"The main competitor is really not other storage technologies but fossil fuels."
In order to make renewable energy more efficient, a U.K. power company is building a giant energy storage facility that uses compressed air to store energy like a giant battery.
When the facility is complete, it will use surplus electricity to compress a giant air tank so much that the air turns into a liquid, The Guardian reports. The air can then be decompressed to power a giant turbine, letting people in the area continue to use clean energy even if solar panels or wind turbines aren't actively generating more electricity.
The liquid air battery is meant to serve as a stepping stone along the way to an entirely-renewable energy infrastructure, according to The Guardian. To help it along, the U.K. government awarded Highview Power a $12.42 million grant.
"Projects like these will help us realize the full value of our world-class renewables," U.K. energy and clean growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng told The Guardian, "ensuring homes and businesses can still be powered by green energy, even when the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing."
To build the liquid air battery, which The Guardian reports is expected to function for three to four decades, Highview is recruiting former oil and gas engineers and giving them work in renewable energy.
"The main competitor is really not other storage technologies but fossil fuels," Highview CEO Javier Cavada told The Guardian, "as people still want to continue building gas and coal-fired plants today, strangely enough."
READ MORE: Climate emission killer: construction begins on world’s biggest liquid air battery [The Guardian]
More on energy storage: Giant Hanging Bricks Could Store Energy Better Than Batteries
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