m

2

π

2

τ

z

)t

∗

3

−e

(ξ

2

+m

2

π

2

τ

z

)t

∗

2

_

(1 −e

(ξ

2

+m

2

π

2

τ

z

)

)(ξ

2

+m

2

π

2

τ

z

)

ξ J

0

_

ξr

∗

τ

1/2

z

_

e

−ξ

2

t

∗

dξ

m = 0, 1, 2, ... (41)

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 229

Equation40 is an exact steady periodic solution of the linearized partially penetrating well

representation. For all relevant periods, the solution is a fast converging series, and the

integrals I

m

can be easily calculated. Consequently, the steady periodic modiﬁed pressure

expressed by Eq. 40 is far more suitable for pressure computations at small values of r

∗

than

its equivalent Fourier series form (Eq. 34). Furthermore, inspection of the Laplace transform

solutions reveals that for π

2

τ

z

t

∗

>> 1 (where t

∗

is the dimensionless elapsed time fromthe

beginning of each stage), transient effects in the vertical direction are practically negligible.

For such times, the solutions could be significantly simpliﬁed by neglecting those transient

effects. Accordingly, the steady periodic solution is reduced to

∗

s

=

∗

s,r

+

2 ˙ m

∗

c

F (t

∗

)

πh

∗

∞

m=1

K

0

_

mπr

∗

_

sin(mπh

∗

) cos(mπz

∗

)

m

, (42)

where

∗

s,r

is the steady periodic solution of a fully penetrating well given by

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= −Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

t

∗

_

+2I

0

0 < t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

(43a)

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= −Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

t

∗

_

+ Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

1

)

_

+2I

0

t

∗

1

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

2

(43b)

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= −Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

t

∗

_

+ Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

1

)

_

+CDEi

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

2

)

_

+2I

0

t

∗

2

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

3

(43c)

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= −Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

t

∗

_

+ Ei

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

1

)

_

+CDEi

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

2

)

_

−CDEi

_

−r

∗2

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

3

)

_

+2I

0

t

∗

3

< t

∗

≤ 1. (43d)

At the vicinity of the well (small values of r

∗

), asymptotic representations of the expo-

nential integral and of I

0

can be incorporated into the pressure expressions, which yield

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= ln

4τ

z

t

∗

Cr

∗2

+ I

0a

0 < t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

(44a)

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= ln

t

∗

t

∗

−t

∗

1

+ I

0a

t

∗

1

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

2

(44b)

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= ln

t

∗

t

∗

−t

∗

1

−CDln

4τ

z

(t

∗

−t

∗

2

)

Cr

∗2

+ I

0a

t

∗

2

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

3

(44c)

2

∗

s,r

˙ m

∗

c

= ln

t

∗

t

∗

−t

∗

1

+CDln

t

∗

−t

∗

3

t

∗

−t

∗

2

+ I

0a

t

∗

3

< t

∗

≤ 1, (44d)

where I

0a

is the asymptotic representation of 2I

0

I

0a

= ln

(1 +t

∗

−t

∗

1

)

(1 +t

∗

)

+CDln

(1 +t

∗

−t

∗

2

)

(1 +t

∗

−t

∗

3

)

. (45)

is the Gamma function and C = e

γ

, with γ being the Euler’s constant (C=1.781072…).

Equation 42 is valid when π

2

τ

z

t

∗

>> 1 for 0 < t

∗

≤ t

∗

1

, and π

2

τ

z

(t

∗

− t

∗

1

) >> 1 for

t

∗

1

< t

∗

≤ t

∗

2

, etc. In effect, these conditions state that the elapsed time from the begin-

ning of each stage should be substantially larger than the characteristic time H

2

/(α

z

π

2

).

1 3

230 R. Kushnir et al.

For such times, pressure transient effects in the vertical direction are negligible, and the

vertical pressure changes are of a steady periodic nature. Notice that the ﬁrst cycle solution

can be calculated by Eq. 42, simply from the omission of the 2I

0

(or I

0a

) term. Thus, the

Laplace transform method also exposes the difference between the ﬁrst cycle and the steady

periodic cycle solutions.

As seen from Eq. 42, the modiﬁed pressure is practically independent of z

∗

for r

∗

’s closer

or larger than 2. Effects of the partial penetration of the well are therefore conﬁned to a

dimensionless radial distance smaller than 2. Beyond that distance, the ﬂow is essentially

radial, and the modiﬁed pressure can be calculated by

∗

s,r

. Up to a distance of 2, the vertical

ﬂow is prominent, as obtained from the summation term of (42). For smaller r

∗

’s, more

terms are needed to calculate the Bessel series. In particular, as r

∗

approaches zero, the series

requires an extremely large number of terms to calculate. For small values of r

∗

, it is more

advantageous to address the two equivalent solutions, Eqs. 36 and 39. On comparing those

solutions, subject to τ

z

t

∗

→∞, and by expressing (r

∗2

+ξ

2

)

−1/2

in terms of a power series

of r

∗

, the following representation emerges

2

πh

∗

∞

m=1

K

0

(mπr

∗

)

sin(mπh

∗

) cos(mπz

∗

)

m

= ln

r

∗

4

−

1

2h

∗

_

ln

_

2

((z

∗

+h

∗

) /2) sin (π (z

∗

+h

∗

) /2)

2

((z

∗

−h

∗

) /2) sin (π (z

∗

−h

∗

) /2)

_

− ln

_

z

∗

−h

∗

z

∗

+h

∗

·

z

∗

+h

∗

+

_

r

∗2

+(z

∗

+h

∗

)

2

z

∗

−h

∗

+

_

r

∗2

+(z

∗

−h

∗

)

2

_

+

r

∗2

16

_

ζ

_

2, 1 −

z

∗

2

−

h

∗

2

_

−ζ

_

2, 1 −

z

∗

2

+

h

∗

2

_

+ζ

_

2,

z

∗

−h

2

∗

_

−ζ

_

2,

z

∗

+h

2

∗

_

+

_

2

z

∗

+h

∗

_

2

−

_

2

z

∗

−h

∗

_

2

_

−

3r

∗4

512

_

ζ

_

4, 1 −

z

∗

2

−

h

∗

2

_

−ζ

_

4, 1 −

z

∗

2

+

h

∗

2

_

+ζ

_

4,

z

∗

−h

2

∗

_

−ζ

_

4,

z

∗

+h

2

∗

_

+

_

2

z

∗

+h

∗

_

4

−

_

2

z

∗

−h

∗

_

4

_

+· · ·

_

, (46)

where ζ is the Hurwitz Zeta function. Excluding extreme cases, the value of r

∗

at the well

is small enough so that only the logarithmic terms, on the RHS of (46), must be retained to

calculate the well pressure. Furthermore, the term ln(r

∗

/4) is the only singular function at

r

∗

= 0. As expected, it cancels out when combined with the singular term of

∗

s,r

(see Eqs.

44a, 44c). Consequently, a ﬁnite value of the pressure beneath the well (r

∗

= 0, z

∗

> h

∗

)

can be calculated. The pressure variations beneath the well are of particular significance, by

providing the basis for the calculation of the highest interface rise, which occurs at r

∗

= 0.

As aforementioned, the maximumand minimumreservoir pressures are of practical inter-

est. These pressures occur at the top of the well (r

∗

= r

∗

w

, z

∗

= 0) at times t

∗

1

and t

∗

3

,

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 231

(a) (b)

Fig. 3 First period air pressure variations at the well (r

∗

= r

∗

w

, z

∗

= 0): comparison between Eq. 42 and the

exact solution for ˙ m

∗

c

= 0.005, r

∗

w

= 0.014, τ

z

= 100, h

∗

= 0.5, t

∗

1

= 7/24, t

∗

2

= 14/24, and t

∗

3

= 18/24.

a Charging and subsequent storage and b discharge and subsequent storage

respectively. Upon substituting the indicated location and times in Eq. 42 and 46 one obtains,

2

∗

s max

˙ m

∗

c

= ln

τ

z

t

∗

1

4C

+ I

0a

+

1

h

∗

_

_

ln

_

_

r

∗2

w

+h

∗2

+h

∗

_

2

(−h

∗

/2)

_

_

r

∗2

w

+h

∗2

−h

∗

_

2

(h

∗

/2)

+ O(r

∗2

w

)

_

_

2

∗

s min

˙ m

∗

c

= ln

t

∗

3

t

∗

3

−t

∗

1

−CDln

τ

z

_

t

∗

3

−t

∗

2

_

4C

+I

0a

−

CD

h

∗

_

_

ln

_

_

r

∗2

w

+h

∗2

+h

∗

_

2

(−h

∗

/2)

_

_

r

∗2

w

+h

∗2

−h

∗

_

2

(h

∗

/2)

+ O(r

∗2

w

)

_

_

, (47)

where I

0a

is calculated at the appropriate time (t

∗

1

for maximum and t

∗

3

for minimum). The

ﬁrst cycle extreme pressures can be calculated simply from the omission of I

0a

. As seen, the

Laplace transform method provides simple and useful expressions of the well pressure.

The above expressions were obtained for conditions of negligible transient effects in the

vertical direction. In order to assess if those transient effects are indeed negligible based

on their duration, well pressure variations during the ﬁrst cycle were calculated for typical

operating conditions and reservoir characteristics, as seen in Fig. 3a and b. The ﬁgures pres-

ent a comparison between the exact solution (of the linear problem, Eqs. 36 or 39) and the

simpliﬁed solution (Eq. 42, omitting I

0a

). All the stages were shifted in time to represent

them on a single time scale (t

∗

). As it turns out, already at π

2

τ

z

t

∗

= 2, the solutions are

essentially identical (with proximity smaller than 0.02%). That is, for a cycle time of 24h

and τ

z

= 100, 3min after the beginning of each stage, vertical pressure transients terminate.

In order to estimate the error entailed by the linearization of Eq. 22 (obtained by setting

p

∗

= 1), the analysis described in the appendix of Kushnir et al. (2008) was incorporated.

The results conﬁrm that the nonlinearity effects of Eq. 22 are indeed negligible. It is worth

noting that the linearized modiﬁed pressure representation allows the extension of the sin-

gle well solution to solutions of multiple well ﬁelds, simply by superposition. Likewise, for

ﬁnite reservoir boundaries, solutions can be derived from the superposition of appropriate

well images.

1 3

232 R. Kushnir et al.

4 Interface Location and Stability

In principle, knowledge of the reservoir pressure distribution enables the calculation of the

interface curve z

∗

= η

∗

(r

∗

, t

∗

) during discharge based on Eq. 29. The highest interface rise

occurs right beneath the well, approximately at the end of the withdrawal stage (r

∗

= 0, t

∗

=

t

∗

3

). Based on the pressure distribution solution, the modiﬁed pressure beneath the well at

that time is

2

∗

s

˙ m

∗

c

¸

¸

¸

¸

r

∗

= 0

t

∗

= t

∗

3

= ln

t

∗

3

t

∗

3

−t

∗

1

−CDln

τ

z

_

t

∗

3

−t

∗

2

_

4C

+ I

0a

−

CD

h

∗

ln

2

((z

∗

−h

∗

) /2) sin (π (z

∗

−h

∗

) /2)

2

((z

∗

+h

∗

) /2) sin (π (z

∗

+h

∗

) /2)

. (48)

The substitution of this expression into Eq. 29 yields an implicit equation from which the

extent of the highest interface rise can be determined (subject to the set of pertinent param-

eters: ˙ m

∗

c

, h

∗

, g

∗

, τ

z

, t

∗

1

, t

∗

2

, t

∗

3

).

In order to demonstrate how the location and stability of the interface can be determined,

the air pressure distribution beneath the well at the end of the ﬁrst withdrawal stage is plotted

in Fig. 4a and b, for different values of ˙ m

∗

c

’s and penetration depths, respectively. The linear

dotted line in the ﬁgure refers to the water hydrostatic pressure distribution beneath the well.

The intersection points of the dotted line with the air pressure curves represent the solutions

of Eq. 29. As seen from Fig. 4a, for ˙ m

∗

c

= 0.006, there are two solutions (points A and B).

At point B, the pressure gradient in the air zone exceeds the hydrostatic gradient in the water

zone. Hence, the height at B is unstable, and water could be drawn into the well. Conversely,

point A pertains to a physically stable height, as the air pressure gradient is smaller than that

of the water zone. As ˙ m

∗

c

is increased, the interface height rises up to a critical height (point

C). At that point, the pressure gradient at both sides of the interface is identical, and any

increase in ˙ m

∗

c

will drive the water into the well. Therefore, the interface height at point C is

deﬁned as critical, and the corresponding value of ˙ m

∗

c

(0.01255) is the critical suction rate.

Beyond that critical rate, a stable interface height cannot exist, as seen from the inspection of

the curve ˙ m

∗

c

= 0.024. Similarly, for any given value of ˙ m

∗

c

, there exists a critical penetration

depth, as seen in Fig. 4b.

Following the above, for any given compressed air pressure distribution, the air–water

interface stability can be determined. Evidently, the critical mass ﬂow rate and interface rise

are deﬁned by two conditions stating that both the pressure and the vertical pressure gradi-

ent on each side of the interface are identical. Hence, the equations determining the critical

conditions are

r

∗

= 0, z

∗

= η

∗

, t

∗

= t

∗

3

_

1 +

∗

_

1/2

= 1 − g

∗

_

1 − z

∗

_

(49)

r

∗

= 0, z

∗

= η

∗

, t

∗

= t

∗

3

∂

∗

∂z

∗

= 2g

∗

_

1 − g

∗

_

1 − z

∗

__

. (50)

Given a set of parameters (h

∗

, g

∗

, τ

z

, t

∗

1

, t

∗

2

, t

∗

3

), the critical dimensionless mass ﬂow rate,

˙ m

∗

c cr

, and the critical interface rise can thereby be determined.

In reality, critical conditions can involve appreciable interface rises, whereas the derived

solutions are for relatively small interface ﬂuctuations. Nonetheless, Muskat (1937) showed

that such an approximation will only affect the quantitative details of the results. It does

not invalidate the general conclusions relating to the existence of critical conditions and

the dependence of the critical ﬂow on its pertinent parameters. Indeed, comparison of the

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 233

(a) (b)

Fig. 4 Air and water pressure distributions beneath the well at the termination of the ﬁrst discharge stage

(r

∗

= 0, t

∗

= t

∗

3

) for τ

z

= 78.75, g

∗

= 0.03924, t

∗

1

= 10/24, t

∗

2

= 12/24, and t

∗

3

= 22/24. a At different

˙ m

∗

c

’s and b at different h

∗

’s

Muskat and Wyckoff (1935) approximate solution with solutions that addresses the interface

shape (Wheatley 1985; Hoyland et al. 1989), reveals that the approximation entails somewhat

higher critical ﬂow rates but represents quite accurately the inﬂuence of the relevant param-

eters (well screen length, layer height, etc.) on the critical conditions. Furthermore, from

a quantitative point of view, the approximate critical ﬂow rate is sufﬁcient to estimate the

number of wells required for any desired application, and thereby determines the economic

feasibility.

5 Results and Discussion

5.1 General Considerations

Table1 provides representative ranges of the studied reservoir characteristics, operating con-

ditions, and their corresponding dimensionless parameters. As seen in the table, the values

of r

∗

w

are indeed small enough to justify the omission of terms containing r

∗2

w

, and terms of

higher power, in Eq. 47. These terms can be significant only if k

z

is much larger than k

r

(the

maximumvalue of r

∗

w

in the table is based on a permeability ratio of unity). In addition, it was

shown in Fig. 3 that vertical pressure transients terminate when the time elapsed at each stage,

from its initiation, is approximately twice the vertical characteristic time, H

2

/(α

z

π

2

). That

is, even for the maximum vertical characteristic time of 2,700s (Table1), vertical pressure

transients terminate way before the end of each stage.

In order to closely inspect the nature of the pressure distribution, calculated steady peri-

odic pressure distributions for a cycle period at different radii and elevations are illustrated

in Fig. 5a and b, respectively (for the indicated set of operating conditions). As seen, the well

pressure undergoes rapid changes at the beginning of each time interval (owing to the ﬂow

variations). Following those sharp responses, the rate of change of the pressure moderates, as

it approaches stable conditions. The well pressure reaches its crest at the end of the charging

stage and drops to its trough at the termination of the power generation stage. Figure5a reveals

a diminution of the pressure amplitude with a slightly progressive phase lag as r

∗

increases.

As observed, the penetration of a well pressure ﬂuctuation into the reservoir does not exceed

1 3

234 R. Kushnir et al.

Table 1 Representative ranges of reservoir characteristics, operating conditions, and their corresponding

dimensionless parameters (The maximal value of r

∗

w

is based on the maximal permeability ratio of 1, and

separately, the speciﬁc gas constant is R = 0.287kJ/kg K)

Variable Definitions Minimum value Maximum value Units

f Porosity 0.05 0.35 unitless

k

r

Radial permeability 100 5,000 md

k

z

Vertical permeability 100 5,000 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

ρ

w

Water density 930 1,000 kg/m

3

t

p

Time period 24 24 h

Z Air compressibility factor 0.99 1.01 unitless

α

r

, α

z

Pneumatic diffusivities 0.02 40 m

2

/s

H

2

/(α

z

π

2

) Vertical characteristic time 0.07 2.7 ×10

3

s

τ

z

t

p

α

z

/H

2

3 1.3 ×10

5

r

∗

w

(k

z

/k

r

)

1/2

r

w

/H 3 ×10

−4

0.12

˙ m

∗

c

˙ m

c

µZRT/(πH k

r

P

2

0

) 8 ×10

−5

20

g

∗

ρ

w

gH/P

0

7 ×10

−3

0.12

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

a certain distance. Beyond that distance, the pressure oscillations vanish. Hence, the inﬁnite

reservoir approach is valid when the effective reservoir radius exceeds the ﬂuctuating gas

penetration radius. For a fully penetrating well, the penetration radius is approximately equal

to (t

p

α

r

)

1/2

(Kushnir et al. 2008). For a partially penetrating well, the ratio of the maximum

pressure (at any radius) versus the maximum well pressure is likely to drop within a shorter

radius than the fully penetrating well (owning to a higher maximum well pressure). As seen

in Fig. 5b, proceeding vertically downward, the pressure amplitude decreases along the well,

and the phase lag is practically negligible. Based on the latter, calculations of the critical

conditions can be performed at the end of each withdrawal stage, representing the time of

minimal pressure in the gas layer below the well.

Since previous investigations addressed only the ﬁrst cycle solution, it is of essence to

compare the extreme conditions of the ﬁrst cycle and periodically steady-state solutions.

For that purpose, the relative error ( p

∗

f

− p

∗

s

)/p

∗

s

was calculated and plotted (including the

pressure) against ˙ m

∗

c

, for the maximum and minimum pressure values, as seen in Fig. 6 a

and b, respectively. For the particular calculations shown in Fig. 6, the relative error is indeed

negligible for moderate pressure ﬂuctuations. It becomes perceptible only in cases of imprac-

tical high pressure ﬂuctuations. It is important to note that applicable ranges of operating

conditions are to avoid interface instability, and thus are bounded by ˙ m

∗

c cr

(here, in particular,

˙ m

∗

c cr

= 0.0163 for g

∗

= 0.12). Similar calculations for the entire range of the parameters

appearing in Table1 lead to the same conclusion. Therefore, it seems that for all practical

conditions, subject to the critical conditions ( ˙ m

∗

c

≤ ˙ m

∗

c cr

)and within the limitations of mod-

erate pressure ﬂuctuations ( p

∗

s min

≥ 0.75), the relative error can be considered negligible. In

conclusion, for normal operating conditions, the ﬁrst cycle solution adequately represents the

steady periodic solution. Hence, to obtain a cycle period pressure distribution, it is sufﬁcient

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 235

(a) (b)

Fig. 5 Steady periodic dimensionless pressure oscillations for t

∗

1

= 7/24, t

∗

2

= 14/24, and t

∗

3

= 18/24.

a At different dimensionless radii and b at different dimensionless depths

to know the solution for a constant well mass ﬂow rate. Any ﬁrst cycle pressure distribution

(for a daily or a weekly cycle) can be constructed from that solution.

5.2 Parametric Study

For the design of a CAES plant, predictions of the air pressure oscillations in the reservoir

during operation are of interest, in particular, as it pertains to the oscillations extreme values.

In general, an increase in pressure oscillations entails larger compression and lower turbine

output, both, reducing the plant efﬁciency. Clearly, to mitigate pressure ﬂuctuations and

associated losses, the well screen length must be extended as much as possible. On the other

hand, larger penetrations run the risk of undesired water suction. In order to demonstrate the

effects of the penetration of the well on pressure ﬂuctuations, the range of pressure oscillation

p

∗

s

= p

∗

s max

−p

∗

s min

is plotted as a function of h

∗

in Fig. 7a–c, for several values of ˙ m

∗

c

, r

∗

w

,

and τ

z

. It is seen that p

∗

s

is highly dependent on h

∗

for a range of small well penetrations.

This range widens along with larger p

∗

s

, as ˙ m

∗

c

increases or r

∗

w

decreases. At longer well

penetrations, the p

∗

s

variation moderates.

Expectedly, Fig. 7a–c reveals that p

∗

s

increases with both ˙ m

∗

c

and τ

z

, and decreases with

r

∗

w

. From these parameters, ˙ m

∗

c

is the most inﬂuencing. Its dominance can be observed in

Eq. 47 as well, since the modiﬁed pressure is directly proportional to ˙ m

∗

c

. The parameter τ

z

appears in a logarithmic term and therefore affects mildly p

∗

s

. As seen from, both, Fig. 7b

and Eq. 47, the inﬂuence of r

∗

w

on p

∗

s

is strongly dependent on the well penetration. At

short penetrations, p

∗

s

is strongly effected by r

∗

w

, while at deep penetrations, p

∗

s

becomes

independent of r

∗

w

. This assertion stems from the fact that at high well penetrations, the ﬂow

is radial and thus depends on τ

z

/r

∗2

w

(≡ τ

r

), while at short well penetration, vertical ﬂow is

appreciable and varies with r

∗

w

. Notice that the plots do not address instability limitations

of the ﬂow, and as such are representative only for the corresponding ranges of stable ﬂow

conditions.

Beyondthe considerationof pressure ﬂuctuations, the CAESplant must be designedwithin

the limitation of critical ﬂow rates. As aforementioned, the critical dimensionless mass ﬂow

rate and interface rise are calculated by Eqs. 49 and 50. Results of such calculations are seen in

Fig. 8, showing the critical conditions dependence on the relative well penetration for various

values of g

∗

(8a) and τ

z

(8b). The predicted trends agree with the results of previous inves-

tigations of steady oil wells critical conditions (e.g., Wheatley 1985; Hoyland et al. 1989).

1 3

236 R. Kushnir et al.

(a)

(b)

Fig. 6 Relative error (between the steady periodic and ﬁrst period pressures) as a function of ˙ m

∗

c

for different

values of r

∗

w

. a At the cycle maximum pressure and b at the cycle minimum pressure

Evidently, critical ﬂow rates are smaller for deeper well penetrations, with a markedly higher

sensitivity at deep penetrations. On the other hand, the relative interface critical rise is larger

at deeper well penetrations (the relative interface rise is deﬁned as y

∗

= (H −η)/(H −h)).

It is seen that ˙ m

∗

c cr

increases with g

∗

and decreases with τ

z

. As it turns out, the critical

ﬂow rate strongly depends on the gas layer height, where a mild extension of H entails a

significant increase of ˙ m

c cr

. In addition, the critical ﬂow rate is directly proportional to the

horizontal permeability and approximately inversely proportional to the temperature (effects

of viscosity and compressibility owing to temperature changes are negligible). This is not a

consequence of the linearization and applies also to the exact solution of Eqs. 12 through 18

(since k

r

and T appear only in ˙ m

∗

c

). The vertical permeability and the porosity, which appear

solely in τ

z

, affect little the critical ﬂow rate.

In general, the variables that can mitigate the pressure ﬂuctuations also stabilize the inter-

face. Excluded from such variables are the well screen length and the vertical permeability.

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 237

(a) (b)

(c)

Fig. 7 Ranges of dimensionless pressure variations versus relative well penetrations. a At different ˙ m

∗

c

’s,

b at different r

∗

w

’s, and c at different τ

z

’s

(a) (b)

Fig. 8 Critical dimensionless ﬂow rates and relative interface rises versus relative well penetrations. a At

different g

∗

’s and b at different τ

z

’s

This is manifested in Figs. 7 and 8 where larger well penetrations reduce both the pressure

ﬂuctuations and the critical ﬂow rate (notice that an increase in vertical permeability can be

interpreted as a well penetration elongation). A decrease in pressure oscillations is desirable

because it reduces the compression work and enlarges the turbine output. However, lower

critical ﬂow rates would require more wells. In order to elucidate these opposing effects, the

1 3

238 R. Kushnir et al.

Fig. 9 Effects of the well penetration on the critical dimensionless ﬂow rate and the corresponding range of

pressure variations

critical ﬂow rate and the corresponding range of pressure oscillations (calculated at ˙ m

∗

c cr

)

are plotted in Fig. 9. Obviously, the choice of the preferred screen length must be strongly

based on economics.

It is warranted to extend the discussion and address quantitatively real critical ﬂow rates.

Referring to the Huntorf CAES plant, where the compressor works 12h at 108kg/s and the

turbine works 3h (producing 290MW) with an inlet pressure of 43 bar (Crotogino et al.

2001). Though the plant operates with salt cavern reservoirs, the same operating conditions

are subsequently used to determine how many wells are required to perform similarly with

an aquifer reservoir. The maximum allowable ﬂow rate, per well, is therefore calculated

for t

∗

1

= 12/24, t

∗

2

= 18/24, t

∗

3

= 21/24, and P

0

= 45 bar. Assuming an aquifer with

f = 0.2, k

r

= 500 md, k

z

= 400 md, and T=310K (Z=0.9946, µ = 1.964 × 10

−5

Pas,

ρ

w

= 995 kg/m

3

), and then for H = 25m, the highest critical ﬂowrate (h

∗

= 0) is 2.34kg/s.

It means that for a total of 108kg/s, at least 46 wells are needed (excluding well interference).

Accordingly, for H = 15 m, ˙ m

c cr

= 0.724 kg/s (149 wells), and for H = 5 m, ˙ m

c cr

=

0.0627 kg/s (1,722 wells). The calculation demonstrates that water coning could constitute

a severe limitation, especially for large scale plants. Consequently, it is apparent that CAES

designs must give preference to the smallest practical ˙ m

∗

c

(e.g., larger H, and k

r

or smaller

T) for the reduction of both number of wells and pressure ﬂuctuations.

All the above results are based on ﬁxed time intervals (charging, storage, and power gener-

ation). Realistic bounds for these intervals are shown in Table1. Basically, the time intervals

are determined so as to meet the local power demand and production capacity. Effects of

the duration period of the power generation on the critical ﬂow rate and the corresponding

range of minimum pressure are shown in Fig. 10. As seen, prolonging the duration of power

generation can significantly increase the well storage capacity. Moreover, the corresponding

minimum pressure is even slightly higher owing to smaller discharge ﬂow rates. As for the

compression phase, referring to the bounds shown in Table1, prolongation of its duration

period would not affect the well storage capacity (i.e., ˙ m

∗

c cr

t

∗

1

≈ const), but would reduce

p

∗

max

owing to a corresponding smaller ﬂow rate. Consequently, it is desirable to expand the

duration periods of compression and power generation, as much as feasible.

1 3

Compressed Air Flow of CAES Plants 239

Fig. 10 Dimensionless critical ﬂow rates and corresponding minimum pressures versus well penetration for

different power-generation-duration periods

6 Conclusions

A theoretical investigation of a compressible gas ﬂow within CAES plant aquifer reservoirs

was conducted. The analysis provides simple and useful expressions for the periodic air

pressure distribution. Based on these expressions both the well pressure and the stability

conditions of the air–water interface are determined. The following conclusions were drawn

from the investigation:

• For normal operating conditions (characterized by moderate pressure ﬂuctuations and

smaller than critical mass ﬂow rates), the ﬁrst cycle solution adequately represents the

steady periodic solution.

• Water coning could impose severe limitations (especially for large scale plants) on the

discharge ﬂow rates.

• CAES plant designs must give preference to the smallest practical ˙ m

∗

c

(e.g., larger H, and

k

r

or smaller T) for the reduction of both the number of wells and the pressure ﬂuctuations.

• It is desirable to expand the compression and power generation duration periods, as much

as feasible. Prolongation of the duration period of the power generation, in particular, can

significantly increase the well storage capacity.

• The choice of the well screen length must be based on economics (accounting for the

plant energy capacity and the number of required wells).

The analytical solution developed in this study can also be used to construct a solution for

multiple well systems. It provides an important tool that could eventually support optimiza-

tion analyses of compressed air storage.

References

Allen, R.D., Doherty, T.J., Schainker, R.B., Istvan, J.A., Pereira, J.C.: Preliminary results from the pittsﬁeld

aquifer ﬁeld test applicable to commercialization of CAES technology. Intersociety Energy Conversion

Engineering Conference, San Francisco, USA, pp. 1081–1090 (1984)

ANRStorage Company: compressed air energy storage in porous media, EPRI Report 2488-10, March (1986)

1 3

240 R. Kushnir et al.

Braester, C., Bear, J.: Some hydrodynamics aspects of compressed-air energy storage in aquifers. J. Hydrol.

(Amst.) 73, 201–225 (1984)

Carslaw, H.S., Jaeger, J.C.: Conduction of Heat in Solids, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1959)

Crotogino, F., Mohmeyer, K.U., Scharf, R.: Huntorf CAES: more than 20 years of successful operation. SMRI

Spring Meeting, Orlando, USA, pp. 351–357 (2001)

Hoyland, L.A., Papatzacos, P., Skjaeveland, S.M.: Critical rate for water coning: correlation and analytical

solution. SPE Reserv. Eng. 4(4), 495–502 (1989). doi:10.2118/15855-PA

Kushnir, R., Ullmann, A., Dayan, A.: Steady periodic gas ﬂow around a well of a CAES plant. Transp. Porous

Media 73(1), 1–20 (2008). doi:10.1007/s11242-007-9156-x

Meiri, D., Karadi, G.M.: Simulation of air storage aquifer by ﬁnite element model. Int. J. Numer. Anal. Meth.

Geomech. 6(3), 339–351 (1982). doi:10.1002/nag.1610060306

Muskat, M.: The Flowof Homogeneous Fluid through Porous Media. 1st edn. McGraw-Hill, NewYork (1937)

Muskat, M., Wyckoff, R.D.: An approximate theory of water coning in oil production. Trans. AIME 114, 144–

163 (1935)

Ruud, N.C., Kabala, Z.J.: Response of a partially penetrating well in a heterogeneous aquifer: integrated well-

face ﬂux vs. uniform well-face ﬂux boundary conditions. J. Hydrol. (Amst.) 194, 76–94 (1997). doi:10.

1016/S0022-1694(96)03217-9

Wheatley, M.J.: An approximate theory of oil/water coning. Paper SPE 14210, SPE 60th annual technical

conference and exhibition, Las Vegas, USA (1985)

Wiles, L.E.: Numerical analysis of temperature and ﬂow effects in a dry, two-dimensional, porous media res-

ervoir used for compressed air energy storage, technical report PNL-3047, Paciﬁc Northwest Laboratory

(1979)

Wiles, L.E., McCann, R.A.: Water coning in porous media reservoirs for compressed air energy storage,

technical report PNL-3470, Paciﬁc Northwest Laboratory (1981)

1 3

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