A liquid air energy storage (LAES) system is being operated as a live Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) demonstrator project in the UK.
The LAES technology, located at Aggregate Industries’ Cauldon Cement Works, was developed by Scottish firm Innovatium in partnership with the UK’s Birmingham University.
Deployment of the PRISMA (Peak Reduction by Integrated Storage and Management of Air) system is Innovatium’s first fully operational deployment in a “live customer environment”.
At Cauldon, the PRISMA system will bring together a latent energy cold storage tank, filled with a phase change material (PCM) to store thermal energy.
Along with a number of off-the-shelf components, this forms a system that will work within Aggregate Industries’ existing compressed air network.
The integration of such equipment in an industrial setting, for the provision of compressed air, has never been attempted before, say Innovatium.
Innovatium will publish data from the Aggregate Industries demonstrator project this summer.
Simon Branch co-founder and CEO of Innovatium said: “The project at Cauldon will give us valuable data on the performance of the system itself— but also ‘real-life’ evidence of the cost and carbon efficiencies that we believe are achievable.”
How it works
Innovatium says its technology involves a thermal storage vessel filled with a specially formulated material that stores cold air at -150C; this cold store allows the firm to liquify air and store it in the liquid air vessel ready for use on-demand.
During charging, the liquid air store is supplied with ambient temperature compressed air, which is chilled to -150C through the “sensible coolth store” to the condensation point where liquefaction begins.
In the same vessel, the saturated air passes to the second “latent coolth store” that contains a phase change material (PCM) and from there the air is fully liquefied and can be stored for long periods in the integrated vacuum-insulated tank.
When required, the whole cycle runs in reverse— the liquid air passes back through the latent coolth store where it picks up the stored heat removed from the charging process and becomes gas.
It then passes back through the sensible coolth where it again picks up stored heat to then discharge as usable ambient temperature compressed air.
Each unit stores 150kWh of power, has around a 25-year life span.