Structural Responses of Reinforced Concrete Pile Foundations Subjected to Pressures from Compressed Air for Renewable Energy Storage

Dichuan Zhang, Jong Kim, Saule Tulebekova, Dilmurat Saliyev, Deuckhang Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A renewable energy storage system is being proposed through a multi-disciplinary research project. This system utilizes reinforced concrete pile foundations to store renewable energy generated from solar panels attached to building structures. The renewable energy can be stored in the form of compressed air inside the pile foundation with a hollowed section. The pile foundation should resist complex combined actions including structural loads, soil effects, and pressures induced from the compressed air, and thus it requires a careful analysis and design considerations to secure a sufficient structural safety. This paper presents analytical investigation results on the structural responses of the energy piles under these combined loadings. The pile foundations were designed based on the current design practices for various building geometries including the number of stories and column spacing. The magnitude of air pressure was determined from the thermodynamic cycles for the available renewable energy for storage considering building and pile foundation geometries. Finite element analyses were conducted using an elastic 3D model to determine critical tensile stresses of the pile foundation. These critical tensile stresses were used to identify required reinforcement in the pile section. On this basis, several nonlinear finite element analyses were then conducted using inelastic constitutive models of materials to investigate the crack patterns of the hollowed concrete section. Recommendations were finally presented for proper practical designs of the pile foundation serving as the renewable energy storage medium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalInternational Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • compressed air
  • pile foundation
  • reinforced concrete
  • renewable energy storage
  • structural responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering

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