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Big Batteries Are Coming, They Are Trialling Them In Manchester, And Developers Need To Know

The 5MW/15MWh LAES plant at Bury will become the first operational demonstration of LAES technology at grid-scale.

The world's first grid-scale Liquid Air Energy Storage plant is now operating in a Manchester suburb — and it could mean big changes for property as power storage becomes an increasing concern.

The innovative system uses refrigerated air as the storage medium, and is ideally suited for long-duration use greater than four hours.

The LAES system at the Viridor Pilsworth plant, near Bury, is a finalist for the 2018 Solar Power Portal and Energy Storage News Awards. The winners will be announced on 17 October at the sixth-annual awards ceremony in Birmingham. 

Highview Power said the battery technology can help balance the grid and provide multiple revenue streams for utilities and large developments, including manufacturing sites and industrial estates.

In addition to smoothing out electricity consumption during winter peaks, the 5 MW plant can deliver power to around 5,000 average-sized homes for several hours. 

Manchester occupiers and developers are already making strides into battery technology. Earlier this spring Bruntwood-controlled Manchester Science Partnerships invested more than £400K in its advanced energy strategy, including a Tesla Powerpack system outside the 70K SF Bright Building at Manchester Science Park.

The move will help insulate MSP from shifting commercial tariffs and escalating non-commodity prices, while also allowing it to substantially reduce its carbon footprint through wider use of renewable energy.

Highview Power’s proprietary LAES technology is based on the principle of air liquefaction, which enables the easy storage of gases in cryogenic liquid form. Recovering the stored energy utilises the large expansion in volume from liquid back to gas, powering turbines and generating electricity.