Local resident develops patent that could provide greener air

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

The vision of one Ripley County resident could mean a greener and more efficient way to produce electricity for future generations.

Elvin Knollman first considered the concept of using compressed air as electricity during a visit to the Black Hills in Colorado.

“Compressed air is nothing new,” said Knollman, “but a way for storing the compressed air had not been found.”

Knollman developed a patent for the storage and transportation of compressed air using a combination of air and river currents. Using his experience in the petroleum industry, Knollman proposes using an underground pipeline system to transport the compressed air to underground storage facilities, such as natural limestone caves.

According to Knollman’s plan, the pipeline system will begin in Washington State and stretch across the country. Wind turbine farms will be strategically located along the route with paddle wheels in the creeks and rivers to create pressure. This compressed air will then be converted into electricity for the surrounding communities.

While his proposal would eliminate certain jobs related to the creation of electricity, it would also create jobs such as production of the wind turbines, generators, and in the monitoring of the system.

The plan has been sent to the Department of Energy who is interested in the concept, according to Knollman. “Can you imagine what could be done on a massive scale?” he questioned.

The patent for this unique concept is pending. If the idea catches on, the old technology would then be used in a new way in the future.