Liquid Air and the Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage

In May 2013, the Centre for Low Carbon Futures launched a white paper on the potential of liquid air and investigated whether it could provide a credible alternative to existing energy storage systems and low carbon transport solutions. It also examined whether this new technology could better harness renewables and deliver energy security as well as its economic value to UK PLC. One of the subsequent outcomes of the work on liquid air is the creation of the Liquid Air Energy Network (LAEN); a new forum for the advocacy and development of liquid air as an alternative way to harness waste and surplus energy within power and transport. You can find more information about LAEN here.

Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage

As part of its energy storage programme the Centre for Low Carbon Futures has supported the creation of a new centre for cryogenic energy storage at the University of Birmingham in partnership with the University of Hull (also a CLCF member university). The EPSRC is providing £6m to the project, with additional £6m of contributions from industry and University. The Centre will be built on integrated innovation; working with academia, business and policy and taking a systems approach to research, development and demonstration of cryogenic energy storage (CES). Click here to see a demonstration of CES in action on the BBC's Bang Goes the Theory.

BCCES has built an excellent relationship with industry since its inception, creating partnerships with Highview Power Storage, the Dearman Engine Company , Air Products, Energy Generation and Supply KTN, Arup and the Energy Technologies Institute.

As part of the project BCCES will incorporate a pilot scale test-bed for CES, currently located in Slough which is managed by Highview Power Storage. Focusing on moving CES forward, the planned relocation of the CES test-bed to the University of Birmingham campus is an exciting prospect for the technology and the BCCES.

BCCES will also cover policy and markets analysis to complement the more technical research and development.The work will focus on the creation and identification to support further development and commercialization of CES.

The BCCES is addressing 3 major research themes

  1. Novel materials
  2. Thermodynamic and generation processes
  3. Systems integration, control and optimization

Research Project with Dearman Engine Company Funded by Technology Strategy Board

A Dearman Engine Company (DEC) led consortium (partners: University of Sheffield and CLCF) has recently been awarded £150,000 by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to carry out an emerging technologies feasibility study into the Dearman Engine. The project will identify a route to market for the technology by developing business cases in a  new potential market. It will also assess the business cases for the engine's application at different scales and in a variety of locations so that the technology can be optimized and specific markets can be targeted for demonstration activities. 

The Dearman Engine is a UK engine technology which uses liquid air as a 'fuel' both in mobile and stationary applications. It is suited to <1MW power generation and is an efficient method of converting waste heat to power. The technology is part of a major investment in capital equipment by EPSRC at the University of Birmingham and DEC is currently developing a prototype. 

CLCF and the University of Sheffield are contributing techno-economic analysis and waste heat research.

Click here for recent news and media coverage of Liquid Air and Cyrogenic Energy Storage

Click here for an interactive overview of media coverage on liquid air provided courtesy of the Liquid Air Energy Network


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