Jer points us to this clever set-up using a windmill, compressed air and a "linear expander" to store energy and provide cooling. As he says,
"You may've already heard of this, but I just stumbled across it: not a combined-heat-n-power system, but combined cold and power, by using a windmill to compress air instead of turn a generator; when you later use the compressed air to run a generator, its pressure drop will give you cooling power too, besides giving you power on demand rather'n when its windy or not. Of course, you lose energy from whatever heat radiates/conducts off the tank of compressed air as it's getting compressed, but the convenience & elimination of other systems might overcome this loss."
It's, um, well, cool and powerful and news to me. Check it out.
Neat idea - the cooling (and heating for the reverse process) is generally seen as somewhat a problem for large scale compressed air storage - see for example this project in Ohio: http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2001/05/05312001/airstore_43782.asp
which is eventually expected to create a 2700 MW compresed air storage system. Economical and efficient power storage is one of the major pieces in the renewable energy puzzle, since most renewables are intermittent and largely unpredictable. Compressed air is one of the least expensive large-scale storage options. The only problem is a lack of underground cavern space for the storage.
Would this also apply to the compressed air powered vehicles developed by the Russians and now being promoted by a Luxembourg company?
Big underground hole?!? Shoot, boy; them Bushies got lot o' them: