Cryogenic technologies use cryogens such as natural gas, nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, argon, and oxygen as main working fluids. These cryogenic technologies and cryogens are emerging in the fields of energy storage, power generation, and eco-friendly fuels. Recently, researchers have proposed to integrate cryogenic systems with power generation systems including Nuclear power plants and wind turbines, to store surplus energy during the off-peak hours and use it during peak hours. The basic idea is to convert air or some other cryogen into liquid during the off-peak hours and expand it during the peak hours to run turbines. Whereas in the shipping industry; LNG is being considered as an alternative fuel to gasoline to meet the future emissions criteria of IMO. LNG not only reduces the vessel’s emissions but it is also cheaper than heavy fuel oils. As every technology has some pros and cons, the efficiency of cryogenics power generation systems is low; about 25%, but work is being done to improve its efficiency and to find alternative applications.
This article discusses the applications, advantages, and drawbacks of cryogenics technologies and fuels for energy generation and storage applications. It also focuses on the challenges which are being faced by this technology and possible ways to overcome them.