Highview Power to build 300 MWh liquid air storage plant in UK

Construction to begin imminently at commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant in the United Kingdom. Major investors include Centrica, which joins as a strategic partner. 
Highview Power scheme of the liquid air energy storage project
A scheme of the project planned for the Atacama region in Chile. | Image: Highview Power

Highview Power is ready to start building a 300 MWh liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant in the United Kingdom after securing GBP 300 million ($383 million) from a syndicate of investors. 

The British LAES company raised the capital in a funding round led by the state-owned UK Infrastructure Bank and energy multinational Centrica. Other investors include Rio Tinto, Goldman Sachs, Kirkbi and Mosaic Capital.  

Construction at the site in Carrington, Manchester, will begin immediately, according to Highview Power. The commercial-scale LAES is expected to have an output power of 50 MW per hour for six hours. Highview Power said the facility will be operational in early 2026. 

Excess energy is used to produce liquid air

LAES works by using excess energy to power an industrial liquefier that produces liquid air, which can then be stored in an insulated tank. When there is demand, stored air is pumped at high pressure, reheated and expanded, resulting in high pressure gaseous air which can be directed through a turbine to produce electricity.

Highview’s LAES also includes a hot thermal store and proprietary cold store which capture and store cold and hot air for use in the liquification and deployment processes. In addition to providing capacity at times of high demand, Highview Power’s technology has potential to provide stability services to the National Grid   

Breaking ground at Carrington follows more than a decade of LAES development from Highview Power. The company’s first grid-connected 2.5 MWh pilot plant in Slough, near London, operated between 2011 and 2014.  

Richard Butland, co-founder and CEO of Highview Power, said the company’s first commercial-scale plant at Carrington, “will be the foundation for our full-scale rollout in the UK and expansion with partners to share this British technology internationally.” 

Highview Power’s ambitions include the construction of four 2.5 GWh facilities in the United Kingdom. Each gigawatt-scale LAES will be located at strategic sites across the country, Highview said, in line with the electricity system operator’s (ESO) Future Energy Scenario Plans.

National Grid ESO’s target scenario forecasts 2 GW of storage capacity will be required from LAES by 2035, representing nearly 20% of the country’s long-duration energy storage needs.  

Centrica is expected to play a role in Highview Power’s future development, as its investment in the latest funding round gives the multinational rights to equity participation and energy optimization from future projects in Highview’s GBP 9 billion ($11.5 billion) pipeline.  

Through partnerships like this we can manage the challenges net zero might present.
Chris O’Shea
Group chief executive at Centrica

Centrica provided GBP 70 million of the total investment package, structured as GBP 25 million of convertible debt for Highview Power’s holding company and GBP 45 million of debt funding for the Carrington Liquid Air Energy Storage project, to be phased over the project construction.

Chris O’Shea, group chief executive at Centrica, said the company is not only supporting the Carrington project through investment, but will also share its expertise. 

The investment forms part of Centrica’s wider plans to invest between GBP 600 million and GBP 800 in various businesses and projects through its “Green Focused Investment Strategy,” which is set to run until at least 2028.  

“Through partnerships like this we can manage the challenges net zero might present while providing cleaner, greener power to customers,” said O’Shea. 

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