World’s biggest liquid air battery under construction in Manchester

World's Biggest Liquid Air Battery is now under construction in UK (Source: @guardian)

New Delhi (NVI): The construction of world’s largest liquid air battery, which can store renewable electricity and reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power plants, has begun in United Kingdom’s Manchester.

The project, known as the CryoBattery, will also be the first commercial battery of its kind. It will put up near Manchester and will help the country use renewable energy, The Guardian reported.

The plant will use spare green energy to compress air into a liquid and store it. When demand is higher, the liquid air is released back into a gas, powering a turbine that puts the green energy back into the grid.

United Kingdom government is backing the project with £10 million and the project will be run by energy storage company Highview and will help the UK make the most of the energy generated from its world-class solar and wind sectors.

The plant is due to be completed by 2022 and will be able to power up to 2,00,000 homes for five hours, The Guardian’s report said.

Once the project is completed, it will be able to store 250MWh of energy, almost double the amount stored by the biggest chemical battery can store, built by Tesla in South Australia.

A big expansion of wind and solar energy is vital to tackle the climate emergency but they are not always available. Storage is therefore key and the new project will be the largest in the world outside of pumped hydro schemes, which require a mountain reservoir to store water.

The new project is sited at the Trafford Energy Park, also home to the Carrington gas-powered energy plant and a closed coal power station. It will cost USD 106.5 million, while Highview has also received USD 43.9 million of investment from the Japanese machinery giant Sumitomo in February.

CryoBattery works by using electricity to cool and compress air, turning it into liquid and storing it in industrial sized containers. It then feeds the liquid through a turbine, turning it back into electricity and pumping it back into the grid when it is needed.

“Air is everywhere in the world. The main competitor is really not other storage technologies but fossil fuels,” The Guardian reported as told by the Highview CEO Javier Cavada.

UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng also said, “This revolutionary new facility will form a key part of our push towards net zero, bringing greater flexibility to Britain’s electricity grid and creating green-collar jobs in Greater Manchester.

“Projects like these will help us realise the full value of our world-class renewables, ensuring homes and businesses can still be powered by green energy, even when the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing,” he said.

Meanwhile, the liquid air battery is creating 200 jobs, mainly in construction, and employing former oil and gas engineers, with a few dozen in the continuing operation.

In addition to this, Highview is also developing other sites in the UK, continental Europe and the US, including in Vermont, but the Manchester project will be the first.