China just opened the world’s largest compressed air energy storage plant

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China just opened the world’s largest compressed air energy storage plant

To can use renewable energy more efficientlyIt is need to have a way to store it. We generally think of lithium batteries which are used to avoid cuts when using solar or wind energy, for example. But the amount of lithium on the planet is not infinite, which means that at some point the price of this element will become very high.

In China, we are already thinking of the post-lithium era. The country has already started to diversify its means of storing energy using, among other things, vanadium electric accumulators. There is also the largest vanadium accumulator in the world which has just been activated in Dailan. The device can produce 100MW-400MWh of power and the cost of using it is much lower than that of lithium batteries.

Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant, Zhangjiakou
Credits Chinese Academy of Sciences

In addition to vanadium batteries, China also intends to turn to compressed air energy storage systems (CAES) to provide nearly a quarter of energy storage in the country by 2030.

A more advanced version

It’s been years now that Chinese Academy of Sciences work on the development of a high-level CAES system. Today, the first system is operational. It is a storage plant capable of supplying a power of 100 MW and which has just been connected to the electricity network of the city of Zhangjiakou in northern China.

According to the Academy, it is a “advanced” systemthat is, it consumes no fossil fuels as is the case with McIntosh Plant which has been operating since 1991 in Alabama. The McIntosh Plant produces 110 MW of power, but it burns its compressed air with natural gas for power.

The Zhangjiakou power plant, on the other hand, uses advances in supercritical thermal storage, supercritical heat exchange, high-load compression, but also expansion technologies to improve its efficiency. According to the China Energy Storage Alliance, the new plant can store and release up to 400 MWh and owns a system efficiency of 70.4%.

High performance

A system efficiency of 70.4% has never before been achieved for compressed air storage systems. These systems have typically between 40-52% efficiency. According to reports, two Hydrostor CAES plants are going to be opened in California in 2026, but even these future plants will only have an efficiency of 60%.

According to the explanations of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Zhangjiakou plant is capable of supplying energy to the local electricity grid with more than 132 GWh of electricity per year. It will be a question of supplying energy to 40 to 60,000 households. With such production, it will be possible to save about 38,000 tons of coal and this will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 98,000 tons per year.

SOURCE: newatlas

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