Liquid air batteries: a new solution for the utility-scale energy storage market

FuturENERGY July-September 2020

Growing demand, changing consumption habits and increasing intermittency thanks to the greater penetration of renewables, among other facets, are putting the energy market under huge pressure. And at this point in time no-one is in any doubt that to alleviate this pressure, an affordable and scalable solution must be found that can store energy for hours, and even days. CRYOBatteryTM from multinational, Highview Power, whose CEO is Spanish engineer Javier Cavada, delivers clean, reliable and cost-efficient long-duration energy storage to enable a 100% renewable energy future. This is known as liquid air energy storage technology.

This technology is based on a simple principle: air in its gas phase turns to liquid when cooled down to -196°C. It can then be stored very efficiently in heat insulated, low pressure vessels. It is subsequently heated back up to the ambient temperature, which causes rapid regasification and a 700-fold expansion in volume, at which point it can be used to drive a steam turbine linked to a generator and create electricity without combustion. All this is possible using standard and highly recognised equipment in the energy and gas transmission industries.

Unlike chemical storage technologies, this system operates by using a thermodynamic cycle that can be incorporated into other processes or thermal uses, such as LNG regasification plants, peak shaving or other industrial applications. This means that residual streams of heat and cold can be used, improving the efficiency of these processes by converting their residual thermal energy into a useful resource for the energy storage system.