Local electrical storage solutions provider Leaper Innovate Green Energies (LIGE) was last month awarded the 2015 World Wildlife Federation Climate Solver award for its Eco-mc2 compressed air energy storage technology.
Eco-mc2 is an alternative solution to conventional battery storage and can store energy that has been harnessed from renewable sources.
Company innovator Warwick Leaper points out that, historically, the biggest problem with renewable energy has been in the storage of that energy – an issue mitigated by LIGE’s solution.
Leaper adds that, while most conventional batteries contain heavy metals and components manufactured with scarce resources, Eco-mc2 has no toxic emissions, and a zero-carbon footprint.
LIGE’s technology can be expanded to provide storage for the main grid and help flatten the energy peak. Leaper points out that, while conventional batteries are limited to ten hours of stored supply, Eco-mc2 achieves between 24 and 36 hours of supply. The storage systems range from having a 40 kWh capacity to several MWh.
In addition, the life span of the Eco-mc2 storage solution is about 30 years, which batteries cannot achieve.
Leaper adds that, while other energy efficient technologies may require a lifestyle change to accommodate new technology, it is not a prerequisite for Eco-mc2.
The unit is primarily designed as an off-grid solution for renewable-energy systems but also fits the application of an uninterruptible-power-supply-type environment, providing a greater storage period.
About the Solution
Eco-mc2, a modular storage system, achieves isothermal cycling by combining LIGE’s patented innovations with a design that is centred on mature industrial components and principles.
Isothermal compression ensures a greater efficiency of conversion in the round trip from input of power to the output of power. Isothermal regulation requires the removal of the heat generated during the compression phase and the required heat during the expansion phase; this is achieved through the patented heat storage system (heat battery).
The isothermal control delivers nearly 90% round-trip efficiencies, thus making the power always available. During compression, the air is cooled through absorbers, while the resulting air is collected in pressure cylinders. Heat is transferred from the stored heat battery to air during expansion or from air during compression, thereby providing both isothermal compression and expansion and eliminating the capital cost of separate compressor and expander subsystems.
Within the Eco-mc2 hydraulic system, the drive train consists of an electric motor and an alternator to create current.
The reliability of alternators has been proven, through decades of service in other industries, to provide an efficient mechanical link that powers the compressor and heat-transfer system process into pneumatic cylinders.
This patented approach achieves high round-trip efficiency, and has a proven long lifespan and low cost, allowing Eco-mc² to deliver an energy efficient system compared with competing storage technologies.
To watch a video in which LIGE product innovator Warwick Leaper discusses the Eco-mc2 scan the barcode with your phone's QR reader https://youtu.be/PUYA-8ghJpc