UK fires up LAES plant

15 June 2018

Energy storage start-up Highview Power has officially launched the world’s first grid-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant.

The demonstration unit, located near Manchester in north-west England, was developed by Highview in partnership with recycling firm Viridor, and will help to prove the viability of LAES technology at scale.

LAES technology stores air as a liquid, which releases energy when it is converted back to a gas, driving a turbine to generate electricity. In addition to providing energy storage, Highview’s LAES plant converts waste heat to power using heat from the on-site landfill gas engines.

“The market opportunity for LAES technology is exciting – we estimate that 60 per cent of the global energy storage market comprises long-duration, grid connected storage and that our LAES technology is ready to meet almost half of this (45 per cent),” said Gareth Brett, CEO of Highview. “The LAES plant in Bury has already played a key role in the breakthrough of LAES technology and will continue to do so.”

Brett added: “Utilities from around the world who have for some time been assessing our unique solution for their storage challenges, are now using the operating data to confirm their expectations. We are therefore already in detailed negotiations to build plants ten times the size of this one for utility customers of several nationalities and for various different applications.”

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the global energy storage market will grow to a cumulative 125 GW/305 GWh by 2030, attracting $103 billion in investment.

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