UK company Highview Power Storage, a developer of Liquid Air Energy Storage systems, has won the Sustainability Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards.
The awards recognise the most innovative companies worldwide operating within a wide variety of engineering and technology disciplines. Winners were chosen from 430 entries, from 25 different countries.
In awarding Highview, the judges were unanimous ‘in selecting an entry with promising commercial viability in the near term, and which has the promise of widespread adoption in electricity generating markets’.
Highview has developed and built a pilot plant of a novel energy storage system, which uses liquid air as the storage medium.
The plant, the first of its kind in the world, has been operational for more than a year and is being hosted by SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) at its Slough Heat and Power biomass plant in Slough, west of London. It can also harness low-grade waste heat from co-located industrial processes converting it in to additional power.
The Sustainability award caps a successful and progressive 12 months for Highview, with the company having already won a number of awards and last month named in the Global Cleantech 100 by the Cleantech Group.
This latest award appears to underline the momentum the company and its technology is building across the energy sector.
Professor Andy Hopper, President of the IET, said of the institution’s awards, “These awards continue to showcase some great technological innovations being created across the world. Each help solve some of our biggest economic and social issues to deliver a brighter future, which is why I am very proud that the IET Innovation Awards cut straight to the core goal for the IET - advancing collaborative knowledge to enhance peoples’ lives.”
Comment from a Highview perspective came courtesy of Gareth Brett, CEO, who said, “Our technology, Liquid Air Energy Storage offers a ‘here now’ solution for warehousing wrong-time energy from intermittent renewables so it can be on tap when needed at times of high demand but the wind is not blowing.”
“Our pilot plant is fully operational on the UK grid and has been tested for real-time applications. The system uses proven components from well established suppliers with expected life times of 25+ years”
A working group was set up last month to assess and quantify the future role of liquid air as an energy vector in the UK and abroad, and its broader economic value to UK plc. The group was launched at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and supported by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures and a number of UK Universities, with a report set to be published in Spring 2013.
Learn more about liquid air
Speaking at the launch of the liquid air working group at IMechE in October, Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy at IMechE, described the potential of this concept and technology.
He said, “Liquid Air Energy Storage is a very promising technology, using our most abundant resource to solve one of the renewable energy industry’s most pressing challenges. It seems to address many of the challenges we face and is affordable, uses mature components and is highly scalable; this is a great example of 21st Century British engineering.”
So what is the liquid air concept and how does it work? What could it mean for both the industrial gases business and the wider energy sector?
Learn more about liquid air, the nitrogen economy and the science behind the hype with gasworld’s exclusive supplement, published in the October (2012) magazine and available now on the gasworld website.
Watch out for more updates on liquid air and its development, here at www.gasworld.com.