LIQUID AIR ENERGY STORAGE

INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS THE NEED FOR STORING ELECTRICITY?

In today’s world people are more inclinedtowards using renewable energy for power generation. Renewable energies like solar, wind, geothermal and more. However, to elaborate taking one example, such as if solar energy is being used for the generation of electricity, this source will not be available throughout the day or year. There will be times when there will be a lot of solar energy available which may lead to excess electricity production and there could be a possibility of more supply of electricity than its demand. On the contrary in peak demand situation, there could be less supply than demand. These are situation when one thinks of storage.  The best way is by conserving things and using when needed, as every plant only has a certain power generating limit.

There are various ways today by which we can store electric energy for future use, few of them are compressed air energy storage (CASE), Hydro pump energy storage, Liquid air energy storage, etc.  Choosing one of these will need consideration of a lot of factors like clean energy source, availability of the raw material, cost of material, storage capacity, life of material etc.

Out of the main energy storage systems available today I would like to talk about liquid air energy storage. This type of storage is fairly new when compared to other storages. Liquid air energy storage plant was first built in United Kingdom in June 2018 [2].

One of the main reasons for me choosing this topic is that the raw material, “air”, this is a substance which will be available at all times and everywhere. This makes it a clean energy plant. Further this plant can easily be located near the grids without thinking about the geographical requirements.

PROCESS:

This Liquid air energy storage process involves three main steps, which are as follows:

  • Excess electricity is used by this storage method to draw atmospheric air for liquification process. The air is liquified by cooling it down to a very low temperature of -196 ℃ [2].
  • This liquid air is then stored in an insulated vessel at low pressure.
  • The final step is utilization of this liquid air for re generation of electricity.Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 4.20.11 PM

Why is liquid air energy storage an attractive energy storage technique?

Liquid air energy storage can put batteries and other storage methods in danger due to few of the many advantages mentioned below.

  • This storage is cost effective and a huge storage capacity.
  • LAES has no geographical constrains. It can be placed anywhere.
  • It has a long life of upto 40 years.
  • Liquid air energy storage is a fairly new technology. Hence it uses new but well understood, easily available, easy to maintain and mature equipment’s [4]. Equipment’s like liquefiers, compressors etc. These equipment’s are easily available.

In my paper I would like to discuss the points mentioned above like the requirement, advantages, and the process. Moreover, it is going to be very beneficial for the utility companies as the power is being stored and given back to them when required with the benefit of no carbon emission as it is using renewable energy to generate power and air for the energy storage.  Hence this is an environment friendly storage type.

 

Bibliography:
1)   https://stfc.ukri.org/files/liquid-air-energy-storage/
2)   https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3033558/world-first-liquid-air-energy-storage-plant-opens-in-manchester
3)   Morgan, R., Nelmes, S., Gibson, E. & Brett, G. An analysis of a large-scale liquid air energy storage system. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Energy 168, 135-144 (2015).
4)    https://www.highviewpower.com
5)   https://www.highviewpower.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Highview-Brochure-November-2017-Online-A4-web.pdf
6)    Liquid Air Energy Storage: A review
YVONNE LIM, MUSHTAK AL-ATABI & RICHARD A. WILLIAMS. LIQUID AIR AS AN ENERGY STORAGE: A REVIEW. Journal of Engineering Science and Technology 11, 496-515 (2016).
7)   Conference Paper, J. Liquid air energy storage – Operation and performance of the first pilot plant in the world.
8)   Progress in electrical energy storage system: A critical review
Chen, H. et al. Progress in electrical energy storage system: A critical review. Progress in Natural Science19, 291-312 (2009).

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4 thoughts on “LIQUID AIR ENERGY STORAGE

  1. One question comes to mind when it comes to running the compressor and other mechanical components, what is their energy source? Would it be possible to use solar or wind to power those components? It would then be a completely self-sustaining storage system. It may also be worth it to explore the efficiencies of the cooling components. Also, is air quality a factor? This is a great topic! Air is everywhere!

    • The plant is using electricity for storage process. It is still a fairly new technology, as per now there has been no mention about using solar or wind energy to power the components, but it would be intrestign to see that happens if this technique is put into use, as that will make the whole plant self- sustaining storage system.
      Yes air quality is a factor, for which there is a filtration process that takes place at the beginning of the cycle, when the air is being drawn into the system.

  2. It would be interesting if you come up with techno-economic analysis of using this as energy storage. The performance of liquid air energy storage depends on 2 components: 1. compressor and 2. cooling the high temperature compressed air using the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, both high energy-consuming machines. Hence, instead of storing energy from the excess electricity, we might rather consume more energy in storing them. Also, I was wondering if this type of energy storage technology will be feasible in hot and dry climatic regions since the performance of the HVAC system is dependent on the ambient wet bulb temperature.

    Here is one solution to the above problem. If possible, check the feasibility of using a geothermal cooling system instead of conventional cooling towers. The temperature below the earth surface remains constant throughout the year, which can surely save enough energy that will be required to cool the compressed air.

    • Thank you for your input, I would look into the geothermal cooling about which you just mentioned, and it will be interesting to see how we can integrate liquid air energy storage and geothermal cooling systems, as liquid air energy storage needs additional cooling for the liquification process of air.

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