Originally Posted by bosco
If I recall correctly the reason Austrailians use air to pump water is that it's easy to store air, but you're more limited w/ electricity.
My current thought is 1,000 gal propane tank plumbed into wind-generated compressed air w/ a small electric back-up.
Right. You'd store the energy as compressed air, hence my statement:
Originally Posted by gmiguy
I'd be inclined to go with an off-the-shelf wind-powered electric generator running an off-the-shelf electric compressor with a big and well-sealed tank.
My point was that I'd pursue this using electricity as an intermediate step to get the energy from the wind to the air in the tank.
Think about it, diesel locomotives don't use the diesel engines to drive the wheels directly. The engine spins a generator which then drives electric motors to spin the wheels. Same idea.
Yes, this is theoretically less efficient since you will lose energy making the transformation to and from electricity. I suspect the additional flexibility and control will be more than worth it; plus you can use existing off-the-shelf parts rather than reinventing the wheel.