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UK company is seeking joint venture or licencing agreements for its patented solution for energy storage and power generation

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: TOUK20210727001
Publication Date: 24 August 2021

Summary

UK company has developed a new power cycle based on enhanced steam turbine condensing that provides dramatic efficiency increases on a wide range of energy storage and generation applications including thermal electric and hydrogen combustion, geothermal, bio-fuel generation and conventional power plants, reducing associated emissions and fuel consumption. UK company is looking for joint venture, licencing or financial agreements.

Description

The most common method for storing electricity on a bulk scale is currently pumped hydroelectric. This is comparatively expensive, has long build times, and a shortage of potential sites. Other methods include compressed air, thermal energy storage, and various battery technologies. For power generation, steam and gas turbine cycles largely dominate.  
This UK company's new approach uses a patented condenser method to extract energy from the steam turbine exhaust and heat pumps it to temperatures suitable for additional energy extraction.
This provides dramatic efficiency increases on a wide range of energy storage and generation applications including thermal electric and hydrogen combustion, geothermal and bio-fuel generation and conventional power plants, reducing associated emissions and fuel consumption.
This new process uses a heat pumping condenser method, air compressors with compression heat recovery, and air expander turbines. The air compressor and expanders can be arranged in brayton cycles where air compression heat is recovered to pre-heat the steam turbine flow. Where air and thermal storage are practicable, the compressor and turbines can separate as with adiabatic compressed air systems, the air being stored using off peak electricity and compression heat extracted for thermal storage. The main advantage is that the air compressor no longer presents a peak time energy drain, increasing peak power output.
The condenser heat exchanger tubes use the airflow to absorb latent heat energy from the steam turbine exhaust and also to provide the air turbine expansion heat. These functions are enhanced by staged venturi effect nozzles on the air tubes. As the air accelerates through the tubes it is adiabatically cooled, increasing the temperature gradient between the air and steam exhaust. Since air is accelerated up to supersonic velocities, accelerations are performed in stages with intermediate heat absorbing sections to control the heat absorption rate and prevent steam freezing to the tube. When the air leaves the condenser, it is slowed in final nozzle stages, causing significant re-pressurisation heat between 200-240°C which is then used for energetic air turbine expansion.
Efficiency is expected at around 80% based on data for the component cycles. These high efficiency levels can be achieved by limiting the most significant points where energy is lost – the air compression heat and the latent condensing energy are both recovered in a useable state. Installation costs for thermal electric energy storage enhanced by this method will be significantly less than the competing adiabatic compressed air whose efficiency it now matches, providing highly competitive net payback and estimated return on investments, particularly where existing power station equipment is repurposed. It also provides enhanced potential for wide ranges of other power generation applications.
UK company is looking for partners from the power industry and seeking companies that can help bring this solution to the market.
UK company is seeking a joint venture agreement or licencing agreement with power industry companies and also seeking financial agreements with investors.

Advantages and Innovations

Recovery of low temperature latent heat energy allows efficiency levels up to 80%, which is significantly higher than achieved by conventional Rankine, Brayton or combined cycles.
Air driven condenser method can operate without local water coolant supply available.
The method is heavily based on commercially available turbine machinery – the only novel components are the pneumatic heat exchanger tubes with Venturi effect nozzles.
Method could be used for enhanced long duration energy storage and also steam turbine based electricity generation methods.
Compatible with pressure and temperature levels of existing steam turbines so could be used to retrofit existing plant to enhanced efficiency and or efficient energy storage.
Compatible with direct air capture technologies – emission free electricity generation or energy storage technologies could become carbon positive, increasing local air quality.
For long duration energy storage, can provide enhanced efficiency for thermal electric energy storage, improved compressed air storage when using heat and air reservoirs, and enhanced electrolysis and hydrogen combustion.
The higher efficiency on thermal electric energy storage reduces the cost of lost electricity on each charge and discharge cycle – currently that method’s main limitation.
Reduced air and heat storage needed than for standard adiabatic compressed air storage. The steam turbine operating alongside the air cycle effectively displaces around half of the air flow of standard adiabatic CAES(Compressed Air Energy Storage)
Reduced hydrogen oxygen equipment and storage for hydrogen based systems.
Higher efficiency and lower levelized cost of energy storage than on current long duration methods. Combined with the relatively low base cost of intermittent wind or solar electricity, this could provide reliable zero emission and renewable electricity at competitive costs to the non renewable and emitting methods.

IPR status

Patents granted

Stage Of Development

Proposal under development

Stage Of Development Comment

The condensing system is largely based on air turbo-machinery and so is largely operationally mature. The main focus for development will be for the Venturi condenser heat exchanger tubes. A government funded Computational Fluid Dynamics(CFD) and design study at the UK National Engineering Laboratory is currently being undertaken to formalise the results, which the company plans to follow up with physical pressure testing.  There are also letters from several operating companies regarding their interest in the technology, their potential participation and trialling of the product.

Requested partner

UK company is looking for engineering companies with expertise in the power sector. Also, power equipment manufacturers, who may want a competitive advantage for their own product can be an ideal partner to this company. Ideally turbine manufacturers are excellent potential partners. 

UK company is seeking a joint venture agreement or licencing agreement to bring the solution to the market and commercialization. UK company is also interested in financial agreements with investors.

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