Award-winning UK energy storage company, Highview Power Storage and Basil Read Energy (BRE), has announced a strategic partnership agreement for the commercial deployment of Highviewʼs proprietary energy storage technology in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

The agreement with BRE follows Highview’s announcement last week of a strategic partnership with the German Messer Group, the world’s largest owner-managed international industrial gases company.

Highview is the first UK company to secure overseas commercial agreements in the fast-growing energy storage market. This latest arrangement gives exclusive rights to BRE to deploy and implement Highview’s proprietary cryogenic energy storage technology in their markets.

Said Highview CEO, Gareth Brett, “With our pilot plant in the UK built and fully operational, signing our first commercial agreements was always the next key step. With the very high quality of our international partners, I am confident that we shall see the ground being broken for the first multi-MW plants next year.”

BRE is a diversified African energy company focusing on the development, ownership and operation of renewable energy power generation projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ian Curry, Director of BRE, commented, “The unique power of this solution is that the air is free and there is an infinite supply of it, so using air in liquid form as the energy storage vector is an extraordinarily attractive solution. It means the plants can be located anywhere rather than being dependent on a specific type of geography or location of a specific resource, such as water”.

In development since 2005, Highview has piloted the world’s first ‘Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) plant in Slough outside London with Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE). LAES is one of only a few technologies which can be delivered today at the 50MW to 100MW scale with hundreds of MWh of energy stored. The technology relies on mature components and technologies proven over many decades that are assembled in a novel process.

BRE has already identified the opportunity for large-scale energy storage to provide energy security and peak time energy management to intensive energy users such as mines, refineries and the steel industry. The solution also works at utility level, which is why the piloting of the UK plant has been with Scottish & Southern Energy.

Ian Curry believes that this solution could have enormous application for Eskom because it can offer a large-scale distributed storage solution with no dependence on extraneous factors such as diesel, LPG or coal. He points out that the solution is completely independent of any vagaries of the commodity market – “the air is free and, to all intents and purposes, limitless in supply, especially since our only exhaust product is just air”.

Said Curry, “Simultaneously reducing electricity demand and ensuring security of supply at peak times is a key challenge facing the African energy industry today. Equally, integrating intermittent renewables is core to a long-term low carbon energy solution and energy storage is a key component to help deliver, reliable, right-time supply.“

Under the terms of the agreement, BRE has the exclusive rights to deploy Highview’s technology both in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Highview receives technology licence fees per MW installed. The team has commenced a feasibility study for a specific first site, expected to be a 10MW plant with more than 50MWh of stored capacity.