Canadian company Hydrostor came up with a way to store compressed air in balloons underwater that can be used to create electricity when needed.
From a Hydrostor press release: “The technology works by running electricity through a compressor and converting it into compressed air. The compressed air is sent underwater where it is stored in large balloon-like structures. When electricity is needed again, the weight of the water pushes the air to the surface through an airline to an expander which converts the air back into electricity.”
Hydrostor has a system running in Toronto. It’s managed by the utility company which will “store electricity during off-peak hours when demand is low and electricity is cheapest, and return the stored electricity during times of high demand or during short-term power outages.”
According to Greentech Media, the base balloon storage system is designed to work at 650 feet deep about two miles offshore and will be marketed to island nations. The Toronto system is about two miles offshore in Lake Ontario at 180 feet deep.
A maglev train actually levitates. The Guardian has a good explainer. That’s some real science future action.
It can also travel more than 300 mph. At that speed, the trip over Lake Pontchartrain (approximately 25 miles) would take five minutes.
I would put a station on the north shore at the intersection of Interstate 12 and Highway 190 and a south shore station at Lakeside Mall. It’s about a 30-mile trip, which would take six minutes at 300 mph.
Of course, it would require usage to be constant and consistent. Most of the science future scenarios I imagine on the website assume that the population of Greater New Orleans increases. I don’t see why we can’t be a major metropolis, like New York and Los Angeles. Therefore, I’ll say outdoor electricity-generating parks have a place in our science future.
Part of the design included “moons” — hotels and apartments in the water. They are crescent-shaped, which allows them to form a beach inside the crescent as the waves bring in sand and sediment. They look like coves in the middle of the water.
Line up a few of these off the coast, and they can act as barrier islands. Plus, they look cool.
The hotels could also give Louisiana a French Riviera of the South. And, the residences could include fishing camps. They would protect the coast and provide a source of revenue.
Potential problems would include airspace. Planes, helicopters, and drones would have to stay clear. And birds beware.
The balloons would have to be connected to the ground by cables. The cables would move around depending on the wind. So, solar balloon farms would use up a lot of surface area. We could put the solar balloon farms in Lake Pontchartrain and reroute airport traffic.