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).
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.