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Cryogenic Science Can Help Improve Renewable Energy, Scientists Say

Dec 11, 2016 10:19 AM EST
Cryogenic Science Can Help Improve Renewable Energy, Scientists Say
Liquid nitrogen can be the future of renewable energy.
(Photo : Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Scientists have found that cryogenic science may be the hope to further improve renewable energy. Cryogenics is a study of reducing the temperatures of biological parts and bodies and reviving them again when needed. An unusual source of energy, it may be a new addition to the short list of renewable sources of energy the world could use in the future.

A site in Manchester is home to the world's largest cold energy storage plant. The Digital Journal describes this site in Manchester as a 5 MW plant that could power up a whole city with more than 5,000 homes simultaneously for three hours at most. It is currently being developed by an England-based company called Highview Power Storage.

The main purpose of these kinds of power plants is to provide energy in the event of a power outage or a widespread power plant shut down since it could only provide power for short amounts of time. Power Technology describes this method of energy generating as one of the best methods as there is minimal to no greenhouse gas emissions. It produces clean energy and clean by-products and may be able to reduce carbon dioxide from the air as well.

ACR News described the very simple process. The plant extracts carbon dioxide and water vapor out of the air. Sometimes they also use liquid nitrogen. These are then cooled to a temperature of about -190 degrees centigrade. Both liquefied air and liquid nitrogen are well known for their liquid to gaseous state expansion ratio where both substances could expand to more than 100 times their original size.

With their ability to transform air into its colder and liquid form, cryogenic energy facilities have the ability to store power. A report from BBC explained that cold energy storage plants could generate energy when liquefied air expands, driving turbines in the plant to generate power. 

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