The government has awarded £32.9m to a number of UK projects working on new energy storage technologies, such as thermal and liquid-flow batteries.
Such technologies are seen as crucial if the UK is to scale up renewable energy facilities and achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The variable nature of renewable energies such as solar and wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed, such as during long periods of high winds. New energy storage technologies can help store excess energy for use at peak usage times.
The money, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will be spread across five projects:
- StorTera will receive just over £5 million to build a demonstrator prototype of its energy-dense Single Liquid Flow Battery (SLIQ) technology designed to increase grid flexibility.
- Sunamp will receive £9.25m for a project that will trial its advanced heat storage system in 100 homes across the UK. The project will extend Sunamp’s existing heat bank to provide increased life and storage capacity and match it with home energy systems to address periods of low renewable generation on the grid.
- The University of Sheffield will receive £2.60m to develop a prototype modular thermal energy storage system that allows flexible heat storage inside homes.
- RheEnergise will be awarded £8.24m to build a demonstrator near Plymouth of its ‘High-Density Hydro’ pumped energy storage system. The system uses a mineral-rich fluid that is more than two and a half times denser than water to create electricity from gentle slopes, without requiring steep dam walls or high mountains like traditional hydroelectricity. The project will use the excess electricity to pump the fluid uphill, then later, when electricity is needed by the grid, the fluid will be released back downstream through turbines to generate electricity.
- EDF UK R&D will receive £7.73m to develop a hydrogen storage demonstrator using depleted uranium.
Climate Minister Graham Stuart said: “Accelerating renewable energy is key to increasing our energy resilience. Energy storage helps us get the most out of these renewable energies, improving efficiency and helping to reduce costs in the long run.
“This £32.9 million Government support will enable green innovators across the UK to develop this technology, helping to create new jobs and encouraging private investment, whilst safeguarding the UK’s energy security.”
The funding announced today follows the first phase of the Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) competition, which focuses on smaller-scale energy storage projects. That competition saw £2.7m awarded to 19 projects. This second phase provides additional funding to the most promising Phase 1 projects, enabling them to build prototypes and demonstrators to bring their designs to life.
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