The world’s first grid-scale demonstration of a liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant was officially launched in June.
UK-based long-duration energy storage firm Highview Power developed the 5-MW/15-MWh project in partnership with recycling and renewable energy company Viridor with more than£8 million in funding from the UK government. The plant located at the Pilsworth landfill gas site in Bury, near Manchester, in the UK (Figure 4), works by using surplus power (during off-peak hours) to refrigerate air into a liquid at –196C (–320F).
The liquid air is then stored “very efficiently” in insulated tanks at low pressure. When power is required, liquid air is drawn from the tanks. Exposure to ambient temperatures causes rapid re-gasification and a 700-fold expansion in volume, which is then used to drive a turbine and create electricity without combustion. “Heat harnessed from the liquefaction process is applied to the liquid air via heat exchangers and an intermediate heat transfer fluid. This produces a high-pressure gas in the form of air that is then used to drive the turbine and create electricity,” Highview Power explained.
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