The UK company pioneering a hybrid Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) system has launched operations at a demonstration facility in northwest England.
Highview Power said its 5MW/15MWh plant at Bury, near Manchester, would become the first operational demonstration of LAES technology at grid scale.
Supercapacitors and flywheel technology to be installed at the plant next month will enable the facility to provide instant response to the grid, a Highview spokesperson told BBB.
The facility, which is sited at the Pilsworth landfill gas plant, will also convert waste heat from the gas plant to power.
Highview said it is already providing energy to demand response aggregator Kiwi Power— with the capability to power about 5,000 homes for around three hours.
Highview CEO Gareth Brett said the company is in “detailed negotiations to build plants ten times the size of this one for utility customers of several nationalities and for various applications”.
LAES can be compared to other large-scale technologies such as pumped hydro or compressed air energy storage, but it does not require specific geography and can be located at the point of demand.
The technology works by taking off-peak or excess electricity and using it to turn air into a liquid by refrigerating it to -196°C and storing it in insulated tanks at low pressure. When power is required, liquid air is drawn from the tanks and pumped to high pressure. Heat harnessed from the liquefaction process is applied to the liquid air via heat exchangers and an intermediate heat transfer fluid. This produces a high-pressure gas in the form of air that is then used to drive the turbine and create electricity.
In 2014, the UK government awarded £8m ($13.3m) to the LAES project, as part of an Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition.
Click here to see Highview’s online video showing how the plant works.