Guardian’s Energy Storage Delusion

By Paul Homewood The Guardian has finally caught up with the story AEP was peddling a year ago! Construction is beginning on the world’s largest liquid air battery, which will store renewable electricity and reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power plants. The project near Manchester, UK, will use spare green energy to […]

Guardian’s Energy Storage Delusion — NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
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Construction is beginning on the world’s largest liquid air battery, which will store renewable electricity and reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power plants.

The project near Manchester, UK, 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.

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 liquid air battery, being developed by Highview Power, is due to be operational in 2022 and will be able to power up to 200,000 homes for five hours, and store power for many weeks. Chemical batteries are also needed for the transition to a zero-carbon world and are plummeting in price, but can only store relatively small amounts of electricity for short periods.

Liquid air batteries can be constructed anywhere, said Highview’s chief executive, Javier Cavada: “Air is everywhere in the world. The main competitor is really not other storage technologies but fossil fuels, as people still want to continue building gas and coal-fired plants today, strangely enough,” he said.

The UK government has supported the project with a £10m grant. The energy and clean growth minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, 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.

The UK government is being urged to make the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic a green one. “We owe it to future generations to build back better,” said the prime minister, Boris Johnson, recently, while the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is reported to be planning a “green industrial revolution”.

Alex Buckman, an energy storage expert at the Energy Systems Catapult group, said polluting gas power plants were the main way the UK electricity grid was balanced. But a net zero carbon system would need more than the 30% renewable energy of today and therefore more storage.

“There is likely going to be a need for one or more of the medium-to-long duration electricity storage technologies to fill a gap in the market, and liquid air energy storage (LAES) is right up there as an option,” he said. Pumped hydro is limited by the need for a mountain reservoir, while gravity storage – where you raise a weight and then let it drop to power a generator – is less developed, as is large-scale production of hydrogen fuel from green energy.

“The combination of being more developed and more scalable provides LAES with an opportunity to be competitive, if they can prove that they can reduce costs with increased scale,” Buckman said.

The Highview battery will store 250MWh of energy, almost double the amount stored by the biggest chemical battery, built by Tesla in South Australia. 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.

The project will cost £85m, and Highview received £35m of investment from the Japanese machinery giant Sumitomo in February. 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. The plant’s lifetime is expected to be 30-40 years. “It will pass to the next generation,” said Cavada.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/18/worlds-biggest-liquid-air-battery-starts-construction-in-uk

As with AEP’ Telegraph articles, for instance here, Damien Carrington shows his utter lack of understanding about what storage systems such as this actually work. (Why, by the way, do “Environmental Editors, such as Carrington and Harrabin, even get the job of reporting on energy matters, for which they are totally unqualified to talk about?)

So let’s look more closely at Highview’s claims.

 The new liquid air battery, being developed by Highview Power, is due to be operational in 2022 and will be able to power up to 200,000 homes for five hours, and store power for many weeks. Chemical batteries are also needed for the transition to a zero-carbon world and are plummeting in price, but can only store relatively small amounts of electricity for short periods.

This is a grossly dishonest claim, Mr Carrington.

Chemical batteries can store power for just as long as Highview’s system. However, you are right that chemical batteries can only store relatively small amounts of electricity. What you have not got the gumption to realise is that exactly the same is true of Highview’s supposed ground breaker.

The claim about “number of homes” is as ever a red herring, though five hours should give the game away!

As I revealed last October, this new Highview plant will store only 250 MWh. This, as anyone with the slightest knowledge of the power system will tell you, is a pitifully small amount. On a normal day, demand is close to 1 million MWh, so you would need 4000 Highviews to cover that if we did not have proper backup capacity for when renewables were not producing.

And, of course, the system would need time to recharge the next day, which would be impossible without surplus renewable power available.

Carrington compares Highview with mountain pumped storage. But Dinorwig can store 9.1 GWh of energy, thirty six times as much. Even so, all of the pumped storage in the UK still only provides half a percent of our electricity.

Highview themselves admit that their system cannot fill the gap when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. It will simply help with short term balancing of the grid, typically for an hour so so, just in the same way other small scale peakers do, such as OCGT, diesel engines and batteries:

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Sadly, the likes of Carrington, Harrabin and Evans Pritchard, are so fanatical in their obsession with renewables, that they only see what they want to see.

Interestingly, this project will cost £85 million for 50MW of storage. If wind farms had to pay this cost for every 50MW of capacity, I doubt whether any would be built!

Author: uwe.roland.gross

Don`t worry there is no significant man- made global warming. The global warming scare is not driven by science but driven by politics. Al Gore and the UN are dead wrong on climate fears. The IPCC process is a perversion of science.