Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES)

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Cryogenic energy storage (CES) is a technology that utilizes extremely low temperatures to store energy. This approach typically involves liquefying air or other gases, such as nitrogen or hydrogen, and storing them in insulated tanks. When energy is needed, the liquefied gas is warmed and expands, driving a turbine or generator to produce electricity.

Impact on climate action

Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES) in the Thermal & Mechanical Storage domain revolutionizes climate action by providing efficient, long-duration energy storage solutions. By utilizing cryogenic temperatures to store and release energy, CES systems support renewable energy integration, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and enhance grid stability, accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy future.


  • Liquefaction: CES systems use refrigeration cycles to cool air or other gases to cryogenic temperatures, causing them to liquefy.
  • Cryogenic Storage Tanks: Liquefied gases are stored in insulated tanks that maintain the cryogenic temperatures, preventing boil-off and energy losses.
  • Power Generation: When energy is needed, the liquefied gas is warmed and expands, driving a turbine or generator to produce electricity.
  • Heat Exchange: Heat exchangers are used to efficiently transfer heat between the liquefied gas and the surrounding environment during the charging and discharging processes.

TRL : 5-6

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Improved Liquefaction Efficiency: Researchers and startups are developing more efficient and cost-effective liquefaction processes to reduce the energy required for cooling gases to cryogenic temperatures.
  • Advanced Insulation Materials: Innovations in insulation materials are improving the thermal performance of cryogenic storage tanks, reducing boil-off losses and increasing storage efficiency.
  • Hybrid CES Systems: Hybrid CES systems combine cryogenic energy storage with other energy storage technologies, such as batteries or compressed air energy storage, to optimize performance and provide a wider range of grid services.
  • Waste Cold Utilization: CES systems can be integrated with industrial processes that generate waste cold, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES) Applications
  • Advances in Liquefaction Technology
  • Enhancing Cryogenic Storage Tanks
  • Novel Heat Exchange Systems
  • Cryogenic Energy Storage Efficiency
  • Hybridization with Other Storage Technologies
  • Waste Cold Utilization Integration
  • Cryogenic Energy Storage Economics
  • Next-Generation Insulation Materials

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Highview Power:
    • Technology Enhancement: Highview Power is a leading provider of long-duration energy storage solutions based on cryogenic energy storage (CES) technology. Their systems use liquefied air or liquid nitrogen as a medium to store energy, which is then converted back into electricity using a turbine generator when needed. Highview Power’s CES systems offer grid-scale energy storage with high efficiency, long-duration capabilities, and rapid response times.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Highview Power stands out for its innovative approach to energy storage using cryogenic technology. Their systems can store large amounts of energy for extended periods, making them suitable for applications requiring long-duration storage, such as renewable energy integration, grid balancing, and backup power.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Highview Power serves utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, and industrial customers seeking cost-effective and reliable energy storage solutions. Their CES systems are deployed in utility-scale projects, microgrids, and off-grid applications, providing grid stability, renewable energy firming, and load shifting capabilities.
  2. CryoBattery:
    • Technology Enhancement: CryoBattery specializes in cryogenic energy storage solutions for grid-scale applications. Their systems store energy in the form of cryogenic liquids, such as liquid air or liquid nitrogen, which are then expanded to drive a turbine and generate electricity. CryoBattery’s technology offers high energy density, scalability, and fast response times, making it suitable for a wide range of energy storage applications.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: CryoBattery stands out for its focus on developing modular and scalable cryogenic energy storage systems. Their solutions offer flexibility in terms of capacity and configuration, allowing customers to tailor the storage capacity to their specific needs and requirements.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: CryoBattery serves utilities, energy service providers, and industrial customers seeking grid-scale energy storage solutions. Their systems are deployed in renewable energy projects, microgrids, and industrial facilities, providing backup power, peak shaving, and grid stabilization capabilities.
  3. Echogen Power Systems:
    • Technology Enhancement: Echogen Power Systems specializes in advanced power generation and energy storage solutions, including cryogenic energy storage technology. Their systems use liquefied air or nitrogen as a storage medium, which is then expanded to drive a turbine and generate electricity on demand. Echogen’s cryogenic energy storage systems offer high efficiency, fast response times, and long-duration capabilities.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Echogen Power Systems stands out for its expertise in integrating cryogenic energy storage with power generation systems, such as waste heat recovery and renewable energy plants. Their solutions provide grid-scale energy storage with enhanced efficiency and reliability, supporting the integration of renewable energy sources and improving grid stability.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Echogen Power Systems serves utility companies, renewable energy developers, and industrial customers seeking cost-effective and scalable energy storage solutions. Their cryogenic energy storage systems are deployed in various applications, including renewable energy integration, grid stabilization, and industrial process optimization.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. University of Birmingham (UK):
    • Research Focus: The University of Birmingham is actively involved in pioneering research on Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES), focusing on developing novel storage systems that utilize cryogenic liquids, such as liquid air or liquid nitrogen, to store and release energy.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves investigating advanced cryogenic storage technologies, thermodynamic cycles, and heat exchange processes for efficient energy storage and recovery. They explore the integration of CES with renewable energy sources, waste heat recovery systems, and grid stabilization solutions to enhance overall energy system flexibility and resilience.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in grid-scale energy storage, industrial processes, and distributed energy systems. By developing CES solutions, the University of Birmingham’s research contributes to decarbonizing the energy sector, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and enabling the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources into the electricity grid.
  2. University of Oxford:
    • Research Focus: The University of Oxford conducts cutting-edge research on Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES), leveraging its expertise in thermodynamics, materials science, and energy systems engineering to develop innovative storage technologies with high energy density and efficiency.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of cryogenic storage vessels, thermal insulation materials, and cryogenic energy conversion systems for capturing, storing, and releasing energy in the form of cryogenic liquids. They investigate novel cryogenic compression and expansion techniques, as well as cryogenic energy transport and distribution methods, to optimize CES performance and scalability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in energy-intensive industries, cold chain logistics, and off-grid power generation. By advancing CES technologies, the University of Oxford’s research supports the transition to a low-carbon energy economy, improves energy access in remote areas, and enhances the sustainability of energy-intensive processes.
  3. University of Warwick (UK):
    • Research Focus: The University of Warwick is engaged in innovative research on Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES), focusing on developing integrated storage solutions and system-level optimization strategies for maximizing the efficiency and reliability of cryogenic energy storage technologies.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves exploring cryogenic energy storage architectures, control algorithms, and thermal management techniques to address technical challenges related to cryogen production, storage losses, and energy conversion efficiency. They also investigate hybrid storage systems that combine CES with other energy storage technologies, such as batteries or pumped hydro, to achieve higher overall system performance and versatility.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in energy-intensive manufacturing processes, renewable energy integration, and grid-scale energy storage projects. By advancing CES research, the University of Warwick contributes to enhancing energy system flexibility, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and fostering innovation in the energy storage sector.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Cryogenic energy storage is still in the early stages of commercial deployment, with a limited number of pilot projects and demonstration plants in operation. However, the technology is gaining increasing interest as a potential solution for long-duration energy storage and grid-scale applications.