Long Duration Energy Storage Systems Gaining Traction in the U.S.
Liquid air energy storage technology is gaining more widespread acceptance in the U.S. as utilities look to the technology to provide long duration energy storage to back up increasing amounts of intermittent renewable generation. This growing trend is evident in the recent decision by London-based Highview Power, a company that specializes in the technology, to open up offices in New York City.
Highview Power sells a proprietary technology that uses liquid air as the storage medium and can provide anywhere from 10 MW/40 MWh to more than 200 MW/1.2 GWh of energy. The technology is based on the principle of air liquefaction, which facilitates the storage of gases in cryogenic liquid form.
Highview Power’s process involves a 700-fold expansion in volume from liquid back to gas, which releases the stored energy, powering turbines and generating electricity. This enables its system to store energy in increments measured in days rather than hours, at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries, while releasing zero emissions. The system has a lifespan of more than 30 years.
The decision to open a U.S. location comes as Highview anticipates that demand for its long-duration energy storage system will pick up in the country, following a trend that is already underway in the UK.
“The recent decision in the UK to impose more stringent de-rating factors in capacity market auctions for short duration storage clearly places a premium on long duration solutions and we believe that markets in the United States will soon follow suit,” said Highview Power CEO Gareth Brett.
Brett’s enthusiasm for liquid air energy storage is shared by Highview Power Chairman Colin Roy, who says long duration energy storage is needed to balance the grid and make intermittent generation reliable.
“Utilities and grid operators need anywhere from four hours to days of energy storage capacity at large scale, which Highview’s liquid air technology delivers at lower cost than commercially available alternatives,” Roy said.
Roy was appointed to the post of chairman of in January. He has a background in finance and was previously the CEO of Greenhill & Co. Europe and a co-founder of New York-based Greenhill and Co., Inc. Prior to that, he also played a role in establishing the German investment banking franchises of Merrill Lynch and SG Warburg (now UBS). He was a lead advisor on many significant restructurings, privatizations, and M&A transactions in Europe.
Roy’s recent appointment, combined with the growing demand for long duration, utility-scale energy storage, indicates that a hopeful future is in store for the 18-year-old company and others like it in the liquid air energy storage market.
"Colin Roy is an incredibly experienced executive, so his keen insight will be invaluable as LAES technology builds momentum,” said Brett.
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