Liquid air energy storage: Cryogenic storage for the energy transition


Variable and non-programmable renewable energy is making an increasing contribution to power generation. In parallel, the ‘electrification of everything’ is a fundamental mantra of decarbonisation.

These aspects combine to mean that long-term, high-capacity energy storage will become essential to balance supply and demand on the power transmission grid. Liquid air energy storage (LAES) is emerging as a high potential clean energy storage technology for this purpose.

LAES relies on cryogenic engineering and expertise, which sits in the heart of the industrial gases sector. In LAES, liquefied air is produced on a liquefaction unit and stored as a cryogenic liquid in highly insulated tanks. The production of liquid air can coincide with periods when there is excess renewable power available in the grid, such as overnight when the wind is blowing hard and consumer demand is low or during peak sunlight hours in the middle of the day.

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