UK-based business, Highview Power Storage, is preparing to start operating its new 5MW Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) technology Pre-Commercial Demonstrator.

Having been awarded a £8m ($11.6m) grant from the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for the construction of the plant in 2014, the facility will be up and running this summer, with operational tests being carried out for at least a year.

The funding has supported the design, assembly and testing of the 5MW Pre-Commercial Demonstrator at recycling and renewable energy company and project partner, Viridor’s landfill gas site in UK city, Manchester.

It is the first LAES plant of its size in the world and will convert low-grade waste heat from the onsite landfill gas engines into electrical power.

It is believed Highview’s LAES systems will be the cheapest cleanest and lowest environmental impact GWh (gigawatt hour) scale, locatable storage systems available

The LAES process is a large-scale energy storage solution that uses liquid nitrogen (N2) or liquid air as a storage medium. LAES technology can be integrated with 20-200MW plants and can be located directly at the point it is needed, offering a competitive energy storage solution.

The technology can also integrate low-grade, industrial waste heat and waste cold to increase the round trip efficiency of the system by co-locating with industrial plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. Additionally, and if integrated with renewables, the LAES technology can be zero emission.

Gareth Brett, CEO of Highview, emphasised, “The scalability of LAES makes it a flexible solution and scaling up to the conceptual GigaPlant can provide a compelling solution based on ten years of development and five years of operation of small systems.”

“It is believed Highview’s LAES systems will be the cheapest cleanest and lowest environmental impact GWh (gigawatt hour) scale, locatable storage systems available.” 

The London-based corporation has released a comprehensive video animation (below) explaining the details behind its proprietary LAES process.