April 23, 2012

Liquid air and nitrogen are widely used in a variety of industrial situations and their use as an energy vector is an emerging application in the low carbon economy.

Cryogenic liquids have a number of benefits:

  1. The feedstock is superabundant (air) and none of the proposed technologies require scarce materials
  2. Storage is at low pressure and there is no fuel combustion risk
  3. A number of technologies servicing different scales of applications are being developed that could all use the same energy vector and share infrastructure
  4. Cryogenic liquids are already produced and distributed in huge volumes around the world, thereby inexpensive to introduce
  5. The energy density of liquid air compares favourably to zero-emission competitors
  6. Very fast re-fuelling times are possible compared to other zero emission technologies
  7. Marginal cost of additional energy storage is very low through increased tank size

Cryogenic liquid has a number of advantages over compressed air including:

  1. The energy density of cryogenic liquids is much higher. Compressed air would have to be stored at 500 bar to have a comparable theoretical energy density to the practical availability of a cryogenic liquid stored at ambient pressure.

Insulated vessels are cheaper than re-enforced high-pressure vessels

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