Leading investment bank Goldman Sachs will invest $US250m into an innovative energy storage tech from Canadian start-up Hydrostor which stores power by compressing air into underground caverns.

It looks almost as cool as it sounds:

The $US250m will be used to build of Hydrostor’s 1.1GW, 8.7GWh of Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) projects in Australia and California that are well underway, and to expand Hydrostor’s project development pipeline globally.

Australia, you say?

Indeed. The Broken Hill Energy Storage Centre in NSW is a 200MW utility-scale A-CAES facility located at a local decommissioned mine.

Due to be operational in 2025, it is designed to provide up to eight hours of electricity discharge at a time (i.e. up to 1,600 MWh).

“As the world continues transitioning to sustainable and renewable energy sources, the need for utility-scale long-duration energy storage is clear, and Hydrostor’s A-CAES solution is well positioned to become a leading player in this emerging global market,” says Goldman Sachs’ Charlie Gailliot.


How does it work?

The tech uses surplus energy from the grid to run a compressor, which produces heated compressed air.

Once the heat is extracted and stored for later reuse, the compressed air is sent underground and stored in purpose-built caverns.

This bulk scale, long duration energy storage operation is now fully charged, capable of delivering power on demand over a period ranging from hours to days.

Hydrostor says it is as reliable as pumped hydropower but without the geographic and siting constraints.

No fuels are used in the process, resulting in zero emissions. It also has a low install cost per KWh and is long lasting, with a system life of +50 years.