Industrial giant GE has inked a global licensing and collaboration deal with UK liquid air energy-storage (Laes) outfit Highview Power Storage (HPS).
Through the tie-up, being run by
GE's oil and gas arm, the two companies plan to investigate Laes technology's
potential as an add-on to gas-power back-up "peaker plants" that
would boost efficiency and grid-reliability, as well as for future renewable
“Highview’s readily available Laes
technology, with its ease of implementation and access to an operational pilot
plant, makes it an ideal partner for GE Oil & Gas to provide fully
integrated energy solutions to our customers,” says Luca Maria Rossi, product
management general manager for GE Oil & Gas's Turbomachinery Solutions
executive Gareth Brett adds: "The use of our Laes technology with GE’s
solutions for flexible peaker plants will help make a significant contribution
to balancing the electrical network of the future."
Highview’s Laes concept, running
as a grid-connected 350-kW/2.5MWh pilot near London for utility SSE since 2011, uses liquid air or nitrogen as the storage medium for a
"long-duration" energy storage system.
Last month, the UK Department of
Energy & Climate Change awarded HPS and Viridor, a recycling and waste
management company, more than £8m to build a 5MW/15MWh Laes demonstrator.
The new facility, which will
house a GE turbo-generator, is designed to demonstrate the technology at
commercial scale for the first time. Switch-on is slated for spring 2015.
HPS's Laes system is scaleable
Laes technologies are expected to
become central to the renewable energy industries as they can take-up excess
output during periods of surplus production and release power on to the grid
during supply-demand shortfalls.
“Operators increasingly need to
integrate intermittent and non-dispatchable renewable energy sources into the
current energy grid,” GE’s Rossi notes. “Energy storage is an application that
can help address this need.”