Low-Cost, Big-Time Energy Storage Gets A Go

The money for what is being a Pumped Heat Electricity Storage project comes from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), in the form of project funding and an equity investment totaling £14m ($22m).

pumped heat electricity storage, isentropic

image via Shutterstock

The ETI is a public-private partnership backed by the U.K. government and a half-dozen international energy and energy technology companies. It’s commissioned 36 renewable and low carbon projects worth £138 million but, it noted, this is the first time it has made an equity investment in any of the companies it has funded.

The most common large-scale storage system for renewables is pumped hydro, in which power is used to move water uphill, where it is stored in a reservoir, then released to create power when the power is desired. The advantage with the Isentropic system would be lower cost — less than pumped hydro’s $35/megawatt-hour, Isentropic says — along with much greater geographical versatility. That’s an advantage Isentropic’s system also has over compressed air, a large-scale storage technology that’s been around for a long time, but has only been used a couple of times.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.


  • Reply June 16, 2012


    I suppose that’s possible but lets get more information.

  • Reply June 17, 2012

    Jim Connelly

    could a really large, carbon fiber  reinforced vessel for compressed air store enough energy for a house for a couple days? say a 15, 20 foot diameter sphere, that could be buried in the ground? would be cheaper than batteries

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