Highview’s 250MWh liquid air battery gets £10m UK gov’t grant, kicks off construction this year

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Schematic of the 50MW / 250MWh liquid air CRYOBattery project. Image: Highview Power.

The UK government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced a £10 million (US$12.44 million) grant to help construct the world's largest liquid air battery.

Carlton Highview Storage – a joint venture between UK independent power station developer Carlton Power and long duration energy storage firm Highview Power Storage – will build the 50MW/250MWh CRYOBattery in Trafford, in the Greater Manchester area of England. 

It will be the world’s first commercial liquid air energy storage system, and will provide long duration storage for UK transmission system operator National Grid. The system cools and compresses air so that it becomes liquid and can be stored in industrial containers. This can then be fed through a turbine to turn it and generate electricity when needed. It will work together with a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant, capable of providing the electricity needed to drive the process. 

Keith Clarke, chief executive of Carlton Power said the company looked at a number of different technologies for utility-scale, long-duration storage before selecting Highview’s liquid air energy storage, “because it is scalable, clean, can deliver the grid services we need, and can be deployed now”.

“We were also keen to work with Highview Power to explore the opportunity to deploy the CRYOBattery in tandem with a gas-fired power plant that we have permitted to be built on the Trafford Energy Park. This type of “hybrid CCGT” would be an important tool to enable the UK to reach net zero”.

In time, the CCGT element could be adapted to run off of zero carbon hydrogen fuels or retrofitted to include carbon capture and storage technologies, to facilitate the move to net zero.

The CRYOBattery site, within the Trafford Energy Park, 8 miles south of Manchester – the largest such site in Europe – will provide grid services that will allow greater integration of renewables, and help stabilise the grid and avoid blackouts. 

It’s income will come from arbitrage, grid balancing, the capacity market and ancillary services, according to Carlton Highview Storage.

Energy and Clean Growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng welcomed the project today, saying: “This revolutionary new CRYObattery facility will form a key part of our push towards net zero, bringing greater flexibility to Britain’s electricity grid and creating green collar jobs in Greater Manchester.

“Projects like these will help us realise the full value of our world-class renewables, ensuring homes and businesses can still be powered by green energy, even when the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing.”

Highview has been targeting a liquid air storage site in the UK for a number of years now, with a demonstrator first kicking off in 2015. Two years ago, the company took a step forward with the unveiling of a larger 5MW/15MWh 'commercial demonstrator' plant together with UK recycling, renewable energy development and waste management company Viridor. It first announced plans for the 250MWh UK CRYObattery site in October 2019.

The technology developed by Highview Power was among a number of long duration energy storage “contenders” profiled in a feature article last year, and going back a little further, CEO Javier Cavada wrote a technical paper for us about the technology and its potential for integrating renewable energy on the grid. Although the Manchester project will be the first multiple-hundred megawatt project following the 15MWh large-scale demonstrator, the company has announced its intent to build a number more, including an even larger 50MW / 400MWh system planned with Encore Renewable Energy in Vermont, US. Carlton Highview Storage also have plans to develop a further four CRYOBattery projects across the UK, amounting to over 1GWh of storage. 

Javier Cavada, president and CEO of Highview Power added: “We are excited to team up with Carlton Power for our first large-scale commercial UK project. They have an impressive track record of deploying grid-scale energy projects in the UK and their commitment to developing multiple projects with us speaks volumes about their confidence in our technology. 

“We are on a fast-track to develop our cryogenic energy storage systems around the globe and this partnership will help accelerate momentum in the European markets.” 

Construction of the Trafford site will begin later this year, with it expected to be operational by 2022.


Additional reporting for E-S.n by Andy Colthorpe.This article first appeared on Current±

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