The Anonymous Widower

Meet The British Inventor Who Came Up With A Green Way Of Generating Electricity From Air – In His Shed

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on inews, which is written by the respected BBC journalist; Tom Heap.

This is the first  two paragraphs.

In 25 years of reporting on the environment, I’ve become unshakably convinced in the seriousness and urgency of tackling climate change, but also rather dismayed that our successes in reducing greenhouse gases and promising scientific breakthroughs go largely unreported.

I’ve seen super plants that improve photo-synthesis, cows that belch less methane and next-gen solar panels. But there is one individual who deserves to be as famous in green-tech as Elon Musk for how his invention could help stop global warming.

The man is Peter Dearman from Bishops Stortford and his invention is the technology behind Highview Power, that is building a 250 MWh liquid air battery at Carrington, near Manchester.


January 12, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | 1 Comment

Highview Power Breaks Ground on 250MWh CRYOBattery Long Duration Energy Storage Facility

The title of this post, is the same as that of this News page on the Highview web site.

The page shows this picture of diggers doing, what they do.

Note the two towers in the background of the image on the right. They look like the towers of Carrington power station, which are shown on this page on the FK Group web site, who built the 884 MW CCGT power station.

This Google Map shows the site of the power station.

On a larger scale map, you can pick out the towers from their shadows and it looks to me, that Highview’s 250MWh CRYOBattery is being built on the vacant site to the South of the power station.


  • The vacant site looks large.
  • I’ve read somewhere that Highview’s CRYOBatteries are expandable by adding more tanks.
  • They certainly have space to add lots of extra tanks and a 884 MW power station on the doorstep to fill them.
  • All the heavy equipment and components to build Carrington power station were brought in by barge using the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. Will this method be used again?

This seems to be a site that would be ideal for a very large battery.


November 8, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 1 Comment

UK Energy Plant To Use Liquid Air

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

This article about the technique is different, as it details some of the human back-story in these three paragraphs.

The system was devised by Peter Dearman, a self-taught backyard inventor from Hertfordshire, and it has been taken to commercial scale with a £10m grant from the UK government.

“It’s very exciting,” he told BBC News. “We need many different forms of energy storage – and I’m confident liquid air will be one of them.”

Mr Dearman said his invention was 60-70% efficient, depending how it is used.

Mr. Dearman is now a passive shareholder in Highview Power, who are building the plant.


November 6, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

The Most Important News Of The Day

It has nothing to do with that soon-to-be-ex President across the Pond, except that he would brand it a waste of money and a fantasy.

If he did call it a fantasy, he’d at least know something about fantasy.

This article on Recharge is entitled Work Starts To Build World’s First Commercial Liquid-Air Energy Storage Plant.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Work has started to build the world’s first commercial liquid-air energy storage facility near Manchester, northern England, along with a visitor centre that aims to turn the pioneering project into a tourist attraction.

A joint venture between UK-based Highview Power and independent solar/natural-gas plant developer Carlton Power will build and operate the 50MW/250MWh “CRYObattery” — which may later be expanded to add more storage — in the village of Carrington, close to Manchester United’s training ground.

The visitor centre will open in the first quarter of 2021, with the plant planned to start operation in 2023.

  • That seems to me to be an ambitious time-scale.
  • On the other hand, the plant appears to be composed of well-proven readily-available components, so it will not be too challenging.

Whether Trummkopf likes it or not, construction of the second plant in the Democratic-voting state of Vermont, will surely be starting in the near future.

  • He would like the fact that at 50MW400 MWh, the American battery is larger.
  • He wouldn’t like the fact, that it is replacing a coal-fired power station.
  • It will give eight hours of full-power as opposed to Manchester’s five.
  • As both plants are rated at 50 MW, I suspect the two plants are identical on the energy generation side.
  • Vermont would just have more tanks to store the liquid air.

It is my view, that these two, will be the first of many.

November 6, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Will BALDIES Save The World?

I just had to use this new acronym, I’ve just found on the Internet.

BALDIES are Build-Anywhere-Long-Duration-Intermittent-Energy-Storage.

June 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | 2 Comments

Dr. Gerhard Cromme Joins Highview Power’s Board of Directors

The title of this post, is part of the title of this press release from Highview Power.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Highview Power, the global leader in long-duration energy storage solutions, is pleased to announce that Dr. Gerhard Cromme, former Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp AG, will join its Board of Directors.

I think this could be a game-changing appointment.

May 13, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

Hydrostor Announces Australia’s First CompressedAir Energy Storage Project Secures Funding From Arena And South Australia Renewable Technology Fund

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Australian Energy Storage Alliance.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Hydrostor Inc., a leader in Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES), is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Hydrostor Australia Pty Ltd, has been awarded a combined total of $9 million of grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Government of South Australia Renewable Technology Fund for Australia’s first A-CAES project, to be sited at a mine outside of Adelaide—the Angas Zinc Mine near Strathalbyn, currently in care and maintenance.

I’ll answer a few questions.

Who Are Hydrostor?

They appear to be a Canadian company based in Toronto according to their web site, which has this prominent statement.

Hydrostor is the world’s leading developer of Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES)
projects, enabling the transition to a cleaner, more affordable and more flexible electricity grid.

There is also a video on the home page.

What Technology Do They Use?

This description is from the AESA article.

The technology works by using electricity from the grid to run a compressor, producing heated compressed air. Heat is extracted from the air stream and stored inside a proprietary thermal store preserving the energy for use later in the cycle. Compressed air is then stored in a purpose-built underground cavern, which is kept at a constant pressure using hydrostatic head from a water column. During charging, compressed air displaces water out of the cavern up a water column to a surface reservoir, and during discharge water flows back into the cavern forcing air to the surface under pressure where it is re-heated using the stored heat and then expanded through a turbine to generate electricity on demand.

An animation describing Hydrostor’s A-CAES system is available on YouTube.

I found the video worth watching, as it answered most of my questions.

Where Could Systems Be Installed?

This paragraph from the AESA article talks about the location of the energy store in South Australia.

By selecting the Terramin Angas Zinc Mine, the project will repurpose existing underground mining infrastructure as the A-CAES system’s sub-surface air storage cavern, benefiting both the electricity grid in South Australia and the local community by converting an unused brownfield site into a clean energy project that drives economic development. Hydrostor acknowledges Terramin Australia Limited’s support in developing the project and the technology’s beneficial application to South Australia.

I can think of a couple of mines in the UK, where such a system can be installed.


Hydrostor’s technology is standard process engineering, with all components and construction techniques well-proven in many decades of use.

I shall be watching Hydrostor with interest.


May 13, 2020 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Cheesecake Energy Receives Investment From The University Of Nottingham

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Cheesecake Energy Limited (CEL) today announced it has received investment from the University of Nottingham to support UK-wide pilot programmes for the company’s energy storage solution.

Thse two paragraphs are a brief description of the company, their technology and what they do.

Cheesecake Energy Limited is a fast-growing startup developing energy storage at 30-40% lower cost than the current market leader, lithium ion batteries. Its system uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environmental impact. 

Founded in 2016, the company has already established itself within the Nottingham, and wider East Midlands energy ecosystem — having secured initial interest from local councils and bus services for pilot programmes. The company is currently designing a 150 kW / 750 kWh prototype system for completion in Q4 2020 which will be deployed with a local bus depot for charging of electric buses using renewable energy.

This is the home page of their web site, which proudly announces.

The Greenest Battery In The World

We’ll see and hear that slogan many times in the next few years.

A few of my thoughts on the company.

Cheesecake Energy’s Technology

Cheesecake Energy says it uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environment impact.

Three other companies also use or may use compressed air to store energy.

As Cheesecake appear to be using a thermal energy storage, have they found a unique way to create another type of compressed air storage?

Battery Sizes

How do the sizes of the three companies batteries compare?

  • Cheesecake Energy prototype – 150 kW – 750 kWh – five hours
  • Form Energy for Great River Energy – 1MW – 150 MWh – 150 hours
  • Highview Power for Vermont – 50MW – 400 MWh – 8 hours
  • Hydrostor for South Australia – 50+MW – 4-24+ hours

The Cheesecake Energy prototype is the smallest battery, but Highview Power built a 750 KWh prototype before scaling up.


  1. The first figure is the maximum power output of the battery.
  2. The second figure is the capacity of the battery.
  3. The third figure is the maximum delivery time on full power.
  4. The capacity for Hydrostor wasn’t given.

The figures are nicely spread out, which leas me to think, that depending on your power needs, a compressed air battery can be built to satisfy them.

Charging Electric Buses

Buses like this Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV electric bus are increasingly seen in the UK.

And they all need to be charged!

Cheesecake Energy say that their prototype will be deployed with a local bus depot for charging of electric buses using renewable energy.

  • An electric bus depot should be a good test and demonstration of the capabilities of their battery and its technology.
  • Note that according to this data sheet of an Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV, which is a typical single-decker electric bus, the bus is charged by BYD dual plug 2×40kW AC charging, which gives the bus a range of up to 160 miles.
  • With a 150 kW output could Cheesecake’s prototype charge two buses at the same time and several buses during a working day?
  • Would DC charging as used by Vivarail’s charging system for trains be an alternative?

To me, it looks like Cheesecake are showing good marketing skills.

I do wonder if this size of charger could make the finances of electric buses more favourable.

Suppose, a bus company had a fleet of up to a dozen diesel single-decker buses running services around a city or large town.

  • How much would they spend on electricity, if they replaced these buses with electric ones?
  • Would being able to use cheaper overnight energy to charge buses in the day, be more affordable?
  • Would electric buses run from renewable electricity attract passengers to the services?

These arguments for electric buses would also apply for a company running fleets of vans and small trucks.

To me, it looks like Cheesecake are showing good engineering/marketing skills, by designing a product that fits several markets.



May 11, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

150 Hours Of Storage? Company Says That’s True To Form

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Power Magazine.

It is very much a must-read about the emerging technology of high-capacity and long term energy storage, with particular reference to Highview Power and Form Energy.

The article fills out a lot of what I wrote in Will The Real Form Energy Please Stand Up!

I also feel that there’s also an old kid on the block, when it comes to long term energy storage and that is new methods of deploying pumped storage, that I wrote about in The New Generation Of Pumped Storage Systems.

May 10, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will The Real Form Energy Please Stand Up!


Form Energy appears to be a start-up, that claims it has the solution to low-cost long-term energy storage.

The home page of their web site is little more than this headline.

We are developing long duration energy storage systems to enable a fully renewable, affordable and reliable electric system.

And a few links to press releases and a link marked See How.

I clicked it and got this page, with this mission statement.

We are going about this by developing a new kind of battery that would eliminate the need for coal and gas entirely, and allow for a 100% renewable, carbon free grid.

They say this about the technology.

Form Energy has identified and is developing a novel approach that is low-cost, safe, and scalable. This battery would allow for a 100% renewable, carbon free grid.

And this about the software.

Form Energy offers a software solution to the industry that models the efficiency and cost-saving benefits of using Form’s long duration storage and identifies value to the entire electricity ecosystem.

Now that I can understand.

When I was writing software, I wrote any number of models in project management, finance and engineering systems and I don’t doubt, that they have developed a sophisticated software system, that can model a large electricity network.

It would allow the following.

  • Predictions to be made for the future, based on historic data and schedules for new plant coming on stream.
  • It would have a graphical interface, so that changes to the power network could be performed quickly and easily.
  • It would predict the size and capacities of Form Energy’s batteries, that would be needed.
  • It could be used to model ways out of a serious breakdown in part of the grid.

I suspect that National Grid in the UK, EDF in France and other national equivalents, have been running such software systems for many years.

A Deal With Great River Energy

Does this press release on their web site, which is entitled Form Energy Announces Pilot with Great River Energy to Enable the Utility’s Transition to an Affordable, Reliable and Renewable Electricity Grid, give any more details about Form Energy’s technology?

This paragraph lays out the basics of the deal with Great River Energy.

Form Energy, a company developing ultra-low-cost, long-duration energy storage for the grid, today announced it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota’s second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the U.S.

The next paragraph gives a few details of the battery.

This system will be the first commercial deployment of Form Energy’s proprietary long-duration energy storage system. Form Energy’s aqueous air battery system leverages some of the safest, cheapest, most abundant materials on the planet and offers a clear path to transformationally low-cost, long-duration energy storage. The project with Great River Energy will be a 1-MW, grid-connected storage system capable of delivering its rated power continuously for 150 hours, far longer than the two to four hour usage period common among lithium-ion batteries being deployed at utility-scale today. This duration allows for a fundamentally new reliability function to be provided to the grid from storage, one historically only available from thermal generation resources.

A battery capable of storing 150 MWh and capable of delivering 1 MW for 150 hours is certainly impressive.

More About The Deal

This article on Green Tech Media is entitled Long Duration Breakthrough? Form Energy’s First Project Tries Pushing Storage To 150 Hours.

A few points from the article.

  • Bill Gates, Macquarie Capital and Eni are backers of Form Energy.
  • The aim is to have the plant online in 2023.
  • Great River Energy depends heavily on Coal Creek power station, which is a 1151 MW lignite-fired power station, which is to be shut down in the second half of 2022.
  • Form expect their battery to be competitive with lithium-ion on a per KW basis.
  • A battery takes up about an acre.
  • Batteries have a twenty-year life.

The article also says that Form is not sharing many details of its technology.

Can Great River Energy Replace The Power From Coal Creek With Wind Turbines And A 150 MWh Battery?

Consider these points from the Green Tech Media article and Wikipedia.

  • Coal Creek power station provides half of Great River Energy’s needs.
  • Coal Creek power station is rated at 1151 MW,
  • Coal Creek power station will shut in 2022.
  • Great River Energy intends to add 1,100 MW of wind turbines.
  • North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota seem to be states where it is worth reaping the wind.

So can all this power and the disruption of shutting Coal Creek power station be balanced by one relatively small 180 MWh battery?

I have modelled systems as complex as this in finance, project management and process engineering and if Form Energy have done their modelling to a very detailed level and they say that a 1MW/180 MWh system will be big enough, then I’ll go along with that!

In my long experience of mathematical modelling of complex systems, the answer at the end, is often not what many expect.

So the answer must be extensively tested.

What Technology Are Form Using?

The press release about the deal with Great River Energy mentions an aqueous air battery system!

Water and air are not exotic materials and are readily available in most parts of the world. I would suspect that the only way to store large amounts of energy in air is to liquify it, as Highview Power is doing in their CRYOBattery. But where does the water come in?

Could both companies be following different routes using similar properties of two of the greenest and most abundant substances on the planet?

I also know from a very beneficial personal financial experience, that aqueous-air mixes have unusual properties.

Highview Power liquify air and then use a turbine to recover the energy.

Are Form also using liquified air and then using a different method based on the unusual properties of aqueous-air mixes to recover the energy?

I can’t wait for the secret of their technology to emerge!

A Comparison Of Form Energy And Highview Power

The Wikipedia entry for Highview Power, says this about their capabilities and what they are proposing to deliver.

It has permission for a commercial-scale 50 Megawatt/250 Megawatt-hour plant in England, building upon its earlier 5 Megawatt and 350 Kilowatt pilot plants. It plans to develop a 50MW plant/400MWh (eight hours of storage) in Vermont

Is 5 MW for eight hours more impressive than 1 MW for one hundred and fifty hours?

  • Highview Power’s proposed Vermont battery is not far short of three times the size of Form’s Great River battery.
  • Highview Power’s battery can supply five times the maximum current, than Form’s.
  • Liquid air storage is very scalable, as you just add more tanks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see systems storing around a GWh of electricity.
  • Could Highview’s battery supply 2 MW for two hundred hours? I suspect it could!

If it was a relay race, I would think that Highview Power are ahead after the first leg.

The following legs will be interesting.

  • Both companies have backers with enormous pockets.
  • Form have disclosed they have sophisticated modelling software.
  • Form seem to have a firm order.
  • Highview Power are in a country, that in the next couple of years will bring vast amounts of wind power on-line.
  • Great River will have a power shortage, when Coal Creek lignite-fired power station is closed.

But above all the world needs terra-watt hours of affordable, zero-carbon energy storage.


May 9, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | 2 Comments