I'm not exactly sure of the position of power generation at Niagara with respect to the falls, but the actual location of the falls is receeding upstream at an amazing rate which just makes me wonder how soon it will have to be moved. Increasing water flow will increase errosion.
I had heard that there are serious efficiency issues with compressed air, as you compress it there is a large amount of heat given off that is effectively energy loss. Air turbines aren't too bad in efficiency but piston engines aren't great. I still think water is a good storage medium because it doesn't compress during pumping so you only have the pumping losses and storage losses aren't too bad depending on the exposed surface to volume ratio of the storage and the ambient temperature.
Optimization is the next step for the development team, which is optimistic because of the success they have had so far with the accuracy of their software simulator. Using it they hope to achieve the $100/kwh mark, but didn't project how many years that might take--I would guess two or three.
It sounds great: a solution to a real problem. However, that corrosion issue is a sticky one, and I wonder how it's handled. Bromine is nasty stuff, and hydrobromic acid is no better. On the other hand, energetic solutions require energetic mechansims, so... we'll see, right?
Tech: Is exactly what ocurred in 1970 at Intel with me. In fact, I actually worked for the company for four months before filling out a job application!
They did not give me a chance to call my Mom or return the family car until off time the day of my interview. I was dressed in my IBM suit, when I was working at the PDP-8 computer all day, the other guy in the cubical thought I was the DEC service guy. When I returned the next day in casual cloths he said "Who the heck are you?"
Wayne Pickette Intel employee 243, 1970-75. I was never given a time card, they simply paid me for 40 hours work a week no matter how many hours I worked.
What happened to the technology? Internal company politics, and Roger Smith coming to power at GM, one of our project partners for the electric vehicle applications we were demonstrating for the batteries. (200 Miles per charge @ 45-50 mph, 5-hour recharge, battery never wearing out or losing range...)
If you look up Gulf & Western and Energy Development Associates (Not the new company by the same name.), you can find some of the history, along with a "pack of lies" and miss-representations. While the technology really wasn't suitable for consumer vehicles, it was fine for fleet or truck use, and the charging system I'd built was "plug-and-play", not requiring expert technicians as some have said. The stationary utility load-leveling battery application was great!
When Martin Davis took over at G&W, he wanted nothing to do with technology or manufacturing, focusing only on the entertainment industry, closing or selling off everything else. Roger Smith killed GM's EV programs. Roger told me, years later in a personal conversation, that the only reason he'd brought back electric vehicles later on was that he wanted to "leave a positive legacy."
As for being a rich man, maybe if GM would decide to pay me for the basic design I "gave" them during a job interview in 2005 for another vehicle they did decide to build... and didn't get quite right, but it's fairly close. I really have to learn to stop "giving it away." ;-)