A Cryogenic battery from HighPower. Although lithium-ion-based systems have dominated the US market for new energy storage resources in recent years, they do have limitations. Highview is one of dozens of energy storage innovators offering alternatives to lithium-ion batteries.
The CRYOBattery solution: a cryogenic battery
Salvatore Minopoli, Vice President of US subsidiary Highview Power Storage Inc, tells S&P Global that he expects demand for energy storage capacity to evolve. He estimates that power grids will increasingly need eight hours or more of storage, whereas current electrochemical options offer solutions that go no further than four hours.
This is why Highview Power is developing the CRYOBattery project, a 50 MW cryogenic energy storage system with over eight hours of energy storage.
Highview currently operates two pilot plants in the UK that demonstrate its cryogenic thermal storage concept. Based on industrial processes adapted from the electricity and gas sectors, Highview uses off-peak or excess electricity to compress and refrigerate air, storing it in liquid form in large tanks, then releasing it in gaseous form to drive a turbine and generate electricity. After several years of field trials, the company began developing large-scale plants in the UK and Vermont last year.
CRYOBattery and Highview Power generate significant investment for Cryogenic battery
Global industrial conglomerate Sumitomo Heavy Industries has invested $46 million in Highview Power, becoming the company’s largest minority shareholder. The money will support Highview’s quest to commercialize large-scale energy storage facilities, a crucial element for a power system with large amounts of renewable generation.
“For Sumitomo Heavy Industries, this isn’t a venture capital investment, it’s a strategic bet,” Highview CEO Javier Cavada told Greentech Media. “This is a huge company that sees this technology as the cornerstone of its future.”
In its 15 years of existence, Highview has raised £25 million, according to Cavada. This new round of financing, which may be joined by other investors, values the company at $330 million.
How long-life storage technologies fit into the energy transition with the Cryogenic battery
Companies have spent years developing devices that can store energy for more hours than lithium-ion batteries can cost-effectively handle. The main obstacle, apart from overcoming persistent cost reductions by lithium-ion battery manufacturers, was that few customers had needed to buy long-term storage in previous years.
This is starting to change, comments Greentech Media, as the penetration of renewables in some markets makes it worthwhile to build long-term electricity storage capacity. With a growing number of states legally committing to carbon-free electricity generation, these jurisdictions will also need a way to guarantee storage capacity when solar and wind production declines.
CRYOBattery technology already recognized
Highview Power has received an honorable mention in the “Energy” category of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas for its CRYOBattery, reports Renewable Energy Magazine. World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs. It focuses on the social good and seeks to highlight finished products and courageous concepts that make the world a better place.
“We are delighted to be recognized by such an esteemed organization for our CRYOBattery technology. This recognition is testament to the need for long-lasting energy storage and our technology in particular, which we believe is an essential element in building the foundations for a 100% renewable future,” said Mark Somerset, Director of Business Growth at Highview Power.