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Eric Ferguson recording video
Eric Ferguson recording video, possibly for a blog

Freezing air as energy storage

Freezing air as energy storage

Though I propose Minnesota invest in pumped hydro energy storage partly because it’s existing technology, don’t take that to mean I’m against investing in research for new technology. I just don’t want to wait for new technology when we can do something now, and global warming seems not to be sitting around waiting. But research on new technologies, absolutely.

I recently read about a new proposed technology, frozen air. This would store energy by using the renewable electricity that can’t be used to cool air to compress it, and then release it when needed. It’s being proposed in Vermont, and that’s as much as I can explain. I refer you to the Scientific American article I read, To Store Renewable Energy, Try Freezing Air:

A British company called Highview Power proposes a novel solution: a storage system that uses renewable electricity from solar or wind to freeze air into a liquid state where it can be kept in insulated storage tanks for hours or even weeks.

The frozen air is allowed to warm and turn itself back into a gas. It expands so quickly that its power can spin a turbine for an electric generator. The resulting electricity is fed into transmission lines when they are not congested.

“Vermont has transmission issues,” explained Salvatore Minopoli, vice president of Highview’s USA affiliate. “It’s a situation that many places in the U.S. are dealing with where renewable energy is being deployed more and more. It’s power that’s intermittent. They need something to balance their system out.”