Liquid air energy storage (LAES) with packed bed cold thermal storage – From component to system level performance through dynamic modelling

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Energy storage is more important today than ever. It has a key role in storing intermittent electricity from renewable sources – wind, solar and waves – enabling the decarbonisation of the electricity sector. Liquid air energy storage (LAES) is a novel technology for grid scale energy storage in the form of liquid air with the potential to overcome the drawbacks of pumped-hydro and compressed air storage. In this paper we address the performance of next generation LAES standalone plants. Starting our experience with LAES pilot plant at Birmingham (UK), we developed for the first time a validated model to address the dynamic performance of LAES. The model allows us to understand the relationship between component and system level performance through dynamic modelling. We found that the temporary storage of cold thermal energy streams using packed beds improves efficiency of LAES by ∼50%. However, due to dynamic cycling charge/discharge, packed beds can bring an undesired 25% increase in the energy expenditure needed to liquefy air. In summary, this work points outs that (a) dynamics of LAES should not be neglected; (b) novel design for cold thermal storage are needed and (c) linking component and system level performance is crucial for energy storage.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-98
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date1 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017


  • Electrical storage, Thermal energy storage, Sensible storage, Packed bed, Renewable energy, Cryogenic engineering

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