Sumitomo backs Highview with £36m global partnership

British "liquid air" energy storage start-up Highview Power has announced a partnership with major Japanese conglomerate, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, that will accelerate the global roll-out of its cryogenic storage facilities.

Sumitomo backs Highview with £36m global partnership

The move, which includes a £36m investment from Sumitomo Heavy Industries, signals the entry of the industrial machinery and environmental and power technologies specialist into the clean energy market.

A subsidiary company, Sumitomo SHI FW, will become a technology centre and hub for Highview’s patented “CRYOBattery” business, allowing the technology to expand into Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Highview’s proprietary technology uses “liquid air” as a long-duration storage medium for electricity, and can deliver anywhere from 20 MW/100 MWh to more than 200 MW/2 GWh of energy.

Highview Power’s long-duration energy storage technology not only solves the problems that enable dispatchable renewables but will be a catalyst in bringing the energy transition forward

 

Tomas Harju-Jeanty, chief executive at Sumitomo SHI FW

The system uses surplus electricity to compress air and lower its temperature to minus 196 degrees Celsius, a branch of low temperature physics known as cryogenics.

The air condenses into a liquid, which is then stored in low-pressure insulated containers.

To recover electricity, the air is removed from the containers and reheated, causing it to evaporate back into a gas and rapidly expand. The expanding air is used to drive a turbine and generate power.

According to Highview, the technology offers high-capacity, long-term storage with a similar profile to pumped-hydro capabilities without the geographical constraints, while and the facilities have a lifespan over 30 years.

In October, Highview announced that, after running two trial scale projects, it had identified a site to build its first 50MW/250MWh commercial scale project at a decommissioned thermal power station in the north of England.

Shaun Dean, vice president at Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Tomas Harju-Jeanty, chief executive at Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) will join the board of Highview Power, bringing engineering, manufacturing, and global energy market expertise to its leadership team.

Harju-Jeanty said: “One of the biggest barriers to a carbon-free future has been the ability of renewables to perform as reliably as, and as cost-effectively as traditional fuel sources. Highview Power’s long-duration energy storage technology not only solves the problems that enable dispatchable renewables but will be a catalyst in bringing the energy transition forward.

“Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) has been able to operate for over a hundred years because of our dedication to innovation and ability to adapt to changing markets, and with this partnership, we believe that SHI/SFW is well-positioned to drive our leadership position in energy markets of the future.”

Javier Cavada, president and chief executive of Highview Power, said, “Highview is proud to have a partner like Sumitomo Heavy Industries next to us as we further our global expansion. By partnering with a large technology company with the reputation of SHI, we will be able to benefit from their vast know-how, resources, and operating experience in diversified markets.”


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