As the world tries to find some balance amongst the Covid19 pandemic & the UK begins the slow road to recovery; energy usage & energy storage is something we all need to be more mindful of, especially as our economies & industries rebuild themselves in a post Covid world.
As a species, the human race has developed an entirely co-dependent need for energy. Whether it is generated by nuclear, coal, wind, hydro, or a plethora of other renewable & natural resource energies; our energy usage & needs has grown exponentially as we have sought out more & more ways to use energy.
‘The world’s electricity consumption amounted to approximately 23,398 billion kilowatt hours, or 23,398 terawatt hours in 2018.’ (1)
However, how did the effects of Covid19 impact on energy use & demand when the pandemic first took a hold?
Global energy demand declined by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2020, with most of the impact felt in March as confinement measures were enforced in Europe, North America & elsewhere. (2)
Renewables were the only source that posted a growth in demand, driven by larger installed capacity & priority dispatch. (2)
Electricity demand was significantly reduced as a result of lockdown measures, with knock-on effects on the power mix.
Electricity demand was depressed by 20% or more during periods of full lockdown in several countries, as upticks for residential demand were far outweighed by reductions in commercial & industrial operations. (2)
The need for sustainable, easily accessible & on demand energy in a world driven by electrification; ensures that renewables & sustainable energy supplies will become more & more part of a global energy mix.
Javier Cavada – CEO & President of Highview Power lead a webinar on Thurs 25.03.2021 exploring how the CRYOBattery & Liquid Air was supporting ‘Powering the New Green Revolution’ & how it assists with the decarbonisation of the grid.
The rollout of the Highview Power CRYOBattery ensures that there is long duration energy storage available, whilst also being part of the mix which is decarbonising the grid.
The Highview Power CRYOBattery, is a 100% renewable energy storage solution, with each CRYOBattery have a reported 30 year life span.
The CRYOBattery Liquid Air Technology allows the cryogenic storage of liquid air at -196°C (-320˚F) to be stored in insulated, low pressure vessels. Exposure to ambient temperatures causes rapid re-gasification and a 700-fold expansion in volume, which is then used to drive a turbine and create electricity without combustion. (3)
One of the guest speakers at the Highview Power webinar was Professor David Cebon, Director of the Centre of Sustainable Road Freight & Mechanical Engineering, University of Cambridge. Although energy storage is not usually in his remit; his interest is however for how energy storage can assist in the decarbonisation of road freight.
Professor Cebon opened his section of the webinar with a stark reality about carbon emissions. He spoke about the “urgency” to decarbonise, otherwise if we have 8 more years of carbon emissions at the levels of 2020; the entire carbon budget for planet Earth will have been used up! Professor Cebon continued his concerns about how countries couldn’t even attempt to remove the current carbon dioxide levels already in the atmosphere.
On the subject of energy storage in particular how this applies to the decarbonisation of freight & haulage; Professor Cebon spoke of his disbelief in the long term use of Hydrogen.
Despite many of the leading freight & haulage manufacturers already having Hydrogen trucks on the roads; the logistics, processing & storage of Hydrogen does not make it a viable long-term solution. Although Hydrogen production is being hailed as an essential part of the renewables mix, Professor Cebon believes that the primary need to store Hydrogen in vast “salt caverns” is neither economic nor environmentally sound.
Professor Cebon believes that there are five key needs for effective & sustainable grid storage:
1/ The energy production needs to be scalable to large powers & energies
2/ Have High Technology Readiness (TRL)
3/ Be low cost, with a viable business model & have longevity
4/ It must have a low environmental impact
5/ Have low ‘geographical dependencies’
With this list in mind, the figures Professor Cebon presented as part of the presentation, lead him to believe that Liquid Air & in particular the Highview Power CRYOBattery has a larger part to play in the future of our energy storage needs.
The UK needs -65GWh of intraday electricity storage at 8GW. He believes that the most practical storage solution to generate this amount of energy, is through Liquid Air & possibly Compressed Air. Hydrogen is ruled out due to poor round trip efficiency (High LCOS) & batteries are environmentally unfriendly & expensive at scale.
Whereas, Professor Cebon believes Liquid Air has the advantages of being Low Cost (LCOS), has scalability, has no geographical dependency as it can be built anywhere & it uses benign materials, rather than having a reliance on rare earth elements & materials.
Despite the work being done globally with renewables, Professor Cebon believes it is not viable to have a 100% reliance on them. It is also not practical to store the 16.3TWh of inter-seasonal energy requirements the UK has (2019, data courtesy of Gridwatch), as this is simply too vast an amount.
Professor Cebon believes that a HVDC (high-voltage, direct current – electric power transmission system) to North Africa could allow the UK to import 10GW of energy on a daily basis & thereby have a steady supply of constant energy. China have already proven the system works with a 3,300km HVDC interconnector which provides 12GW of energy.
With this in mind, Professor Cebon believes that electrification is the way forward for freight & haulage, as the other options come with too many opposites to his 5 key needs for effective & sustainable grid storage.
Written by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2
Information taken from the Highview Power webinar (24.03.2021) ‘Powering the New Green Revolution’