CAES (Compressed Air Energy Storage) is being promoted as a way to smooth the delivery of intermittent supplies of power from e.g. wind. This would increase its ability to displace other supplies of electricity and reduce carbon emissions from the same.
Of course, pumping lots of air around is going to have secondary effects (you cannot do just one thing). A question I have not seen addressed yet: how much CO2 would be handled directly by CAES in the process of compressing air? What if some fraction of this CO2 was chemically bound and not released back to the atmosphere? Could this make a significant difference in atmospheric CO2 levels?
I don't know, and I don't have the energy at this moment to come up with a ballpark estimate. But given the large volumes of air involved in CAES, widespread use might just be a two-fer.
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