Compressed Air, Energy Storage, New Projects, News, Renewables

UK liquid air storage firm wants to challenge lithium ion in U.S.

Lithium ion battery installations dominate the energy storage market, but a United Kingdom firm is hoping to break that monopoly by developing the first liquid air energy storage system in the U.S.

Highview Power Storage and Encore Renewable Energy have announced plans to build an energy storage system in Vermont. The plant would offer a minimum of 50 MW, 400MWh dispatchable power, according to the companies.

Highview is a relatively new company which has initially focused on projects in the UK using its technology. But it is strategically seeking U.S. partners such as Encore to develop large-scale storage alternatives.

“With their expertise in community-scale solar PV systems, traditional battery storage applications and solutions for the redevelopment of under-utilized properties, Encore Renewable Energy is a perfect partner for us as we continue expanding our technology in the United States,” Salvatore Minopoli, vice president of Highview Power USA, said in a statement.

Highview Power utilizes its proprietary CRYOBattery system. This uses air liquifaction as the storage medium and offers an alternative to battery systems which might have fire dangers.

“We are excited to deploy our first long duration energy storage system in the United States. It is wonderful to partner with a company that shares our vision for a healthier environment and a sustainable economy,” said Javier Cavada, CEO of Highview Power.

The liquid air energy storage system can use excess or off-peak electricity to clean and compress air then stored in tanks at temperatures below minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit (Celsius 200 below). When demand is higher and at peak times, the pressurized gas warms and turns as a turbine as it expands.

Reports by the U.S. Energy Information Agency and others detail the dominance that lithium ion has within the energy storage market. About 90 percent of the nearly 900 MW in energy storage capacity nationwide use lithium ion as the storage element.