GE Oil & Gas has signed a global licensing and collaboration agreement with Highview Power Storage, a UK supplier of large-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) systems.
The companies will explore opportunities to integrate Highview’s LAES technology in peaker power plants where GE gas turbines and gas engines are currently or will be installed to increase power plant efficiency, grid reliability and the distribution of renewable energy.
Highview’s LAES technology uses liquid air or nitrogen as the storage medium to provide long-duration energy storage without the geographical restrictions found with other energy storage methods.
The technology also can convert low-grade waste heat into power, increasing the overall efficiency of a host power plant.
In February 2014, the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change awarded Highview and Viridor, a UK recycling, renewable energy and waste management company, more than £8 million (more than 13 million $) to build a new 5-MW/15MWh LAES demonstration plant at a Viridor landfill gas-to-energy plant in the U.K.
The LAES facility will be powered by a GE Oil & Gas turbo-generator and will demonstrate the technology at commercial scale for the first time when it begins operating in the spring of 2015.
With Highview’s LAES process, ambient air is drawn from the environment where it is cleaned, compressed and then refrigerated. Once liquefied, it is stored in an insulated storage tank at low pressure during off peak demand periods.
When power is required, the cold liquid air is drawn from the tank and pumped to high pressure and sent to Highview’s patented evaporation and cold recycle unit, in order to capture and then later recycle the cold required for the liquefaction process.
The regasified air is then heated by waste energy present at the exhaust of the gas turbine or engine, and expanded in a multi-stage process gas expander which drives the generator to produce electricity.