(Palo Alto, California)–April 6, 2022 The current crisis in Ukraine exposes economic and logistical vulnerabilities in the global transition to clean energy and the pressing need for reliable pathways to European energy independence. A new invention provides both security and sustainability with energy storage at unprecedented scale and duration at a fraction of the cost of batteries or pumped hydro systems to enable renewable energy to displace fossil fuels needed for grid reliability.
European Patent Number 3566013 for a CRYOGENIC COMBINED CYCLE POWER PLANT has been granted effective April 6 to Dr. William M. Conlon, the founder and president of Pintail Power LLC. This new process uses proven cryogenic refrigeration systems to safely and compactly store tens to hundreds of Gigawatt-hours of energy and adapts proven gas turbine technology and industrial equipment to deliver electricity at Gigawatt scale for a week or more. Engineering studies conducted by Wood Plc project this LACC system to cost about one-tenth of a hydroelectric pumped storage system with comparable capacity, using less than one-tenth of a percent of the surface area and without the geological, topological and hydrological constraints.
The process uses renewable electricity to liquefy air for storage at atmospheric pressure in tanks similar in size and design to those used to safely store liquefied natural gas. The stored renewable energy is discharged using a gas turbine’s exhaust heat to heat the liquid air in a turbomachinery cascade that includes both an air turbine and an organic Rankine Cycle to maximize efficiency and reduce cost. This energy can be stored for many months with minimal losses to assure energy supply while reducing the use of natural gas for reliability.
The breakthrough is the result of hybrid synergy achieved by combining thermal energy storage with thermal power generation to reduce the cost and size of energy storage, improve overall system efficiency, and dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions. According to Dr. Conlon, “this hybrid approach delivers a triple bottom line – energy security, economic savings, and lower emissions, and enables more economical transition to hydrogen and renewable fuels to complete the decarbonization journey.”
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 cost and performance.
The technology can be added to existing gas turbine power plants of any size, to enable them to store renewable energy and Pintail Power hybrid process technologies offer low-cost, long duration energy storage to reduce renewable curtailment, cut GHG emissions, and improve the flexibility and reliability of the electric grid. Pintail Power provides 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.
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