Highview Power Storage technology in focus in energy storage plant

Highview Power Storage technology in focus in energy storage plant

(Tech Xplore)—UK-based Highview Power Storage is a company to watch in the energy storage market—using liquefied air as the energy storage medium. When the liquid air warms up it expands and can drive a turbine to make electricity, said a report about the company from the BBC.

The company is in the business of energy storage solutions for utility and distributed power systems.

Their expertise lies in "cold" energy storage and Editor-at-Large Tim Sandle, Digital Journal, explained its significance.

"Cold (or cryogenic) energy storage promises to be revolutionary, in terms of energy supply, and also aid the environment at the same time through recycling material. A cryogenic energy facility stores power from renewables, or off-peak generation. This is undertaken by chilling air into liquid form, where, at minus 190 degrees Celsius, the air condenses into a pale blue mobile liquid. When the liquid is stored (in a special insulated tank) and later heated up, the air expands and this can power a turbine to generate electricity."

Highview can design LAES plants, which stands for liquid air energy storage.

Yasmin Ali, science reporter, BBC, reported that the company is behind the world's largest cold energy storage plant being commissioned at a site near Manchester.

Paul Boughton in Engineer Live wrote earlier this month that the facility will soon be operational.

"After having built and tested a successful pilot plant (which has now been moved to the University of Birmingham), Highview and project partner Viridor were awarded government funding by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to build a pre-commercial scale 5MW LAES technology demonstrator. That LAES plant is now currently undergoing final commissioning in Bury, Lancashire."

A company video discusses the LAES system and its three components: charging device; energy store where liquid air is held; and power recovery unit.

No fuel is burned in the process.

The system is scalable and modular.

How it works:

Air is first cleaned and dried. Then refrigerated. The air liquefies. The liquefied air is stored in insulated tanks at low pressure. When power is needed, is drawn from the tanks, pumped to high pressure, reheated and expanded. Resulting high pressure gas is used to drive turbine generators.

(On their company site they also discuss how air liquefies: "Air turns to liquid when refrigerated to -196°C, and can be stored in standard insulated, but unpressurised vessels at very large scale. Exposure to ambient temperatures causes rapid re-gasification and a 700-fold expansion in volume, which is used to drive a turbine and create electricity.")

They tout benefits including competitive pricing and a system that is locatable anywhere.

BBC's Ali noted that "The intermittent nature of green sources has seen researchers focus on trying to improve ."

"Storage is vital if we are to get the level of renewables that are required for a low carbon future," Stuart Nelmes, engineering director at Highview Power Storage, told CNBC last month.

Explore further

Energy companies testing "liquid air" as a means of storing backup electricity

More information: www.highview-power.com/

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User comments

Dec 14, 2016
Yup, I cannot see any real problem with the plan just as soon as renewables go to 1/5 the price per KWH as fossil.

Dec 14, 2016
They become competetive at parity, but you have to be wary of foul play by different industries near parity... for example, 5 kilos of lithium and 5 of motor gives you 6 champion cyclists worth of power on a small vehicle. Having become aware of a competitor to gasolene on the roads that make no noise and cost .5 cents per mile in fuel, the EU illegalized all two wheel vehicles under 40 kilos and limited them at 250 watts instead of their useful maximum of 1000/2000 watts. which everyone would buy into. same in US at 350 watts and japan at 400 watts. An entire fossil fuel competitor industry was made illegal before it had a chance to catch public attention.

Dec 14, 2016
for foul play of green products at price parity, you can also cite the cellulose insulation industry. good cellulose insulation can last hundreds of years and is cheaper than fiberglass, takes less energy to make... but in the 1970s they illegalized cellulose insulation industry, because the fiberglass industry published false reports it was fire prone, which is untrue because it dampens flames and stops airflow. an industry was held up for 30 years by corruption. the same is true for electronic cigs, 98 percent of studies published since 2012 don't compare ecigarettes to tobacco, and countries like india imprison ecig seller for 3 years, while tobacco is 95 percent market share there versus 80pc in america.

Dec 15, 2016
"the EU illegalized all two wheel vehicles under 40 kilos and limited them at 250 watts instead of their useful maximum of 1000/2000 watts.

That's because nobody wants people scooting around motorcycle speeds on what are basically bicycles. A common monkey bike in the EU has 1-2 kW of engine power, and when geared up on larger wheels and a slimmer frame can easily go 70-80 kph which is hazardous for such a flimsy bike, not to mention for other people.

For the motor power, you also need the stopping power and structural integrity to match, and that means proper tires and disc brakes, shock absorbers, and a frame that won't snap at the welds from the vibration. A bicycle frame at 80kph is just spaghetti.

It was the same issue for regular engines on bicycle frames way before electric bikes became a thing, because that's what the first mopeds were. Another reason was taxation, and registration of motor vehicles for insurance and driver licensing.

Dec 15, 2016
"the fiberglass industry published false reports it was fire prone, which is untrue because it dampens flames and stops airflow"

Protip: cellulose is wood - it burns. Fiberglass doesn't. Cellulose insulation IS a hazard in a fire because it's fuel. It also sinks and compacts over time, leaving gaps in the insulation, and it tends to rot and harbor pests. It's also more expensive to install because it has to be done properly to a controlled density - an idiot can punch in a square of fiberglass.

And they never made cellulose illegal to use. They simply placed a quality standard on insulation materials that most cellulose insulation manufacturers failed to meet. It's still available and legal to use.

The anti-fungal/insecticides and fire retardant chemicals added to cellulose can be toxic though.

Dec 15, 2016
The point was that in the 70's and the oil crisis, a bunch of small-time manufacturers started beating old newspapers and scrap paper into cellulose insulation and selling the stuff cheap to construction companies with dubious practices, beating the big insulation manufacturers to the market during the energy saving boom.

People suspected that the claims about insulation properties (R-values, flammability etc.) were just plain bunk even if the insulation was theoretically perfectly fine, so they set up federal quality standards, and lo-an-behold the small time manufacturers went bust because they couldn't make the cheap crud anymore.

But that has apparently started a conspiracy theory that cellulose insulation was outlawed.

Dec 15, 2016
"They become competetive at parity"

But you really have to factor in all ancillary costs (waste disposal, additional expenses due to climate change). Otherwise it's unfair because fossile (and nuclear) get basically 'free waste disposal' by menas of taxpayer money.

And if you include climate change alone we are already way, way, WAY past parity for renewables. So far way past that it isn't even funny anymore.

Dec 16, 2016
One would think that it would be more efficient and less costly to store the energy as H2 and use a fuel cell to convert it back into electricity.

Dec 18, 2016
"(and nuclear) get basically 'free waste disposal' by menas of taxpayer money."

No it doesn't. In the US they tax nuclear power to fund the disposal. Other countries have other means, but typically there's some sort of levy or a fund which the nuclear power operators have to pay.
For example:

"BERLIN (AP) — The German government has approved a plan that will see operators of the country's nuclear power plants pay some 23.5 billion euros ($26 billion) into a fund to finance the storage of radioactive waste as Germany exits atomic energy."

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