The cryogenic energy storage plant being built near London by Highview Power Storage is scheduled to become operational next month. Engineers from the Chinese manufacturers of the technology are currently on-site to help with commissioning.
Conceived by Highview with scientists from University of Leeds, the unique system uses liquefied air to store “wrong-time” or off-peak energy. According to Highview, the technology is scalable up to very large utility scale and is significantly cheaper than batteries. The project has been supported by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Along with large-scale energy storage, the system has two important and unique benefits, Highview claims:
- The system can simultaneously store and harness low-grade waste heat from co-located processes. Capturing waste heat, especially lower grade, could have a significant impact on the nation’s energy efficiency objectives. .
- The exhaust is clean cold air, which offers the potential for cooling applications in industrial or commercial applications (for example, data center cooling or commercial air conditioning/cooling).
While a number of industrial gas companies, including Air Products and Praxair, have been looking at the use of liquid air or liquid nitrogen for energy storage, Highview claims it is the first to deploy a plant. The company also currently has a number of patents lodged.
Hosted by the utility Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), the 300-kilowatt/2.5-megawatt-hour pilot demonstration plant is connected to the grid on the Slough Trading Estate outside of London. The facility is large enough to meet the power needs of several hundred houses for upwards of eight hours.
An engineering team from Chengdu Air Separation Engineering Company is currently on-site to commission and performance-test the air liquefaction plant, which supports the front end of the process. The plant was designed and built by Chengdu Air in China before being shipped to the UK.