Highview Power breaks ground on UK 250MWh CryoBattery plant

Highview Power breaks ground on UK 250MWh CryoBattery plant

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By Nick Flaherty

Highview Power has broken ground on one of Europe’s largest energy storage systems using a CryoBattery.

The 50MW plant in Greater Manchester, developed with Carlton Power, will use a cryogenic storage battery that chills air to a liquid store and release energy. This is the first such CryoBattery plant and follows a key investment from Sumitomo. It will start operation in 2023 and provide up to 250MWh of power.

“The Sumitomo deal gives us equity and resources,” said Javier Cavada, CEO of Highview Power. “The UK plant is the first that we are developing across the UK and mainland Europe.”

Highview was awarded a £10 million grant from the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to build the facility at Trafford Energy Park outside Manchester in June.

The plant will use existing substation and transmission infrastructure and be used to store energy or sale and for grid balancing, frequency response and voltage support.

Highview Power’s proprietary cryogenic energy storage technology utilizes air liquefaction, in which ambient air is cooled and turned to liquid at -196 °C (-320 ˚F). The liquid air is stored at low pressure and later heated and expanded to drive a turbine and generate power.

The CryoBattery has a small footprint, and is scalable with no size limitations or geographic constraints.

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“In that sense the demand for our technology is enormous and the current site on the energy park is an ideal place in which there are a lot of constraint and congestion and more will happen with more wind farms added to the grid,” said Cavada. “This will be able to host over 1GWh of storage but with the first plant of 50MW the hours can be scaled up easily.”

“In the UK the Manchester area is notable for the skilled infrastructure available so the substation, transmission lines, and grid connection is much easier than anywhere else. It is an existing gas fired power station but this is being used less and less and we can use the waste heat from the power station,” he said.

With the biggest energy consumption is in the south of the UK, the plant sits in-between that and the wind farms in the north  west. “The congestion happens in between – we will have wind generating more than the demand so we would be filling the storage during those times. There is a substation so we are not going to fill up our tanks unless there is an excess of energy, and this ensures the transmission lines are full but not congested.”

This is controlled from the machine-learning BLU Control energy control system based in London.

“The core of the patents is in the software, getting all the sequencing and flows and we use tools from the big OEMs such as Siemens PLCs and put our IP into that,” he said. “The plants will be completely connected via BLU in London. Our engineering team has been developing this platform using the state of the art cloud systems on Microsoft Azure.”

While the Manchester site is the first to break ground there are many other opportunities for the CryoBattery emerging both in the UK and US, partly as a result of the Sumitomo relationship.

“We are able to provide both active power and reactive power without degradation, so that is bringing us to many places in the UK,  and we are developing several sites with partners. Before the end of the year we expect to be able to announce a couple more places for breaking the ground next year, and we are in a similar situation in the US.”

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