Liquid air technology for long-duration, huge scale storage in China

Jan 10, 2022 10:34 AM ET
  • The feasibility of utility scale liquid air energy storage systems in China is being examined through a collaboration in between Japanese industrial titan Sumitomo's energy technology subsidiary Sumitomo SHI FW and the Shanghai Power Equipment Research Institute, a subsidiary of the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC).
Liquid air technology for long-duration, huge scale storage in China
Image: Sumitomo SHI FW

The partnership will certainly study using liquid air storage CRYOBatteries, established by U.K.-based Highview Power, in 4 and also eight-hour storage setups to figure out an ideal remedy for the institute's Binhai Power Station Energy Storage Demo project, in the Binhai area of Jiangsu, China. Both systems will have a capacity of 50MW.

Highview Power's technology has actually currently been released at scale, beginning with its 5MW/15MWh Pilsworth plant in the U.K., called the globe's very first grid-connected liquid air energy storage system. Highview has additionally introduced other projects consisting of the development of approximately 7 CRYOBatteries, ranging in scale from 50MW/300MWh upwards, throughout Spain, in an advancement announced in 2015.

The technology uses energy to compress and also cool down air to minus 196 degrees Celsius up until it dissolves and around 700 liters of ambient air turns into one litre of liquid. Saved in insulated storage tanks at reduced pressure, the liquid air is after that reheated, producing a high-pressure gas that is made use of to drive generators as well as produce electrical power. Waste cool and also warm from the procedure is saved individually.


In 2015, a British-Australian research team examined the potential of liquid air energy storage for large scale application and also discovered such systems could be built for EUR300-600/ kWh and also offer a 20-year roi. Those numbers, the scientists found, could be considerably decreased by co-locating liquid air storage facilities with industrial consumers that would certainly spend for excess heat generated by the procedure. Highview's projects were defined as bankable by the research group, although the academics emphasized those favorable organization instances are preferred by particular conditions, consisting of an established rate structure in the energy market and the presence of a grid not able to sustain high levels of renewable resource infiltration.

Highview's CRYOBatteries have actually been proclaimed as adaptable and able to provide solutions at all degrees of the power system. They can reportedly support power generation by firming renewables as well as give energy arbitrage and also optimal shaving, among other grid solutions. They can additionally offer grid stablizing services such as inertia, voltage assistance and also responsive power, along with functioning as a source of backup power for end users, it has been declared.

The modern technology was conceived for utility scale applications with results varying from 5-100MW. Liquid air energy storage offers high energy density and ease of release, contrasted to incumbent storage tech. Versus pumped-hydro storage, which harnesses the power of water in a comparable way, liquid air systems offer a lot better adaptability as they do not have to be linked to bodies of water. Supporters of liquid air storage centers say they can be developed from an already established market and also without costly or unusual products plus, they deal with no degradation problems and also provide a life expectancy surpassing three decades.

Nonetheless, the cycle performance of liquid air energy storage-- for billing as well as releasing-- is reasonably reduced, at around 60%. That could be enhanced, nonetheless, via assimilation as well as co-location with various other processes such as melted natural gas terminals, as suggested in the formerly stated research.

Accelerating China's energy transition

In 2020, Sumitomo introduced a $46 million investment in London-based Highview Power, in a ballot of confidence for the novel storage modern technology. "It is the only long-duration energy storage solution offered today that offers several gigawatt-hours of storage, is scalable without any dimension limitations or geographic restrictions, as well as generates absolutely no exhausts," Sumitomo SHI FW stated at the time.

In its statement this week, the Japanese-owned, Finland-headquartered Sumitomo business system claimed the liquid air storage system prepared in China would "change energy, lower curtailment, as well as preserve system flexibility to enable [the] assimilation as well as development of renewable [s] generation." On top of that, it will give solutions to improve and also maintain grid stability. The project is seen as specifically crucial in relation to China's strategy, introduced in 2014, to release 30GW of grid scale energy storage capacity and go for renewables to make up over half of complete installed generation capacity by 2025.

According to the Shanghai Power Equipment Research Institute, the liquid air energy storage demonstration research study "is the foundation of China's energy transition plan to be carbon neutral by 2060." The institute-- a subsidiary of China's biggest energy business, state-owned SPIC-- has actually been assigned as the development center for energy storage innovations to assist China's decarbonization initiative. SPIC is one of China's five national generation groups and boasts mounted power generation capacity of 190GW, of which 74GW is solar and wind power, according to Sumitomo's announcement. The state power firm is also called the biggest PV property owner in the world.

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