Ultimately, useable large-scale renewables require useable large-scale storage. Highview has developed Liquid Air Energy Storage as a cost effective solution to high-power, long-duration storage that is geographically locatable to where it is needed, and cost-competitive.

Liquid Air Energy Storage

Richard Riley | Highview Power Storage


What does the closure of Indian Point mean for New York and the 50 by 30 goal?

The closure of any such plant of large capacity on an already strained network, without the provision for new, cost effective, stable generation to fill the gap, typically causes instability and reliability issues on the grid. This can end up costing the rate payer more money, as other more expensive, generation needs to be brought on-line to fill the gaps and avoid brown-outs or blackouts. The folks in Westchester county are already some of the highest rate payers in the country, so anything that can be done to mitigate a cost increase or intermittent power to the consumer must be high on the agenda leading up to the closure.


What role can energy storage play in moving to renewable generation?

The 50 by 30 goal is focused on renewables, and the 80 by 30 target is focused on emissions. To balance the future need of the grid with the closure of such base-load generators, and to meet these tough targets, clean, fossil-free renewables will undoubtedly be called upon. To make this intermittent generation useful, large-scale energy storage is needed to harness power and give it back when required. Smaller energy storage technologies will help with things such as demand response, making for a smarter, more powerful grid. As the city grows, the already strained grid will need support, and the implementation of energy storage at a useful scale will certainly have a big impact on reducing the costs of upgrading this infrastructure, as well as avoiding having to pay renewable generators to curtail their generation. That really is a waste of both money and power.

How does energy storage reduce costs associated with transmission infrastructure?

Indian Point is close to the big demand of the city. Many of the renewable sources that could replace it will be further away, for example upstate or offshore wind. Transporting that energy is going to require much larger transmission capacity from those areas. Traditionally, more lines would be added to accommodate a higher peak power flow, but since the peaks only last for a few minutes these lines are not being fully utilized. By putting energy storage at the right place in the system, the power flows can be ‘smoothed’ so that the peaks are lower and less lines are required. The cost of some of the lines being planned in New York are upwards of $2 billion, so the potential savings are enormous.

Aside from the 50 by 30 goal, energy storage, particularly at the large scale, can help run existing power plants more efficiently by reducing cycling and allowing them to operate at their most efficient.


How can Liquid Air Energy Storage help?

Ultimately, useable large-scale renewables require useable large-scale storage. Pumped hydro is a solution if you have a convenient mountain topography and no one living there. Highview has developed Liquid Air Energy Storage as a cost effective solution to high-power, long-duration storage that is geographically locatable to where it is needed, and cost-competitive. We believe that our GigaPlant is the cheapest available solution at that scale. At 200 MW and 1.2 GWh capacity, it would support a big chunk of the 2 GW gap left by Indian Point.


How does it work?

The air we breathe is a gas. When you chill that air down enough, it turns into a very cold liquid, which can be stored in big insulated tanks. This electrically driven process has been around since the 1800’s, and you can see similar equipment all over the world at hospitals, food factories and in heavy industry, so it’s been very safe and well understood for decades. We go one step further, and take that very cold liquid and expand it back to air, which drives a non-combusting turbine generator. The gas expands to over 700 times its initial volume, and it’s this immense energy that we take advantage of to provide lots of cool, clean power, with no emissions, and more importantly an incredibly long life of over 40 years. Highview Power Storage have spent the last decade developing this technology to be cost effective, deliverable and efficient enough to deploy at scale today using an existing global supply chain.


Further info

Highview is currently commissioning a 5MW, 15 MWh commercial demonstration plant near Manchester in the UK. It will operate to perform services on the UK grid.

Highview is located at ACRE at the Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon School of Engineering


About Richard Riley
Richard Riley is the North America Business Development Manager for Highview Power Storage, sitting in the newly opened US office in New York City. A mechanical engineer by training, Richard began his career with French utility EDF in the construction and maintenance of power generation assets. He joined Highview in 2013 to work on the development of Liquid Air Energy Storage systems, including the engineering and construction of the company’s 5 MW demonstrator in the north of England. Richard is a Chartered Engineer, Member of the UK’s Institute of Mechanical Engineers and alumnus of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Engineering Leadership Award program.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

Comments (3)

Renewable energy requires ample storage solutions so that is when they come in to play a part in making this industry sustainable. Without adequate storage solutions, the process could be difficult to keep up with. When everything is in order, it gets much easier to manage the setup for long-term planning.
It still seems like there is a great big gap in the whole renewable energy sector but I think that it's heartening to see the existing production and storage efforts improving slowly but surely! In a couple of years time, I really hope that we are able to see whole societies switching to these renewable services entirely!
Even though the self storage is an entirely different type of business, but perhaps in the future there could be a collaboration. Self storage could provide a large business storage space which could be inter-linked to the energy storage industry. Anything is possible and since the energy storage industry is moving forward with intense progress and requires a storage facility, it is not impossible for the 2 industries to collide. It is a win-win situation for the businesses as well as for the environment and users.

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