Energy Storage using Liquid Air

Researcher: Emma Edwards, Past Academic Visitor

As renewables become a larger portion of our energy source, there is a need to deal with intermittency in sources such as wind, solar, and wave. Liquid air is a novel and emerging technology whereby, when there is an excess of energy, ambient air is compressed and liquefied at -196C and stored. Air in liquid form is 1/700th the volume of normal, gaseous air, and does not need to be pressurized. When demand of energy is high, resource from renewable energies is low, and power is needed, the liquid air is pumped to a high pressure, evaporated, and run through a turbine to generate electricity.

There is only one pilot plant in the world demonstrating this technology (in the UK). At the University of Melbourne, with partnership with Arup Engineering and the Carlton Connect Initiatives Fund, Emma has built a thermodynamic model to represent the storage system. The goal of the project is to determine the viability of incorporating the system into the Australian network, using historic real data as well as predictions based on different low-carbon scenarios.