After five years of research, development, planning and testing the CryoHub project team were proud to present the results of their work at a webinar on 17th March. Attracting 127 attendees from across Europe and ten presentations from the project partners, the webinar provided an overview of the aims and objectives of CryoHub. It also dived into the detail of how the demonstrator was modelled and developed and hosted a discussion of what has been learned from the project about the future potential for energy storage technologies. The CryoHub demonstrator equipment is currently installed at a refrigerated food processing plant at Frigologix in Belgium and its operation is being monitored remotely.
Those taking part in the webinar were invited to share their views on a number of key questions such as attitudes to investment in innovation. The results showed that businesses are increasingly interested in the potential of such technologies although current business models for return on investment remain important barriers to their adoption.
The event concluded with a panel of independent industry experts discussed how CryoHub has proved that liquid air energy storage can work in practice moving beyond mere modelling and simulation. They acknowledged that, while businesses may be willing to trial new environmental technologies, issues such as economic feasibility, cost of capital investment and return on investment still need to be overcome before this can be more widespread.
CryoHub was funded by the EU Horizon 2020 framework and managed by a team of research, association and business experts. Projects such as CryoHub that focus on innovation are challenging with a number of unexpected difficulties arising that have to be overcome – such as optimising the technology within the budget constraints and the difficulty of sourcing components and expertise in cryogenics. The project team had to balance issues such as maximising efficiency versus the operational practicalities – what was termed “techno-economics”. They concluded that issues such as understand the power market, business models and policy context were just as important as engineering concepts to build the technology. Ultimately, the discussion at the close of the webinar was optimistic – the market interest for such innovative CryoHub technology could be expected to increase in the future as governments and grid operator turn to incentives to encourage energy storage and grid balancing to manage demand peaks.
You can find out more about the CryoHub project and view a recording of the webinar as well as download a build videos and reports produced during the four-year development process at www.cryohub.eu