Pintail Power

New patent for cryogenic energy storage enables energy storage at a grand scale

(Palo Alto, California)–July 6, 2021  Adding to an already robust patent portfolio, a new invention enables liquefied air energy storage to deliver vastly more electricity during discharge, enabling improved utilization of renewables at unprecedented scale of tens to hundreds of Gigawatt-hours.  U.S. Patent No. 11,053,818 entitled CRYOGENIC COMBINED CYCLE POWER PLANT was granted today to Dr. William M. Conlon, the founder and president of Pintail Power LLC. 

To tackle the challenges of climate change and achieve aggressive carbon reduction targets within the next 10-15 years, energy service providers will require new large-scale, long-duration, and flexible storage that is ready to deploy while maintaining reliability, even during extreme weather events. This novel hybrid strategy immediately cuts carbon emissions of conventional generation in half, allows more renewable resources to operate at full capacity, and accelerates the transition to 100% renewables by making green hydrogen a cost-effective fuel source.

For more than a century liquid air has been the source of gases used by heavy and high tech industries and medicine.  Cryogenic refrigeration is energy intense, and the resulting energy dense liquid is safely storable at atmospheric pressure within large insulated tanks, making it an attractive energy storage medium.  The new invention enables three to six times more electricity to be extracted than alternative processes, further increasing storage density and reducing the capital and operating cost of large-scale storage.

The patented power plant combines three stages of power generation:  a gas turbine ‘topping cycle, ’ an intermediate cycle that extracts energy from re-gasified liquid air, and an elegant bottoming cycle that enhances efficiency and produces power while re-gasifying the air.  Per unit of electricity, the new cycle consumes far less fuel than alternatives so expensive Hydrogen fuel becomes an economically attractive means to provide reliable backup for renewable power.

According to Dr. Conlon, “This breakthrough can store close to a hundred Gigawatt-hours in a single tank, enabling cities to place the equivalent of  the world’s largest Pumped Hydro Storage on a small parcel of land.”

The invention will be commercialized as the Liquid Air Combined Cycle™ (LACC) by Pintail Power LLC, which bridges renewable and conventional generation by coupling thermal energy storage to proven generating equipment.  Pintail Power is currently working with Southwest Research Institute on a U.S. Department of Energy project to optimize the cycle.

The Pintail Power approach offers low-cost, long duration storage to reduce renewable curtailment, cut GHG emissions, and improve the flexibility and reliability of the electric grid.  Pintail Power provides long-duration energy storage technology, systems and services to utilities, independent power producers and developers to accelerate the transition to low-carbon electricity.  In addition to LACC technology, Pintail Power also provides Liquid Salt Combined Cycle (LSCC) technology that uses proven molten salt storage technology to provide intra-day and inter-day storage of a few Gigawatt-hours of energy.

Judith Schwartz
To the Point
(650) 906-9927