Air compressor pumps have a growing role to play in clean energy installations, particularly in the form of energy storage, according to a report from Pike Research.

The cleantech market intelligence firm has published several reports recently on the increasing importance of air compressors and other modern technologies for storing energy.

Historically, hydro storage technologies have led the energy storage market, but air compressor pumps, thermal storage, flywheels and new kinds of battery are all changing that.

“It is telling that the new technologies – such as batteries, compressed air energy storage, thermal storage, flywheels and new pumped storage (such as seawater and closed-loop systems) – have such a large share of activity in the market,” says Pike Energy research analyst Anissa Dehamna.

During the fourth quarter of 2011, 12% of energy storage projects – roughly one in eight – were accounted for by these new technologies, rather than by traditional hydro power.

With 600 energy storage projects announced worldwide, which should bring another 152 gigawatts of capacity online, air compressors are likely to provide an increasing source of stored power in the years to come.