The world’s first major energy plant to store energy in the form of liquid air is being developed right near Manchester.

The new planned 50MV energy storage facility, being built by the firm Highview, is going to use excess electricity from wind farms in order to compress air until it becomes a liquid at -196⁰C. It will be stored like this until peak demand when it will be warmed so that it expands and the rush will be used to power a turbine, thus creating energy.

The plan was created by Peter Dearman, an inventor from Hertfordshire. He is now a passive shareholder in Highview, and his plant has been given a £10 grant by the UK Government. “We need many different forms of energy store” he said, “and I’m confident liquid air will be one of them.”

The invention is said to be 60% - 70% efficient, which is less efficient than batteries but due to the low-cost storage, it can be mass produced more easily. Thus, it is more viable in the long-term even if batteries are better for short term energy store. It also, unlike batteries, doesn’t require scarce minerals to produce.

This plant, being developed near Manchester, should be able to store enough energy to power approximately 50,000 homes for 5 hours.

This technology is quickly gaining praise and is definitely something that could be an integral part of energy production plans as people all around the world advocate for more sustainable energy sources.