Highview has selected Siemens to provide advanced technology for the new hybrid liquid air energy storage (LAES) system at Viridor’s Pilsworth landfill gas plant in Bury.

Highview was awarded funding of £1.5m for a new hybrid configuration of its existing 5MW/15MWh LAES pre-commercial demonstrator from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The system will instantly respond to grid frequency events, meeting the requirements of National Grid’s enhanced frequency response (EFR) service and firm frequency response (FFR), enhancing the economic case for its adoption.

Highview is leading the way in the development of LAES systems, which offer flexible large-scale, long duration energy storage that is not reliant on specific geography; unlike for example, pumped hydro. The hybrid system combines instant start and cost-effective long duration storage, broadening the range of services LAES can supply and making it a very competitive alternative to batteries.

As part of a new development phase, Siemens large drives was awarded a contract to deliver the short-term energy storage and power conversion system, utilising the Sinamics range of power converters. These will provide almost instant start capability (under a second) to the plant at Pilsworth, and will enable the system to respond to National Grid’s service needs.

Gareth Brett, CEO of Highview, said, “The grid needs both flexible response and longer duration storage which a hybrid LAES system can provide. Working closely with Highview’s engineers, Siemens has been able to quickly develop our concept into a packaged system which will help pave the way for broad deployment at large scale.”

The 5MW LAES Pilsworth plant

The 5MW LAES Pilsworth plant

Siemens business development manager for integrated drive systems, Vincent Morton described the project, “This has been a great project to develop together with Highview and it is fantastic that it can now become reality. It offers huge potential for large-scale energy storage and Siemens is delighted to be contributing towards the UK‘s secure energy storage future.”

The first key phase of operation of this versatile energy storage and conversion system includes a closely controlled near-instant export of power to the grid during under-frequency events, while the LAES system ramps up to meet the output requirements. The second phase includes a closely controlled near instant import of power from the grid during grid over-frequency events, where the electrical power is converted to heat and stored for later use by the LAES system.

The Siemens Simotics FD ‘energy‘ flywheels and the super-capacitors will supply short-term energy storage, whilst the power conversion element will be provided by Sinamics S120, to control the transfer of energy to load banks, super-capacitors, flywheels and the Grid.

The hybrid LAES system will be added to the existing pre-commercial demonstration plant at project partner, Viridor’s, Pilsworth landfill gas plant in Bury, Greater Manchester, UK. The project was awarded funding of more than £8m from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in 2014.

The Pilsworth LAES plant will be commissioned in early 2018 and the hybrid system is expected to be in full operation by summer 2018.