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UK engineer is looking for investors or industrial partners for patented electrical energy storage system, which enhances thermal power plants.

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: TOUK20190205001
Publication Date: 5 February 2019


UK engineer offers an electrical energy storage system to  power plants employing steam condensing cycle. The system has been designed to increase electrical energy storage efficiency by using existing infrastructure at the power plants without interrupting the operation. The engineer is looking for partners in energy markets for financial, joint venture and technical cooperation agreements.


Concerns about the sustainability of fossil fuels for power generation and the intermittency problems of  renewables such as wind and solar, have increased the interest in electrical energy storage.  Wind and solar energy both require some form of backup generation for when electricity demand exceeds supply.  When supply exceeds demand, excess generating capacity, which cannot be stored, is either wastefully curtailed or sold at a very low price.  Pumped hydroelectric is currently the main method for storing electricity on a bulk scale, although it is expensive. It has long build times and has a shortage of potential sites.  Batteries, although highly flexible for short outages, are not economic for bulk storage.  

The engineer's proposed system offers an alternative approach which builds on the operationally proven technology of compressed air energy storage. It seeks to overcome the relatively low efficiency levels of conventional plant, while keeping its capital cost advantages. Moreover, this system fits to an existing steam cycle (e.g. coal/biomass, combined cycle gas, emission free thermal storage or hydrogen oxygen combusting plant), takes over the condensing function, and recovers the waste condensing energy as a heat source. This provides an enhanced peak time power output and the ability to price arbitrage electricity.

The novel aspect of the proposed system is the heat exchanger / condenser's air pipes. These accelerate the air in stages up to supersonic velocities, each acceleration depressurizing and cooling the air to enable more thermal energy to be absorbed from the steam. This staged approach is necessary to avoid freezing the pipe exterior. The general approach resembles the intake and exhaust sections of supersonic jets, whose internal flow is also controlled geometrically. Although the air velocities here are significantly less and the airflow conditions are much less variable. After absorbing energy, the air leaves the condenser and is decelerated, re-pressurised and heated, and part expanded in an air turbine. The air is then transferred to a lower pressure condenser and turbine, the process repeating until the air pressure depletes.

Potential partners of the system are power plants that use a steam condensing cycle across the US and Europe; private, government, municipal or industrial companies. The company offers its potential customers a more efficient and cost effective energy storage solution without interrupting the operation at the plant by using the existing the infrastructure.

The potential partner might be a power plant operator or an industrial player already operating in energy market. In these cases a technical cooperation agreement can be suitable or gathering resources together in a joint venture with the purpose of finalising the system is also possible. The engineer is also interested in partnership with investors who want to be involved in this system's development from the early stages via financial agreement.

Advantages and Innovations

Main advantages offered by the system:
- estimated efficiency significantly higher than conventional compressed air energy storage.
- the ratio of energy in to energy out for the air system is estimated at 84%.
- can be built rapidly and reuses existing thermal power plant infrastructure and does not prevent the thermal plant from operating conventionally, if the air supply is depleted.
- has reduced maintenance requirements as the expander turbines are not exposed to hot combustion products.
-the steam turbine arrangement is particularly amenable to compression heat recovery.

Stage Of Development

Proposal under development

Stage Of Development Comment

The system is largely based on existing compressed air energy storage technology. The only novel component needed is the air driven condenser pipe work. Initially this would require a short Computational Fluid Dynamics(CFD) study to refine the pipe design specifications, followed by physical testing of the aerodynamic and thermal aspects. Inventor is discussing CFD with the experts from the area.

Requested partner

Engineer is looking for financial, joint venture or technical cooperation agreement. 

Ideal partners would be companies already operating in the energy market or power plant operators, who are interested in this system's development through a joint venture or technical cooperation agreement.
Engineer is also interested in partnership with investors via financial agreement.

Dissemination Countries

Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA

Cooperation offer is closed for requests