Innovatium: Liquid Air Battery innovation that delivers Compressor Integrated Energy Storage

At a glance:
Who: Innovatium:
What: Liquid Air Battery
Where: Pre-market phase
When: Based on five years of R&D
Why: To unlock new processes for decarbonisation and energy saving

The challenge 

Industry faces a wealth of challenges to decarbonise and to become more energy efficient and compressed air usage can represent as much as 30% of a site’s electricity bill. With the need to decarbonise and save on energy costs apparent, a solution that can tackle both head on is required. 

The solution 

To reach net-zero, industry needs cost-effective and efficient means of storing energy and optimising compressors at point of industrial use or “behind the meter”. Innovatium’s PRISMA technology can improve the efficiency of air systems to deliver big energy savings. 

How it works 

PRISMA is the result of five years of R&D and represents a step-change in the way industry can consume and store energy. 

Currently, lithium-ion batteries represent one of the only viable options for energy storage. However, although their costs have fallen, they remain uneconomic for many companies and suffer from performance, lifespan and disposal issues that are detracting many businesses. 

Innovatium’s PRISMA solution combines liquid air energy storage (LAES) and compressed air provision and has no restriction on the number of cycles it can perform daily and over its lifespan of 25-40 years. 

PRISMA, a game-changing Liquid Air Battery that delivers CIES, that combines compressed air production with energy storage. The PRISMA system is made up of three standalone vessels and a charge air enclosure which can be integrated seamlessly into existing industrial compressed air systems without disrupting manufacturing. The patented PRISMA system uses advanced liquid and thermal storage technologies that store cold energy then return it for later use. 

The central innovation is the use of a unique Phase Change Material (PCM) for cryogenic applications, extracting the latent heat of the gaseous air and liquefying it. 

It charges-up using cheaper off-peak electricity creating a store of cold liquid air that can then be discharged to provide hours’ worth of compressed air. This means ‘energy hungry’ air compressors can be turned off, at peak tariff times. 

Testing shows that PRISMA’s PCM can hold 70 times more energy per kg than standard thermal stores, meaning the energy can be stored, recycled and used when necessary, helping to improve energy resilience and decarbonisation. 

Innovatium believes that there is a substantial opportunity for the deployment of PRISMA globally and across all industry. One ideal aspect of the technology is that it can be co-located with onsite renewable solutions, so that green energy can be stored and used, helping to overcome the intermittent challenge of renewables. 

PRISMA also offers an additional commercial benefit in that its grid services can be sold to suppliers and reduces the payback. 

The results 

PRISMA was used in a government-backed demonstration project at Aggregate Industries Cement Works, but is still considered to be in a “pre-market” phase. 

Early results and testing show that PRISMA can improve the efficiency of existing compressed air systems by up to 30% by enabling part-loaded energy intensive air compressors to be turned off. 

The organisation 

Innovatium is a clean-technology company based in East Kilbride, Scotland. The company is currently developing a power output module in conjunction with City University, London supported by the Net Zero Technology Centre in Aberdeen. 

The next phase in the PRISMA ‘scale-up’ is for Innovatium to partner with a handful of organisations wanting to access low-carbon innovation in order to reduce their energy consumption and energy resilience strategies as part of the net-zero transition 

The judges said: 

“The entry clearly demonstrates an innovative idea which is near market ready and has huge opportunity to drive change on a big yet often overlooked challenge – decarbonising compressed air. We were impressed that the technology can be integrated seamlessly into existing industrial compressed air systems, making application easy.   

“The application of liquid air energy storage as an alternative to lithium-ion battery storage is genuinely innovative and has the potential to overcome many environmental challenges associated with the net-zero transition.”  

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