Compressed air is used for power tools such as air hammers, drills, wrenches and others. Compressed air can also be used to propel vehicles. Brakes using compressed air are safer and more efficient.
Compressed air is breathed in low pressure through an air line by underwater divers, firefighters, mine rescue workers, and industrial workers in hazardous atmospheres.
In Europe, 10 percent of all industrial electricity consumption is to produce compressed air—amounting to 80 terawatt hours consumption per year.
Air compression is comparable to the rechargeable lead-acid battery in terms of energy density, but is much cleaner in terms of life-cycle assessment. Compressed air can transfer power at very high flux rates, which supplies the acceleration and deceleration of hybrid vehicles.
Compressed air systems have advantages over conventional batteries including longer lifetime. Compressed air costs are potentially lower; however advanced pressure vessels are costly to develop and safety-test and at present are more expensive than mass-produced batteries.
Converting human exercise into stored energy.
A pedal and crank exercise machine can be used to activate an air compressor. The compressed air is stored in a series of compressed air tubes similar to those used in scuba diving. The compressor is connected to the air storage bottles. As each bottle reaches a desired predetermined pressure, it switches to the next in sequence. The kinetic energy is stored in the bottles in the form of high pressure air that can be released at a controlled rate to drive a turbine, which may then in turn drive any electrical generator, or rotary power for any use.