Work begins on 250-MWh CRYOBattery that stores energy as liquid air

Work begins on 250-MWh CRYOBat...
A rendering of the 50-MW/250-MWh CRYOBattery
A rendering of the 50-MW/250-MWh CRYOBattery
View 2 Images
A rendering of the 50-MW/250-MWh CRYOBattery
A rendering of the 50-MW/250-MWh CRYOBattery
Construction is underway on the 250-MWh CRYOBattery outside Manchester in the UK
Construction is underway on the 250-MWh CRYOBattery outside Manchester in the UK

The wheels are beginning to turn on an innovative new energy project in the UK that is set to become one of Europe’s largest energy storage systems. The 250-MWh CRYOBattery uses a cryogenic cooling technology to turn ambient air into liquid, which can then be used to store and release energy over long periods of time.

The CRYOBattery is to be built just outside the city of Manchester and will make use of cryogenic energy storage technology developed by co-operator Highview Power. This technology is driven by a process called air liquefaction, where ambient air is drawn in, compressed and then cooled to reach temperatures of -196 °C (-320 °F).

At this point, the ambient air becomes liquid and can be stored with high efficiency in low-pressure insulated tanks. When energy is needed, the liquid air can be heated up and rapidly expanded into a gas, with this swift increase in volume harnessed to drive a turbine and generate electricity. The advantages of this approach are the scalability and that it offers longer-term energy storage than traditional batteries, which could see it play an important role in integrating renewables into the grid.

Highview Power has previously built two demonstrator plants in the UK, but the new 50-MW/250-MWh project in Carrington Village just eight miles (13 km) outside Manchester will be its biggest effort so far, and one of Europe’s largest energy storage systems. It received a £10 million (US$13.2 million) government grant to build the facility, which will include an adjacent visitor center.

Construction is underway on the 250-MWh CRYOBattery outside Manchester in the UK
Construction is underway on the 250-MWh CRYOBattery outside Manchester in the UK

Construction is now underway on the project, with the visitor center expected to open in the first quarter of next year so folks can check in on the progress. The CRYOBattery is slated to enter commercial operation in 2023, with the facility expected to store enough power to run around 50,000 homes for five hours, according to the BBC.

“Our facility will deliver much needed clean, reliable and cost-efficient long duration energy storage to the National Grid,” says Javier Cavada, Highview Power CEO and President. “The CRYOBattery will help the UK to integrate renewable energy and stabilize the regional electrical grid to ensure future energy security during blackouts and other disruptions.”

Source: Highview Power

A couple of important points missed out from the BBC report:
“ It will use surplus electricity from wind farms at night to compress air so hard that it becomes a liquid at -196 Celsius.”
(British inventor) “Mr Dearman said his invention was 60-70% efficient, depending how it is used.”
From there, when Carrington complete and running
probably subsequent sister sites of varying size and finite design detail variations to the completion point of having settled all known prob's associated with concept for all sizes of plants and they running and proven,
ie. When they do get process up and running and fully proven over the spectrum of possibilities for plant available,
the logical next step of supporting the proposals, (last known to me being French),
for compressed air driven vehicles will be hard, if not impossible, to ignore
for at least light city types of car and delivery vehicles.
Wonder how that'll go down with the battery brigade + the H2 faction ?
WONKY KLERKY: The air powered car concept goes back to 2012,and nothing came of it. Powering a car with compressed air is very inefficient,around 25-35%. See:
If the compressed air needs to kept at -197C to maintain fluid, ongoing refrigeration will be needed for long term storage. That reduces the long term efficiency, unlike most chemical storage systems. Batteries make a better short term storage with their simplicity and conversion efficiency.
“Mr Dearman said his invention was 60-70% efficient, depending how it is used.”

I'm quite skeptical about that efficiency claim. I'm guessing that number is more dependent on how the figure is calculated, meaning what is left out of the calculation. IIRC, heat engines have a maximum efficiency determined by the temperature difference (Carnot efficiency), so the turbine is probably going to be under 60%. Then there's pump and generator inefficiencies, and imperfect insulation. The actual overall efficiency will have to be measured as kw out / kw in.
Cooling air into liquid. That sounds like a novelty idea. How efficient is it? Would be cool if this works on Submarine.
Want water, got it. Want oxygen, got it!
Simon Redford
An interesting technology, but more information is needed. The 60 to 70% efficiency claim is repeated in the Frost & Sullivan report available on their website. I’d like to hear what the turn round efficiency is over time. When storing liquid air at near atmospheric pressure you need to bleed some air such that the evaporation covers the thermal losses of the tank. Over time liquid air can become oxygen enriched due to preferential evaporation of nitrogen. I suspect the efficiency reduces over time and may be time limited.
Sounds more like another eco-activist boondoggle rather than a practical idea. The overall efficiency will ultimately kill the project! But I guess the government has nothing better on which to spend taxpayer money!?
A comment was made about the necessity to refrigerate the liquid air to maintain it. This should not be a problem -- high-efficiency insulation can keep it liquid almost indefinitely if there is enough of it. If the idea was to store fora long period, weeks or months, then there might be a problem but this concept is for a peaking or smoothing source on the grid, not some sort of "maybe we'll need it next year" solution.