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Could we ever run on air energy? Answered

I was thinking maybe we could use air as energy.Air is everywhere and it would be really easy to use it. I'm not sure if it's possible but if it was it would be cool.


Energy is only released when something moves or changes from one state to another. So a material that is everywhere is actually not, in itself, such a good choice for energy generation.

However, in certain situations, air pressure can be a good way to store energy. Cars are currently under development that are powered by the release of compressed air. Currently, cars powered by compressed air are difficult to recharge and terribly underpowered, despite being engineered with the lightest materials possible. Perhaps in the future they could be used for short-distance urban travel.

But even if compressed air does not work out on small scales, it looks much more practical on large scales. Power plants can use pressurized caves to store up energy for peak usage hours.


9 years ago

Calgary Alberta Canada is using wind mills to power their public transit line, and I believe Toronto Ontario will be doing the same thing soon.... ref: LRT (light rail transit)

like benthekahn said - moving air can be used to make energy air itself cannot be used as energy but as part of a system that stores and transfers solar or other energy plants take carbon (which is a fuel) out of the co2 that is in the air (that is exactly where all the green story begins). the process needs energy that is given by the sun living creatures eat plants and breathe air. they combine the carbon from plants with oxygen from the air and release co2 into the air. the process gives them the solar energy that was accumulated from the sun and stored in the carbon

The real idea behind "using" energy is that you really just transfer the energy from one thing to another. In the case of air, you just have to have a means to transfer the energy in the air into a usable form. Most of the time, we use moving air to rotate the blade assembly of a wind turbine, or wind mill. This process removes energy from the air and uses it to crush grain, or rotate an electric generator. Sail boats and such also "run on air energy" by design.

We may also, at some point, be able to harness the temperature differences between two masses of air and generate (transfer) energy that way. The temperature difference, however, would probably just lead to a pressure difference and create wind, which we already know how to use.

The main concept that would be useful in this coversation is "exergy," which is the ability of a system to do work as it reaches equilibrium with its surroundings or environment. This takes into account the fact that we can't always USE energy, even though it never really "goes away." Energy is always conserved, we just can't do anything useful with it anymore.

This idea almost leads to a point where the exergy of the entire planet will be such that no useful energy will be left. No process is perfect, so some useful energy will always be lost. If you really think about it, then this means we'll have to bring more energy into the system of our planet. This is the role of the sun. It is, essentially, the ONLY source of "new" energy we have. All else is finite on a global level. This is what oil companies don't want you to realize.

Knowing this, it behooves us to try to extract energy that the sun has imparted to our atmosphere naturally. It also behooves us to consider that, in order to do useful work with energy, we will need to keep adding more and more energy to our planet. We may be able to balance this by removing useless energy from our planet by some means.

we can use wind as energy. I don't believe there is any way to use stationary air to produce energy though.