Danish-headquartered renewable energy firm Ørsted is joining forces with UK-based energy storage company Highview Power on a project to combine their technologies.
The announcement follows a memorandum of understanding between the firms in April.
The two companies have been investigating the potential of combining an Ørsted offshore wind farm with Highview Power’s Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES). They believe their findings show that co-locating the technologies will reduce the wastage due to wind curtailment, increase productivity and help move to a flexible and stable zero-carbon grid. Ørsted and Highview Power also confirmed that it should be possible to develop and build a storage project within the timeline for developing an offshore wind farm.
An installation is expected to last for 30+ years, unlike lithium-ion batteries which tend to have approximately 10 year lifespan. In addition, LAES does not use potentially harmful or environmentally unsustainable chemicals or metals, being mainly comprised of steel.
The investigation included an independent analysis of the technical performance of combining the technologies with a rigorous regulatory and economic assessment of the routes to planning permission and to market.
The companies believe the project would be a major contributor to ensuring the UK Government’s target of net zero by 2050 can be met. The project’s findings will be fed into the UK Government’s ‘Long Duration Energy Storage’ consultation process to demonstrate the benefits of LAES.
LAES is a technology developed with support from the UK Government’s Department of Energy Security and Net Zero. It’s a form of long-duration energy storage that can economically store renewable energy from anywhere between six hours to several weeks – far longer than current battery technologies. The LAES technology stores the unused electricity from the grid to power a refrigeration system that turns air from the atmosphere into a liquid state at -196°C. When demand returns, the liquid air is evaporated back into gas using the pressure of re-expansion to power a turbine that also generates electricity for the grid.
Richard Butler, CEO of Highview Power, said “The successful co-location… offers a step forward in creating a more sustainable and self-sufficient energy system for the UK. By enabling renewable energy to be stored and used on demand, we are on an important journey to help to accelerate the UK’s journey towards energy independence and net zero emissions.”