Highview Power Storage, a UK based designer and developer of Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) systems and a major collaborator in the Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage (BCCES) has signed a licence agreement with Advanced Emissions Solutions of Denver, Colorado.


Highview's 350kW/2.5MWh pilot plant, which proved the viability of this grid-scale energy storage solution, is currently being moved from Slough to the University of Birmingham campus in the UK. Integrating the plant into the Birmingham campus power network and utilising steam from the University’s combined heat and power system creates a test-bed for the development and deployment of this exciting technology.    

The market for grid-scale energy storage is driven by the significant increases in electric power being generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. The technology works by using off-peak electricity to liquefy air. The cryogenic liquid that is formed is stored in a vessel, and then vaporised into a gas during an expansion process, which drives a turbine. This system generates electricity when it is most needed; taking off-peak electricity and using it at peak times helps to solve the ‘wrong-time wrong-place’ energy generation and supply problem. In this way it can provide grid stability by smoothing the interface between intermittent sources and the slow responding base-loaded plants such as coal and nuclear.  

The Liquid Air Energy Network (LAEN) outlines that this technology will increase energy security, cut greenhouse gas emissions and create a new industry for the UK worth at least £1bn per year and 22,000 new jobs to the UK.

140 academic staff from 4 colleges and 17 schools at the University of Birmingham are engaged in energy and energy related research and development. The Birmingham Energy Institute (BEI) is a focal point for the University and its national and international partners, to create change in the way we deliver, consume and think about energy. The focus being ‘Energy systems’, ‘The Business of Energy’, ‘Energy and Transport’ and ‘Breakthroughs in Energy Technologies’. Co-ordinated research, education and the development of global partnerships is at the heart of the Birmingham Energy Institute vision drawing on recognised centres of excellence in Energy Storage, Nuclear Energy, Fuel Cells and their Fuels, Railway and Automotive Systems and Energy Policy and Economics.

More information about the BEI can be found at www.birmingham.ac.uk/energy