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Highview Power signs deal with GE

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 12:09 -- Ruth Williams
Highview's pilot site in Slough, UK, has been running since 2011 to prove the concept of liquid air energy storage

GE Oil & Gas has entered a global licensing agreement with UK based Highview Power to integrate liquid air energy storage with peaking power plants.

The giant of the energy world will work with Highview to undertake feasibility studies before implementing a liquid air energy storage system at a GE peaking plant where GE gas turbines and engines will be installed. The system will increase plant efficiency, grid reliability and the distribution of renewable energy.

“There is a lot of engineering needed on both sides to make the equipment fit together. Working closely with GE Oil & Gas to engineer our technology into their peaker plant products is an excellent opportunity to accelerate the commercialisation of liquid air energy storage.” said Matthew Barnett, head of business development. “Considering that, it is realistic to see an operational liquid air energy storage peaking plant by 2016.”

The liquid air energy storage provides a medium to long-term energy storage option from 5MW to more than 50MW on a compact footprint.

Since 2011 Highview Power has run a 350kW/2.5MWh pilot plant to demonstrate the liquid air technology in the UK and recently won funding to build a 5MW demonstration site adjacent to a Viridor waste management site in Canterbury, Kent. A GE turbine will be used at the Viridor site demonstration plant, which will be operational from Spring 2015.

“Highview’s readily available LAES technology, with its ease of implementation and access to an operational pilot plant, makes it an ideal partner for GE Oil & Gas to provide fully integrated energy solutions to our customers,” said Luca Maria Rossi, product management general manager for GE Oil & Gas’ Turbomachinery Solutions business.

The system takes ambient air and compresses it before storing it in a cryogenic cold store where it is progressively cooled using a liquefaction cycle. It is then stored at low pressure until power is required. The liquid air is then pumped to high pressure and put through an evaporation and cold recycle unit. Waste energy from gas turbines or engines then heats the air that expands to drive a generator that produces electricity.