RheEnergise, UK pioneers of long-duration power storage using its patented super-dense fluid, is building its first proof-of-concept plant at a mine at Cornwood, near Plymouth.

Work at the facility of trial partner Sibelco – illustrated – will start in coming weeks, with commissioning scheduled for September, the hydro engineer said today.

Low-carbon electricity made by RheEnergise’s 500kW HD Hydro demonstrator will support Sibelco’s operations at times of high power demand. The Cornwood mine produces kaolin, mainly for sanitary ware, ceramics, tiles and industrial applications.

Funding the proof-of-concept trial are the government’s Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) Demonstration Programme. Devon County Council’s planners also permitted the project.

RheEnergise says its high-density R-19 fluid, two and a half-times heavier than water, is more potent in generating clean electricity when released from lesser heights & in smaller amounts than from conventional dams.

Low-rise hills, not mountains, are thus the sites RheEnergise sees as fitting its intended grid-scale provision of 4 to 16 hours of storage in the 10MW to 100MW power range. It calculates Europe alone has around 115,000 suitable spots, lending themselves to grid connections.

Founder Stephen Crosher says the firm has received enquiries from 30 countries about its technology. In February the firm raised £335,000 from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund.

RheEnergise says its offering is among the few methods of utility-scale power storage which can be scaled up quickly and globally.  One forecast foresees the world’s long duration energy storage (LDES) market growing to US $4trillion by the late 2030s.

Ben Uphill, director operations at its partner Sibelco said “We are looking at new ways to manage and secure our future energy needs, so we’re excited about the potential contribution that RheEnergise’s world-first hydro storage project can make to our operations. ”

Crosher said the firm intends to have its  first 10MW grid-scale project in operation within two years.

“We are hugely appreciative of the support and assistance given to us by Sibelco, the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero and Devon County Council”, he commented.

“Our scheme will help Sibelco’s energy security at Cornwood and show the long-term contribution it can make to the company’s Net Zero ambitions.”

RheEnergise will be exhibiting at the Innovation Zero event at London’s Olympia on April 30 and May 1.


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