Highview Power selects ‘core’ turbomachinery equipment supplier for giant liquid air storage system

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Highview Power demonstration project, also near Manchester, UK. Image: Highview Power.

Liquid air energy storage (LAES) company Highview Power has chosen Volkswagen subsidiary MAN Energy Solutions to provide turbomachinery which will form the core of a 50MW / 250MWh facility under development in northern England.

Highview Power's large-scale CRYOBattery is being constructed in Carrington Village, Greater Manchester. The MAN Energy Solutions turbomachinery train is to form the core of the liquid air energy storage facility, which Highview claims will be one of the largest battery storage systems in Europe once completed. As well as turbomachinery for marine, power plant and other applications, MAN is also known for its diesel engine technology.  

Highview has claimed that its LAES technology is relatively simple to build, using off-the-shelf components and construction techniques perfected in other industries, offering long-duration energy storage that is safe and has a low cost of ownership over its lifetime. The technology can storage and integrate renewable energy at bulk and also perform grid services. The CRYOBattery cools ambient air to -196°C which is then stored at low pressure before being heated and expanded to drive a turbine and generate power. 

Having already built a megawatt-scale demonstrator near Manchester, Highview, which announced the successful close of a US$70 million funding round in February, also has a pipeline of projects being developed in the US, each expected to offer several hours of storage and in the range of tens to hundreds of megawatt-hours. 

Construction of the asset – which is being developed with Carlton Power – began in November 2020, with plans for it to enter into commercial operation in 2022.

This construction is to proceed in two phases, with the first to involve the installation of a ‘stability island’ to provider near-instantaneous energy grid stabilisation. This is to be achieved using a generator and flywheel among other components. Enabling the short-term stabilisation will provide the basis for Phase 2 and the completion of the liquid air energy storage system including various compressors, air expanders and cryogenic equipment.

Phase 2 will see the integration of stability services with a full-scale long-duration energy storage system.

The Carrington project is to offer a blueprint for future projects, according to Highview and MAN Energy Solutions, as well as cement the partnership between the two.

Wayne Jones OBE, chief sales officer and member of the Executive Board of MAN Energy Solutions, said there has been “a lot of background work involved in getting to this stage – in the face of much competition – and I am personally delighted that Highview Power has chosen to work with MAN Energy Solutions”.

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