Since working on our first mechanical installation of anaerobic digestion units and biomass power plants, the UK’s energy storage sector has taken a huge step forward. As one of the first LAES demonstrators in the world, Tulway completed the mechanical installation of this landmark project in Bury, Manchester, including a turbine and generator, heat exchangers and thermal and cryogenic storage tanks.
As a breakthrough technology, this move stimulated the market for long duration energy storage technologies enabling a new and compelling solution for large scale, long duration energy storage that can be deployed at this scale and duration for a low cost.
Working alongside Highview Power at the site in Bury, Tulway provided expertise for its cryogenic systems at all levels including the support of power generation, providing stabilisation services to transmission grids and distribution networks, as well as acting as a source of back-up power to end users.
LAES technology is a system that converts liquid air into gas using an expansion process that releases stored energy, driving a turbine to generate clean electricity. In addition to providing energy storage, the LAES plant also converts waste heat to power using heat from the on-site landfill gas engines without releasing any carbon emissions.
Comprising mostly of steel, the LAES plant can draw energy to power approx 5,000 homes for around three hours and is believed to be the next wave of storage technologies that is currently dominated by battery solutions. The plant has an estimated lifespan of 30 to 40 years, in comparison to 10 years for batteries and at the end of its use can be decommissioned and the steel recycled.
With sustainability and innovation at the centre of the project, LAES technology has now been proven at scale which paves the way for the wider adoption of LAES technology both across the UK and globally. True long-duration energy storage technology is critical to enable broader deployment of renewable energy and help to overcome any periodic unavailability of solar and wind energy, iron out the peaks and falls in demand, and provide the UK with a consistent and secure source of homegrown energy.
The new technology could play an integral role in the global shift towards energy storage.