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BBC recognises Highview Power LAES demonstration plant supported by Optimal Industrial Automation

21/02/2018 16:47:48
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ImagesClick Image for 300dpi jpg fileBBC recognises Highview Power LAES demonstration plant supported by Optimal Industrial Automation

The BBC has recognised the world’s largest liquid air energy storage (LAES) technology plant near Manchester, a facility that has received automation support from Bristol based automation experts, Optimal Industrial Automation.

In a new article in the Science and Environment section, the BBC has explored the cutting edge facility, which ‘stores power from renewables or off-peak generation by expanding liquid air to drive a turbine’. Managed by Highview Power Storage in partnership with Viridor, the 5MW facility was built to demonstrate this technology at scale and assess the commercial viability.

The LAES technology works by utilising electrical energy to liquefy air and then store it in large insulated tanks. Next, liquid air is expanded through a turbine driven generator, with energy produced then fed back into the national grid. The system is comprised of three main sections: charging, energy storage and power recovery. Synchronising these processes is critical for efficiency, so Highview Power Storage contracted Optimal Industrial Automation to integrate the systems and provide automated control for the entire facility.

Such credentials ensure that the technology is essentially carbon neutral, with the only emission being Nitrogen, which comprises the vast majority of our atmosphere. Storing power is particularly useful for saving energy from renewables during peak operation, so when demand on the grid increases, additional energy can be released at the optimum time. Furthermore, such facilities can store excess power from nearby power stations, whose output change is notoriously slow and expensive to alter. At its current capacity, the demonstration plant can power up to 5,000 homes for roughly 3 hours.

Mike Weeks, Automation Project Engineer at Optimal expanded: “We are proud to be involved in a project that has gained such national interest. Cryogenically freezing air to store energy is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a Sci-Fi epic, but with our expertise we were able to implement a transparent integrated system with the interactivity required to make the process viable.”

The plant is currently in commissioning and is due to be online in the Spring 2017 where it will then operate for at least a year to demonstrate the benefits the technology offers with regards to grid balancing services. The technology is designed to be scalable, with Highview Power Storage having already designed a second plant with an estimated output of 200MW.

You can read the full BBC article on the facility here. For an explanatory video on the pilot plant, please click here.

Photo Caption

Photo 1: The LAES demonstration plant uses liquid air to drive a generator and produce electricity which is then fed back into the national grid.

About Optimal Industrial Automation Ltd

Optimal Industrial Automation has more than 30 years’ experience building, integrating and optimising manufacturing automation systems for challenging and highly regulated industries. Typically food & bev, chemical, pharmaceutical, life-science and other high-value process and manufacturing industries.

The demands being placed on manufacturers in relation to production costs, product quality and business sustainability are ever increasing; hence, the company’s primary aim is to deliver measurable improvements in all these target areas.

Optimal employs a large technical team qualified in software, electrical, electronic, vision and control hardware disciplines. As part of the implementation of these services Optimal has also developed a world leading integrated Print and Inspect system product - synTI®.

The image(s) distributed with this press release may only be used to accompany this copy, and are subject to copyright. Please contact DMA Europa if you wish to license the image for further use.

Editor Contact

DMA Europa Ltd. : Alan Hatch
Tel: +44 (0)1562 751436 Fax: +44 (0)1562 748315

Company Contact

Optimal Industrial Automation Limited : Alan Messenger
Tel: +44 (0) 1454 333 222 Fax: +44 (0) 1454 322 240

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