Highview Enlasa, a 50/50 joint venture between Highview Power, a long-duration energy storage solutions provider, and Energía Latina S.A.-Enlasa, a backup power generation provider in Chile, has announced the development of the first liquid-air long-duration energy storage project in Chile.

The 50 MW/500 MWh (10 hours) CRYOBattery™, representing an estimated investment of $150 million, will be in Diego de Almagro in the Atacama region. Construction on the project is estimated to start in the second half of 2023.

Highview Power designed and developed the CRYOBattery™, a proprietary cryogenic energy storage system that aims to enable a 100% renewable energy future. Its proprietary technology uses liquid air as the storage medium and can deliver anywhere from 20 MW/100 MWh to more than 200 MW/2 GWh of energy and has a lifespan of over 30 years. Developed using proven components from mature industries, it delivers pumped-hydro capabilities without geographical constraints and can be configured to convert waste heat and cold to power.

Energía Latina is an open joint-stock company and the parent company of a corporate conglomerate. Its affiliate Enlasa Generación Chile SA owns the historical generation assets.

With one of the highest solar irradiations in the world, the Atacama region has the potential to generate all the country’s electricity. By pairing solar with cryogenic energy storage, Chile can benefit from round-the-clock 100% renewable energy.

Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) on the latest project will be carried out by SK Ingeniería y Construcción, a Chile-based EPC contractor and a subsidiary of the Sigdo Koppers group.

Currently in the pre-feasibility engineering phase, the project is scheduled to enter environmental permitting in August.

“This is a big step forward to enabling decarbonization goals for Chile,” said Javier Cavada, Chief Executive Officer and President of Highview Power. “Our liquid-air energy storage technology is the optimal solution for the large-scale, long-duration energy storage that is needed to balance the grid, without the geographic constraints associated with other energy storage technologies,” he elaborated.

The Highview Enlasa joint venture would open Latin American energy markets to baseload renewable energy potential. The firm noted that when paired with renewable energy sources such as solar, Highview Power’s long duration energy storage system is equivalent in performance to thermal and nuclear power.

“The objective of our company is to make this innovative technology available to the market and all actors in the electrical and mining sectors,” said Fernando del Sol, President of Highview Enlasa. Sol feels that these plants can replace traditional coal plants, which will help the firm accelerate the decarbonization process in Chile and combat climate change.

Highview Power’s proprietary cryogenic energy storage technology utilizes air liquefaction, in which ambient air is cooled and turned to liquid at -196 °C (-320 ˚F). The liquid air is stored at low pressure and later heated and expanded to drive a turbine and generate power.

It is reportedly the only long-duration energy storage solution available today that is locatable and can offer multiple gigawatt-hours (weeks) of storage. The CRYOBattery™ has a small footprint and is scalable with no size limitations or geographic constraints, allowing for the deployment of massive amounts of renewables. Highview Power noted that their cryogenic energy storage plants offer valuable capabilities, including voltage control, grid balancing, and synchronous inertia that give grid operators the flexibility to manage power and energy services independently.

Last month, Highview Power had announced that it was developing similar long-duration liquid-air energy storage projects of up to 2 GWh in Spain with an estimated investment of about $1 billion (~₹73.14 billion). The company said that the projects would help various regions in Spain to achieve their net-zero emission targets.

In February this year, Highview Power had said that it had closed its Growth Capital round of funding with over $70 million, bringing the total amount of funding and grants the company has secured to date to over $145 million.

Image Credit: Highview Power