Mindful of a shortage of power hampering the growth of Indian economy, a British delegation visited India recently along with the British Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid, seeking Indian investment in a cryogenic energy storage facility.

The new energy facility uses liquid air to store and provide power.

Cryogenic energy storage systems use renewables and/or off-peak electricity to liquefy air, which involves compression and expansion processes. The cryogenic liquid has a temperature below -190ºC and is stored in a vessel before being pumped at high pressure (150 bar) when electricity is needed; here it is vaporized into a gas and super-heated using either or both heat and waste heat if available, before going through an expansion process in a turbine to generate electricity.

A UK delegation was in New Delhi recently in order to promote regional innovation between the two countries and emphasise the importance of such liquid air technologies in particular. The Birmingham Energy Institute and Thermal Energy Research Accelerator is looking for companies in India that would be willing to invest in this technology and partner in shaping the energy solutions of tomorrow.

Professor Adam Tickell, Provost and Vice-Principal of the University of Birmingham campus that was part of the UK delegation, said that cryogenic energy storage could be a significant component of the future energy mix by allowing to take energy produced when it is not needed and storing it for deployment at times of greatest need. The University of Birmingham recently opened its cryogenic energy storage pilot facility, a system that itself uses liquid air to store and provide power.

Tickell stressed his belief that if India invests in such technology, it can fulfil India’s growing energy needs in the future.