Largest Euro Battery will not be Li-On

November 30, 2019

The Chemical Engineer:

HIGHVIEW Power, the designer and developer of the CRYOBattery, is to build what it claims will be Europe’s largest battery storage system, in the North of England. The project will also be the UK’s first commercial cryogenic energy storage facility at large scale.

The 50 MW/250 MWh clean energy storage facility could help the UK to achieve its goal of decarbonising industry, heat, power, and transport, as CRYOBattery emits zero emissions and could dramatically contribute to emissions savings compared to fossil fuel plants.

Previously known as liquid air energy storage, Highview’s technology employs liquid air as a storage medium. The system uses off-peak or excess energy to clean, compress, and cool air to -196°C, and the liquified air is then stored in insulated tanks at low pressure. When energy is needed the liquid air is drawn from the tanks and pumped to high pressure, reheated, and expanded – resulting in a high-pressure gas which is used to drive turbines to generate energy.

The process does not use combustion and does not produce any emissions. Additionally, waste cold and waste heat are captured for use, increasing efficiency.

The new facility will supply energy storage, and also provide services to the National Grid to help it to “integrate renewables, stabilise the electrical grid, and ensure future energy security”.

Highview is currently in talks with potential offtakers.

In addition to its first large-scale facility, Highview is developing a portfolio of UK projects and is in the process of securing sites to develop similar large-scale, CRYOBattery projects across Europe. The projects are expected to further the UK’s movement towards its clean energy goals and help it to meet expected demand for energy storage.

According to early findings of the Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM) launched by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels by 2050 the UK would need nearly 1,400 GWh of electric and thermal storage volume. The ESC was set up to accelerate the transformation on the UK energy system, and ensure businesses and consumers capture clean growth opportunities.  

The Climate Change Act 2008 committed the UK to reducing net emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Earlier this year, then UK Prime Minster Theresa May announced that the UK would strengthen its targets by reducing CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050.

According to research services company BloombergNEF (BNEF), globally, energy storage installations are to multiply exponentially, reaching 1,095 GW/2,850 GWh by 2040. To achieve this, US$662bn of investments will be required, according to BNEF’s estimates.  

The CRYOBattery facility is to be built at the site of a decommissioned thermal power plant in the North of England. No precise location was given.

Javier Cavada, CEO of Highview Power, said: “This plant will provide the critical services needed to help maintain a stable and reliable grid.”

“Long-duration, giga-scale energy storage is the necessary foundation to enable baseload renewable energy and will be key to a 100% carbon-free future.”

The system can store energy for weeks and the company claims it offers the lowest cost clean energy storage solution for large-scale, long-duration applications.

CRYOBattery is easily scalable and once built more capacity can be added by adding more tanks. Any CRYOBatteryplant can be scaled to GW levels to liver capacity as needed.

The proprietary technology has a lifespan of 30–40 years.

Highview pioneered its CRYOBattery technology at a pilot plant in Slough. It then evolved at a demonstration plant in Pilsworth, Greater Manchester, UK, which has been successfully operating since 2018. The Pilsworth plant was the first in the world to demonstrate cryogenic energy storage technology at grid scale.

6 Responses to “Largest Euro Battery will not be Li-On”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I see this as one of a large number of possible technology for grid-scale batteries. Li+ batteries have a high energy density that is important for EVs and electronic toys, but being lightweight seems to be a wasted feature for grid batteries that can sit on slabs and not go anywhere.

    Another aspect of grid connections is the need for some sort of standard interface for connecting adaptive black-box power suppliers and retrievers to the power transfer network. That way, when developing my advanced Rotting Hamster Methane Converter (RHMC), I just need to design to the connector standard specifications. Likewise for my Sisyphus Boulder Ramp Battery (SBRB).

    • mboli Says:

      The Sisyphus storage thing was described here a few months ago.
      It was not well received by the Climate Crocks commentariat.

    • jfon Says:

      ‘Li+ batteries have a high energy density that is important for EVs and electronic toys’
      They’re only energy dense in comparison to other batteries – compared to hydrocarbons they’re about one hundredth as energy dense. Since electric motors are more efficient than internal combustion engines, that translates to about a twentieth for vehicles. If what you want is heat, LPG is still 100x more compact than a battery. Just a question for readers using home PV systems – do you use electricity for cooking ? I have heard of people using PV for water heating, on the grounds that it needs less maintenance than a solar hot water system. There’s the opportunity there, as well, to get an efficiency boost from a heat pump, but higher temperatures are harder.

  2. Majura Wombat Says:

    I see this as a competitor for pumped hydro.

    Pumped hydro has a higher round trip efficiency and a longer life but can only be located where there are suitable reservoirs. This can mean high transmission costs, both capital and recurring. In Australia for instance the Snowy system is distant from centres of consumption and pumped hydro in Tasmania requires another submarine cable across Bass Straight.

    Pumped hydro can also have a big environmental impact, for the areas flooded by the reservoirs and at least in the case of the Australian Snowy scheme, the waste excavated in constucting the tunnels

    Liquid air storage can be located close to generators or consumers, or to existing transmission networks and has a smaller environmental impact.

    I would be interested to know how the capex and operating costs compared.

  3. terry123a Says:

    Sp the energy to cool the air is free? The article admits it uses energy which comes from coal plants for the most part, as off peak is early in the morning, little sun and at night zero sun. How much is wind is unknown but statistics on wind plants have them running about a third of the time. Since energy is used up to make the air cold, about 30 percent more energy is used than the plant produces so the coal plant runs 30 percent more if one assumes zero transmission losses sending the power to this plant which is highly unlikely. This plant is a peaker plant used to generate energy at high demand times not a replacer of fossil fuel plant.

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