According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, UK, liquid air is now able to compete with batteries and hydrogen through the process of stored excess energy, generated from renewables at places like the CryoEnergy System (CES).
In 2011, it was common knowledge that key renewables could produce a limited amount of intermittent power. This left the United States struggling to store excess energy, looking at "solar and wind providing only a modest percentage of future U.S. power."
Former Energy Secretary, James Schlesinger, along with former senior energy program adviser, Robert L. Hirsch, who has a background as Science Applications International Corporation; Senior Energy Advisor at MISI; and a consultant in energy, technology, and management, were quoted in a Yale University article, "Why are we ignoring things we know? We know that the sun doesn’t always shine and that the wind doesn’t always blow.”
According to Energy Digital, liquid air is offering future prospects for energy storage. For example, the electricity that is generated at night by wind farms like Tehachapi Wind Farm near the Mohave Desert in Southern California is able to send cool air to a cryogenic or low-temperature state at a far distance; and then when the wind turbine demand increases, liquid air can be warmed to drive a wind turbine.
How this develops is by taking in air, then removing its CO2 and water vapor. If they were not removed, they would freeze. What remains will chill and turn to liquid --- a liquid air --- which is used to store energy. The liquid air is held until in a giant vacuum flask. The liquid is warmed when needed for power, driving a wind turbine as it vaporizes in order to produce electricity.
During times of demand, it is possible to achieve a 70% efficiency, which researchers compare to an 80% efficiency in batteries. In other words, " the “wrong-time” energy to produce “right-time” energy can be used during times of peak demand, "when the sun doesn’t always shine and that the wind doesn’t always blow.”
This type of technology will soon be used for the nation's power grid, according to Highview Power Storage, who will further develop an advanced "cryo-power" technology from ImechE.
A major part of the wind turbine endeavor is the large crane. When asked about its weight, the operator in the last image below responded,
"Well, depends on what configuration we build it in, but now it is about 1.3 million pounds --- the quickest we have ever moved in three days. It takes one full day to break it down, a day to move it and a day to put it back together. That is with a crew of experienced movers who know what is going on ... something that on the average does not occur. Usually, it is just me in charge of a crew of unexperienced men as far as crane tear-downs go, a common occurrence, Then it takes a day or two longer."