The UK authorities have unveiled the first large-scale installation that will store excess energy in the air. It is efficient and highly scalable.
The world’s first large liquid air energy storage facility was unveiled in the UK. It will use excess electricity from wind farms at night to compress air at -196 degrees Celsius. Then, during the peak energy demand, the liquid air heats up and expands.
As a result, the inflow of air will drive a turbine to generate electricity that can be sold back to the grid. The 50 MW plant near Manchester will store enough electricity to power approximately 50,000 homes.
The system was developed by Peter Deerman, a self-taught inventor from Hertfordshire, and was commercialized with a £ 10 million grant from the UK government.
The researchers note that the rig can be 60-70% efficient, depending on how it is used. It is less efficient than batteries, but the advantage of liquid air is the low cost of storage tanks – so it can be easily scaled up.
Moreover, unlike batteries, storing liquid air does not require minerals, which may become increasingly scarce as the world moves towards energy systems based on variable renewable energy.