The ArgusBrighton boffin hopes liquid air could be energy of the future (From The Argus)

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Brighton boffin hopes liquid air could be energy of the future

The Argus: Robert Morgan Robert Morgan

Turning air into liquid could help supply the UK's energy needs and produce a £1 billion industry with 20,000 jobs, according to a Brighton scientist.

Robert Morgan, principal research fellow at the University of Brighton's School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, took part in a study and co-authored a white paper on how air can be turned into liquid using surplus energy from renewable generation such as wind and solar power.

These sources sometimes produce energy when it is not needed, but storing it as liquid air means it can be heated and turned back into electricity when demand increases, he said.

The UK has a renewable energy target of 15% of the nation's requirements by 2020, Dr Morgan said.

He claims liquid air energy storage improves the efficiency and lowers the overall cost of operating the electricity network at the levels of renewable generation expected in the future.

Mr Morgan is a former chief technical officer at Highview Power Storage, which has had a liquid air storage plant operating at pilot scale since 2010.

He said: "The University of Brighton worked with companies active in liquid air and with other universities including Birmingham, Queen Mary's College, Leeds, Imperial, and Loughborough to produce the white paper."

Dr Morgan led the writing of a chapter which covered grid scale storage and presented his work at the Royal Academy of Engineering where the paper was launched.

The paper covered the technical aspects and economics of storage in the context of the UK electricity network.

He said the University of Brighton will continue working with the industry on ways of lowering carbon emissions and increasing energy security.

"The economic value of liquid air storage on the electricity grid could be GBP1 billion per year by 2050 and could support 20,000 jobs in the UK alone," he said.

"Given the technical leadership the UK has in liquid air storage, there is good potential for building a significant export industry."

Comments (4)

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12:20pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Tailgaters Anonymous says...

...recycled snake oil, maybe?
...recycled snake oil, maybe? Tailgaters Anonymous
  • Score: -4

3:49pm Wed 22 Jan 14

pachallis says...

Sounds quite reasonable - similar to storing energy in a spring, or using excess energy to pump water up a hill and then use it for hydro-electric generation later - to provide energy on those cold, windless dark evenings when solar and wind power don't work,

I guess there are questions of the safety of the pressure vessels used to store the liquid gas and the relative efficiency in how much energy you get back from what was needed to liquefy it and then heat it to get it back into gas. I assume the gas is then used to drive turbines?

Also the question of cost and how much space and equipment would be needed to store and regenerate megawatt hours of energy when needed?

Watch out for the anti-liqifiers and associated nimbys!
Sounds quite reasonable - similar to storing energy in a spring, or using excess energy to pump water up a hill and then use it for hydro-electric generation later - to provide energy on those cold, windless dark evenings when solar and wind power don't work, I guess there are questions of the safety of the pressure vessels used to store the liquid gas and the relative efficiency in how much energy you get back from what was needed to liquefy it and then heat it to get it back into gas. I assume the gas is then used to drive turbines? Also the question of cost and how much space and equipment would be needed to store and regenerate megawatt hours of energy when needed? Watch out for the anti-liqifiers and associated nimbys! pachallis
  • Score: 2

7:13pm Wed 22 Jan 14

John Fallon says...

Sounds interesting. It might get somewhere and at least they've found a use for largely useless wind farms.
Sounds interesting. It might get somewhere and at least they've found a use for largely useless wind farms. John Fallon
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Wed 22 Jan 14

John Steed says...

far better idea would be to use excess electricity to create hydrogen, the oxygen could be released into the atmospere thus helping to offset carbon and the hydrogen could be reused to power fossil fuel engines
far better idea would be to use excess electricity to create hydrogen, the oxygen could be released into the atmospere thus helping to offset carbon and the hydrogen could be reused to power fossil fuel engines John Steed
  • Score: 1

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