The Anonymous Widower

Highview Chief Rupert Pearce On The Cold Batteries That Could Save The Planet

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Sunday Times.

It is an article very much worth a read, as it talks about former Inmarsat boss; Rupert Pearce and his new position as boss at Highview Power.

I have followed Highview Power for a few years.

I first wrote about the company in British Start-Up Beats World To Holy Grail Of Cheap Energy Storage For Wind And Solar, after reading about the company in the Daily Telegraph in August 2019.

They seem to have had good press in the last three years and have generated a steady stream of orders from Spain, Chile and Scotland.

But progress seems to have been slow to get the first full-size system at Carrington completed.

It does seem , that Rupert Pearce could be the professional boss they need?

Highview Power ‘s CRYOBatteries certainly have potential.

Highview Power CRYOBatteries Compared To Lithium-Ion Batteries

Highview Power ‘s CRYOBatteries do not use any exotic metals or materials, that are not readily available, whereas lithium-ion batteries use lots of rare metals and electricity in their manufacture.

CRYOBatteries can also be expanded in capacity by just adding more liquid-air tanks.

Highview Power CRYOBatteries Typically Cost £500 Million

This figure is disclosed in the Sunday Times article.

For that you probably get a power station, with these characteristics.

  • 50 MW Output.
  • Five to eight hour storage.
  • No emissions.
  • Well-understood maintenance.
  • An environmentally-friendly plant.
  • Long battery life.

But my experience tells me, that like large lithium-ion batteries used for grid storage, that CRYOBatteries could be an asset that will appeal to large financial companies.

  • At present, Highview Power have not run a 50 MW CRYOBattery, but once they show high reliability, I can envisage the energy storage funds taking a good look.
  • At £500 million a throw, they are a good size with probably a decent return for insurance companies and pension funds.

See World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant for Aviva’s view on investing in massive green infrastructure.

I very much feel, that with his City connections and experience, that Rupert Pearce might be the right person to arrange financing for CRYOBatteries.

I will add a story from the financing of Artemis, which was the project management system, that I wrote in the 1970s.

Normally we leased or rented the systems, but some companies wanted to buy them outright, so we came up with a price of something like £125,000. Our bank were happy to fund these systems, when the purchaser was someone like BP, Shell, Bechtel, Brown & Root or British Aerospace. Later on, the bank would package together several systems and get us a better deal.

Intriguingly, £125,000 in the late 1970s is about half a billion now. I suspect, I’m being naive to suggest that Highview’s problem of funding multiple sales is similar to the one we had fifty years ago.

Highview Power CRYOBatteries And Wind And Solar Farms

I discussed the use of CRYOBatteries with solar power in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery.

As the Highview Power press release, on which I based the article has now been deleted, I would assume that that project has fallen through. But the principles still apply!

But surely, a wind farm paired with an appropriately-sized CRYOBattery would ensure a steady supply of power?

Could CRYOBatteries Be Used With Floating Offshore Wind Farms?

In ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm, I described an unusual wind farm proposed by Magnora ASA.

  • This page on their web site outlines their project.
  • It will be technology agnostic, with 15MW turbines and a total capacity of 500MW
  • It will use floating offshore wind with a concrete floater
  • It is estimated, that it will have a capacity factor of 56 %.
  • The water depth will be an astonishing 106-125m
  • The construction and operation will use local facilities at Stornoway and Kishorn Ports.
  • The floater will have local and Scottish content.

The floater will be key to the whole wind farm.

  • It will certainly have an offshore substation to connect the wind turbines to the cable to the shore.
  • Magnora may be proposing to add a hydrogen electrolyser.
  • Tanks within the concrete floater can be used to store gases.

I wonder if CRYOBatteries could be installed on the concrete floaters, that would be used to smooth the electrical output of the wind farm?

Note that in the past, concrete semi-submersible concrete structures have been used to host all kinds of gas and oil processing equipment.

Conclusion

I feel that Highview Power have made a good choice of Chief Executive and I have high hopes he can awaken a company with masses of potential.

 

 

April 24, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Whats the round trip efficiency of a Highview technology?

    The Scotwind development is still nearly a decade off generating. With govt saying they want 50GW by 2030 not the 40GW which was already ambitious and push from 30GW they really need to get things moving a lot faster as half the globe is now chasing the same goal so the supply chain won’t be able to deliver.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | April 24, 2022 | Reply

  2. I’ve never seen Highview’s efficiency published, but it must be reasonably competitive. If you watch the video on The Times, it does show both heat and cold are conserved.

    I am fairly certain, that floating wind farms can be built faster in a convenient port and then just towed into position. I also think, that most of the floating turbines will be 20 MW giants.

    Comment by AnonW | April 24, 2022 | Reply


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