Invention Library

Hierarchical Structures for Isothermal Compression / Expansion for Energy Storage

The investigators have found cost-effective isothermal compression and expansion of gaseous streams is achievable through vasculatures with lung-like gas flow paths embedded in phase change material (PCM) or thermochemical materials. Their design is highly scalable; a patent has been applied for.

In previous attempts to obtain isothermal compression / expansion, temperature increase and decrease was managed primarily by spraying liquids into the cylinder of a common piston machine during compression, or by compressing a pre-mixed foam. However, these designs are not scalable and increase the overall system cost.

The inventors project the cost of using their system will be substantially lower than current diabetic plants, because the multiple compressors and coolers of current diabatic plants will be replaced by a single isothermal compressor.  The Lorente-Bejan invention features a scalable design, for all sizes of CAES plants, particularly for the basic compressor of a large power plant.

Further, energy storage is critical to the use and implementation of renewable energies such as wind. Isothermal CAES (I-CAES) provides the potential for green, efficient, and scalable energy storage that holds several advantages over current energy storage methods, such as eliminating the need for batteries that require limited rare earth elements.

Unique Attributes

  • Dendritic airflow architecture allows for more uniform and efficient air compression and expansion with lower power demands.
  • Energy storage material linings consisting of phase change or thermochemical materials improve temperature control over existing I-CAES technologies. These materials allow the invention to offer a self-controlling and energy-regeneration solution compatible with sensors already present in many mechanical sensors.
  • The invention will allow plant operators to control, to reduce, and to spread the sources of thermodynamic irreversibility, which if not controlled, are to blame for the temperature increase during compression.


Any industrial process, including those in the chemical, construction, manufacturing, and storage industries, that requires compressing / expanding gas.

Energy storage is critical to the use and implementation of renewable energies such as wind.