Scottish low-carbon technology company Innovatium has celebrated its liquid air energy storage (LAES) energy efficiency technology demonstrator going live at Aggregate Industries’ Cauldon Cement Works.
The company’s Peak Reduction by Integrated Storage and Management of Air (PRISMA) technology has been developed in partnership with Birmingham University, and is designed to be an alternative to traditional compressed air technologies.
It has benefitted from funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) programme, which is managed by the Carbon Trust.
Innovatium’s PRISMA technology stores energy as liquid, to provide compressed air. This allows inefficient, partially loaded, variable-demand compressors to be turned off, ultimately improving the system's efficiency by up to 25%, the company said.
The installation at Aggregate’s cement works in Staffordshire is the first fully operational deployment in a live customer environment of the technology.
Simon Branch, co-founder and CEO of Innovatium said: “We are delighted to reach this major milestone which will underpin the next phase of our growth strategy. The project at Cauldon will give us valuable data on the performance of the system itself – but also ‘real-life’ evidence of the cost and carbon efficiencies that we believe are achievable.”
The PRISMA system at Cauldon is utilising a latent energy cold storage tank, which has been filled with a phase change material (PCM) to store thermal energy. This is working together with a number of additional components, within Aggregate Industries’ existing compressed air network.
According to Innovatium, this is the first time the integration of such equipment in an industrial setting has been used for the provision of compressed air storage.
To mark the demonstrator going live, representatives from BEIS and the Carbon Trust visited the site for an evaluation visit.
“Having overcome the challenges of building the PRISMA demonstration unit through the pandemic, we are excited that Innovatium has now commissioned the technology at this major, energy-intensive industrial site, and we are looking forward to seeing the results,” said Paul McKinney, head of IEEA Programme Delivery at the Carbon Trust.
“This is a great example of applying an innovative technology solution to the longstanding problem of how to improve the efficiency of compressed air generation in industry, which could have significant savings potential across many sectors.”
In addition to the support from BEIS, Innovatium raised £900,000 in investment funding, with Kelvin Capital and Scottish Enterprise leading the round.
BEIS kicked off the IEEA programme back in 2017 in an effort to support the commercial development of technologies capable of boosting energy efficiency within UK industry.