Energy storage company Highview Power has announced its intention to build a cryogenic energy storage facility in the north of England, a first for the U.K. A decommissioned power plant will be converted for the cryostorage, according to Highview Power. After completion, the installation will have a 50 MW/250 MWh capacity without using water, toxic materials, and with no emissions. The energy to be stored, which is roughly as much as 25,000 households use in a day, will be all from renewable sources.
So how does it work?
What the storage will do is to use electricity sourced from renewable sources to compress huge volumes of air and store them in tanks. It’s a ‘cryo’ battery because there is a point, if you compress air enough, where it turns into a (very very cold) liquid; that’s the form it will be stored in. When energy is needed in the grid, the compressed air will be allowed to warm up, decompress, and escape the tanks — all while powering a turbine.
Highview Power said that they pitched the concept to the U.K. government, which is looking for ways to meaningfully reduce the country’s carbon emissions. They further note that the compressed air approach is much cleaner than conventional batteries. The cryobattery doesn’t involve the use of any toxic chemicals, it doesn’t need rare or advanced materials to be built (which means less environmental damage since you don’t need to produce and extract them), and doesn’t produce any emissions. Additionally, it can hold energy for up to several weeks at a time, which is longer than in traditional batteries.
Energy storage installations around the world will multiply exponentially, reaching 1,095GW/2,850GWh by 2040. Over the next two decades, $662 billion of investment will be needed for stationary energy storage, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF)
“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.”, says Highview Power CEO, Javier Cavada