UK hydro-energy storage company RheEnergise is to build a first-of-a-kind demonstrator of its long-duration hydro-energy storage system at Sibelco’s mining operations at Cornwood, near Plymouth, Devon. The construction of the demonstrator will start soon, with commissioning scheduled in September.

The power generated by RheEnergise’s HD Hydro demonstrator, which has a peak power production of 500kW, will support Sibelco’s mining operations at times of high energy demand and help the company decarbonise its operations. The Cornwood site produces kaolin, mainly for sanitary ware, ceramics, tiles and industrial applications.

The project is being supported through the UK Government’s Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) Demonstration Programme.

According to RheEnergise, the deployment of long-duration energy storage systems is essential to the expansion of renewable power generation in the UK.

Stephen Crosher, CEO of RheEnergise, said: “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. 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.”

“The demonstrator is a trailblazing project for the LDES sector and will place us in a strong position to build commercial-scale projects in this country and overseas. We have global interest in our technology from as far as Australia and Chile. We would like to have our first 10MW grid-scale project in operation within two years,” he added.

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The company said it has developed a fluid that is 2.5-times denser than water and can generate 2.5-times the energy compared with conventional low-density hydropower systems in Scotland, Wales and other parts of the world.

The high-density fluid is pumped uphill between storage tanks at times of low energy demand with associated low prices. As demand and energy prices rise, the non-corrosive fluid is released downhill and passes through turbines to generate electricity and supply power to the grid.