New boosts for hydrogen

Two announcements today take us closer to a hydrogen economy. Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, will visit Swindon’s Hydrogen Hub and Recycling Technologies Centre today, where she is expected to announce plans for a new £20m hydrogen research fund. In addition, a flagship project to build a £900m hydrogen gas heating network took a major step forward today.

R&D funding

The new Hydrogen Supply fund aims to to significantly reduce the cost of producing large volumes of low carbon hydrogen, by supporting several new hydrogen process engineering designs and supply plans and enabling the demonstration of some of the key components in any new hydrogen production process.

Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas in two ways: by Steam Methane Reformation (SMR), a process that still results in greenhouse gas emissions, or emissions free via renewable-powered electrolysis. Advocates of this approach argue that it can provide an ultra-low carbon source of power, energy storage capacity and heat. However, critics have argued the cost of manufacturing green hydrogen will have to fall if the technology is to deployed at scale.

Hydrogen for heat

Gas grid operator, Cadent, today published a major new report on its ambitious, 30-year plan to build a hydrogen network across the north west of England. The report explores the economic impact of the £900m plan and concludes it would support at least 5,000 jobs while providing low carbon hydrogen to power industry and heat two million homes. It also flagged the potential to produce hydrogen for trains, lorries, and buses in the future.

Hydrogen from the site would then be piped to local industrial facilities and potentially blended with the region’s gas network in a move that would significantly lower the carbon footprint of heat generation across the north west.

The hydrogen would be produced from natural gas, but Cadent is proposing to capture the resulting carbon emissions for storage in old gas fields in Liverpool Bay and elsewhere off the north west coast.

The company said it is now “exploring a range of options” to fund HyNet, drawing on funding models from other national infrastructure projects, such as the Thames Tideway in London.

Read more.


Energy Storage Grand Challenge Projects: Final Dissemination event

written by Dr. Jacqueline Edge

Last week, on Thursday 25th January 2018, an event was held at the IET Savoy Place to celebrate the outcomes of the two Energy Storage Grand Challenge Projects: Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids and Integrated and Market-fit, Affordable Grid-scale Energy Storage (IMAGES). Both projects were funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC) and will draw to a close in the next year.

Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids is led by Professor Goran Strbac at Imperial College London and involves seven other partner universities. Professor Strbac presented an overview of the entire project, highlighting the key achievements and detailing the structure of the project. This was followed by a talk on the major technology breakthroughs achieved during the project, by Professor Clare Grey from Cambridge. Professor Phil Taylor from Newcastle explained the progress in operational management of energy storage devices within grids, showing the state-of-the-art testing facilities at Newcastle University. Professor Richard Green from Imperial College London presented the Whole Systems perspective, in which the value of energy storage to the UK energy system was highlighted through the unique research done in this project.


IMAGES is led by Professor Jihong Wang at the University of Warwick, with three other partner academic institutions. After her overview of the project, detailing the milestones and deliverables achieved throughout, the potential for Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) was presented by Dr. David Evans of the British Geological Survey. This talk was followed by Professor Phil Eames of Loughborough University, presenting the progress in integrating Thermal Energy Storage (TES) with power plants. Professor Michael Waterson from the University of Warwick outlined their findings on the economic value of energy storage.

The afternoon sessions included a number of talks on more specific aspects of each project and the event closed with a panel discussion, with panellists from both academia and industry giving their views on how this research has and can take the UK forward in implementing a cost-effective, low carbon energy system.

This article, written by Ilias Tsagas from the University of Greenwich, gives further detail.

Faraday Challenge: Get Ready for Round 2

The second round of Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovation competitions opened on 22nd January 2018, with a deadline for applications on 28th March 2018. These competitions will support a range of Innovation activities around materials, cell and battery manufacturing for Automotive applications. More information on the Faraday Battery Challenge can be found here.

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), working together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK,  will run a number of  Competition Briefing events to launch the scope of these competitions:

  • London – 24th January and available online
  • Newcastle – 31st January, hosted by Newcastle University
  • Cardiff – 8th February, organised by the Welsh Government

Please sign up now to prepare for the next funding round.

Innovative Faraday Challenge Winners Announced

The winners of the first round of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Faraday Battery competition were announced by Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, at the Battery and Energy Storage 2017 Conference, held at the University of Warwick yesterday (Thursday 30th November). The £40m of grant funding comes from Innovate UK under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Funding was granted to 27 projects, involving 66 organisations, to support the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles, tackling some of the biggest challenges preventing electric vehicle (EV) uptake in the UK. The next generation of EV batteries need to be safe, cost effective, longer lasting, lighter weight, high performing and recyclable.

The winning projects,  covering a range of key technologies such as new battery materials, cell manufacturing techniques, better design and production of modules and packs through thermal management and power electronics, as well as recycling and recyclability of battery packs, include:

  • Improved battery management control systems aiming to extend the lifetime and range of EV batteries, led by clean-tech start-up Brill Power and E-Car.
  • Reuse, re-manufacture and recycling of EV batteries, led by HSSMI, an independent institute specialising in the application of digital manufacturing techniques, in collaboration with University College London.
  • Development of a safe, economically sustainable battery recycling supply chain in the UK, led by Johnson Matthey.
  • A UK hub for battery cell manufacture, led by AGM Batteries.
  • Battery modules and packs for a range of vehicles, including supercars, buses and diggers, led by Delta Motorsport.
  • A new battery storage system for heavy-duty vehicles, led by Perkins Engines.


These projects form only part of the UK government’s initial phase investment of £246 million into battery technology through the Faraday Battery Challenge, aiming to position the UK as a world leader in EV battery development and production. Mr Clark’s speech also announced further pioneering research and development investments of £120 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), including investment of £80 million into the UK’s first automotive battery manufacturing development facility, which will allow the UK to manufacture high volumes of advanced EV batteries. The winning proposal from a competition led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, will be located in the West Midlands and involves Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG).

This news follows the announcement last month by Mr Clark of The Faraday Institution, a new, multi-million pound research institute to drive and accelerate fundamental research in developing battery technologies, and its translation, funded from the ISCF through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Read more about this here.

Greg Clark said: “Battery technology is one of the most game-changing forms of energy innovation and it is one of the cornerstones of our ambition, through the Industrial Strategy and the Faraday Challenge, to ensure that the UK leads the world, and reaps the economic benefits, in the global transition to a low carbon economy.

“The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and R&D that will further enhance the West Midlands’ international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence.”

The next round of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Faraday Battery competition will open on January 22nd 2018 and close on 28th March.

Source article.


National battery research centre announced

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has announced the formation of a new national battery technology research institute: the Faraday Battery Institute. This will be based at the Harwell Campus, close to both the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and major automotive industry players.

The institute will strategically manage a programme of research and training to meet the overall batteries challenge. The research funding calls will be tailored to engage industrial and academic participants from across the UK and further afield.

The University of Oxford leads a consortium of seven academic institutions (see below for the full list), which will shape the Institute’s strategic programme of fundamental, application driven research. The team will have initial funding of £65 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is part of the UK government’s £246 million investment in battery technology.

The core aim of the institute is to ensure that the UK remains a world leader in novel battery technologies and energy storage for electric vehicles, cementing the future of the UK automotive industry. The team will run funding calls, develop a training programme and provide a national hub to promote research and its translation to address a wide range of energy challenges.

The first call, the Batteries for Britain scheme, is already up and running. In these “Fast Start” projects, the team are looking to fund projects on tackling battery degradation, the all-solid-state battery, multi-scale modelling and the circular economy/recycling.

As part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy portfolio, the Faraday Battery Institute will work closely with the National Battery Manufacturing Development facility. This will focus on developing manufacturing technologies for batteries and their components and will enable rapid scaling of new research developments into industry. The plan is for these two institutions to work collaboratively and support research throughout the entire battery ecosystem, from fundamental research to commercial products.

The Faraday Battery Institute will be funded through the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the initiative is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research CouncilInnovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

The full list of partners in the consortium is Oxford UniversityImperial College LondonUniversity College LondonUniversity of WarwickUniversity of CambridgeUniversity of Southampton and Newcastle University.


Plan to replace UK coal power station with natural gas and 200 MW of batteries

The coal-fired Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire could be enhanced by the addition of a 200 MW battery energy storage extension, in a plan to extend its operational lifetime and enhance its flexible and responsive capability.

The UK power company Drax, predominantly a biomass-fuelled generator, has given notice to the Planning Inspectorate of its intention to consult on long-term options that would include building the battery at Drax Power Station alongside plans for 3.6GW of new gas generation capacity.

The plans, which would also see two coal units repowered to gas, are subject to a positive investment decision and would need to be underpinned by a 15-year capacity market contract.


If it goes ahead, the development will help to keep energy costs low and ease the phase-out of coal, providing much-needed grid support services as further coal-fired stations go offline.

Andy Koss, chief executive of Drax Power, said: “We are at the start of the planning process but if developed these options for gas and battery storage show how Drax could upgrade our existing infrastructure to provide capacity, stability and essential grid services, as we do with biomass. This would continue to keep costs low for consumers and help to deliver Government’s commitment to remove coal from the UK grid.

“Drax Power Station is a national asset and a significant driver of economic growth in the North of England. These options could repurpose up to two of our coal assets and extend their operation into the 2030s.”

Source article: Energy Storage News

Good Energy begins ‘first of many’ energy storage projects

Good Energy aims to start work on its maiden commercial energy storage development in November this year, after their May launch of a US$10 million corporate bond offer to fund work in the stationary energy storage and EV charger sectors.

Good Energy offers its customers energy from fully renewable sources and appears to be targeting the commercial and industrial market, through advising its business customers on how behind the meter storage applications could enable them to better manage onsite renewable generation, electricity consumption and the cost of electricity.

The firm has revealed it is currently working on a technical storage solution with one of its long standing business customers, with a view to exchanging contracts in October and starting works the month after. “This will be the first of many storage projects we will undertake for our customers and shows an innovative commercial approach to a growing market,” the company stated.


‘Fit-for-growth’ restructuring plan

The energy storage and EV charging divisions form part of a significant shift in strategy at Good, which chief executive Juliet Davenport said had contributed towards a year of “transition” at the firm she founded in 1999. The firm has spent nearly £1 million (US$1.33 million) on a restructuring programme dubbed ‘Fit-for-growth’. “So far in 2017 we’ve made very good progress on the strategic direction of Good Energy by adapting our business model in a highly competitive and dynamic energy market.

“Our Fit-for-Growth programme and investment in our digital capabilities and systems are crucial first steps and, with further investment in our core business and the start of our new propositions in electric vehicles and storage planned in the second half of the year, we believe Good Energy is well positioned to succeed in the energy marketplace for the future,” Davenport said.

Source article: Energy Storage News

Review of Future Energy Scenarios and the BEIS/Ofgem Upgrade Plan

written by Dr. Jacqueline Edge, Imperial College London

Last month saw the launch of two key documents influencing the future of energy storage in the UK:

  1. National Grid launched its Future Energy Scenarios on Thursday 13th July, aimed at shining a light on the uncertain pathway to 2050 for UK energy. The document sets out a number of credible pathways, based on the energy trilemma (security of supply, sustainability and affordability) and analyses the impact of each on UK energy infrastructures.
  2. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem launched their plan for Upgrading our Energy System on Monday 24th July, a document which sets out the plan for integrating both smart technology and flexibility into the UK’s electricity grid.


National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios

How things are (2016):
Future Energy Scenarios presents a number of summary figures for the current UK energy system:

  • The generating capacity from renewables was 34 GW, a 34 % share of the total installed capacity.
  • The installed capacity from distributed generation in 2016 was 26 GW (27 % of total installed capacity).
  • Electricity storage capacity totalled 4 GW in 2016.
  • Electricity peak demand was around 60 GW in 2016.


How things are expected to change:

  • Electricity demand will both increase and change in shape, potentially reaching peaks as high as 85 GW in 2050, driven initially by electric vehicles and later on by heat demand.
  • Electricity storage capacity could reach 6 GW by 2020.
  • High levels of distributed and renewable generation are expected, leading to greater complexity and operational costs.


The four energy scenarios for 2050 are:

Two Degrees: meets the 2050 carbon reduction target; Renewable capacity could increase to as much as 110 GW or (60 %) in 2050. Use of gas boilers declines considerably by 2050 and is overtaken by heat pumps, supported by improved heat retention of homes through insulation and other means. This scenario requires policy support, in the form of higher taxes on carbon emitting technologies, as well as clear policy and incentives for reducing demand and increasing the penetration of renewables.
Slow Progression: Slow economic growth and rising gas prices could require a longer term environmental strategy which may not meet the COP21 targets. Government support and incentives are required to keep the focus on decarbonisation, but the uptake of distributed generation and low carbon technologies will be at a reduced pace, due to limited funding.
Consumer Power: In a wealthy world driven by market forces, distributed generation could increase to a total of 93 GW (50 per cent of total installed capacity).
Steady State: Security of supply, affordability of energy and short-term thinking dominate this scenario, leading to the least affluent and least green outcome. This scenario is an extension of today’s situation, with limited incentives for long-term solutions.

Two Degrees shows the highest level of economic growth, offering affordable solutions to a world more conscious of the need for achieving the COP21 targets. Consumer Power shows the highest uptake of energy storage, but the predicted 10.7 GW by 2050 is down from their predictions published last year ( 18.3 GW of storage by 2040 was predicted under this scenario), owing to improved modelling techniques and a focus on installations which are likely to attain a viable economic return.

New technologies, such as microgrids, smart solutions and energy storage, are rapidly transforming the energy sector, providing flexibility and coordination while both increasing and diversifying the participants. New business models are emerging, requiring rapid market and regulatory adaptation to support them and deliver value for consumers.

Four main drivers have been identified for the predicted changes:

1. Electric Vehicles (EVs)

The UK government’s decarbonisation and air quality commitments to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans beyond 2040 will boost the electric vehicle market, with numbers of EVs projected to reach one million in the early 2020s and may go up to nine million in 2030. If no schemes are implemented to encourage owners to charge during off-peak hours, then peak electricity demand could rise by 8 GW. The Government has announced the Faraday Challenge, to build a strong UK research, innovation and manufacturing base for automotive batteries. See commentary by Dr. Kathryn Toghill of Lancaster University on why this may not solve the UK energy storage problem.

2. Heating

Changes to heating could be incremental or dramatic. To meet the 2050 carbon reductions, decarbonisation of heat must begin in earnest now, however no one technology solution presents itself. If heat pumps dominate, this will further raise electricity demand peaks. It is expected that gas will play a transitional role, potentially with the incorporation of hydrogen as a way to reduce the carbon content of the gas mix.

3. Cooling

If temperatures continue to rise as predicted, the peak demand from air conditioning in summer could match those for heating in winter by 2050.

4. Gas

Gas currently supplies more than twice as much energy annually as electricity does and is a flexible, reliable and cost-effective energy source which is expected to continue to play a role in UK energy systems. However, traditional sources of gas are declining and the ageing gas infrastructure is in need of maintenance and upgrading to introduce new technologies.

BEIS/OFgem plan for upgrading the energy system

The Government and Ofgem received over 250 responses to their Call for Evidence on a smart, flexible energy system, published in November 2016. This plan is the result of reviewing these responses and actions to be taken fall under three main areas. Some of the actions listed are given below:
1. Removing Policy and Regulatory Barriers

  • The Electricity Act 1989 will be amended to explicitly define storage as a sub-set of generation, based on the definition proposed by the Electricity Storage Network.
  • The “double charging” of network costs will be addressed through Ofgem’s proposed Targeted Charging Review, but with the proviso that storage should not be charged residual charges at transmission and distribution level.
  • A new licence for storage will be introduced by Summer 2018, after an Ofgem consultation on the structure of a modified generation licence.
  • The Government will look into simplifying the planning regime for storage facilities, particularly for larger scale projects.
  • Storage will be exempt from Final Consumption levies.
  • BEIS and Ofgem are clarifying the rules for co-location of storage, to de-risk investments for these facilities.

2. Enabling EVs, Smart Homes and Businesses

  • Ofgem has been working with industry to enable half-hourly settlement, to facilitate smart tariffs. This will initially be elective, but a timetable for mandatory half-hourly settlement will be published soon.
  • Standards for smart appliances and EV chargepoints will be developed.
  • The Government has commissioned work to assess the scale of cyber security risks from smart technology.
  • The Government will work with both the energy and automotive sectors to assess the regulatory, network and tariff implications of increased use of electric vehicles and to support trials of vehicle-to-grid charging.

3. Ensuring effective markets for flexibility

  • Price flexibility (occurring when any party varies its demand or generation in response to the price of energy) will be enabled by ensuring that network tariffs appropriately signal the costs or benefits of using the network at different times and locations. Industry-led modifications and Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review will progress this.
  • Contracted flexibility (where parties trade and directly contract with one another to procure flexibility) will be facilitated by simplification of requirements and services for those offering flexible solutions and allowing revenue stacking between the Capacity Market and ancillary services. Ofgem is setting out its views to guide industry thinking on code modifications to support independent aggregators’ participation. The System Operator has recently released its Future of Balancing Services to set out how balancing services need to evolve.

Sources and further information:

Hazel Capital commissions Lockleaze, a 15MW battery storage project in Bristol, UK

By Graham Stevenson, Imperial College London


Hazel Capital has successfully commissioned a 15MW battery storage project in Bristol, UK. Hazel Capital  partnered with its affiliate, Noriker Power, to deliver the project. Aura Power developed the project and contracted by Metka-EGN.

As well as this installation, Hazel Capital is also targeting 100MW of exported storage capacity by the end of 2017.


Ben Guest:
“This is another important milestone for Hazel Capital in its overall goals for 2017. This is an exciting first and demonstrates our ability to source and fund such a project while benefiting from Noriker Power’s critical capabilities in project design and control systems.”

Simon Coulson, Director at Aura Power:
“We are delighted that the Lockleaze project has been delivered to market in such a short period of time. This project is of particular importance to us, being located close to our head office in Bristol, and it received strong support from the local community. We look forward to delivering many more storage projects through our UK pipeline.”


This project is unlikely to remain the largest standalone battery for long however. Centrica, also based in the UK, confirmed that construction on its 49MW Roosecote project is currently ongoing.


Further information can be found here, here, and here.

Jaguar Land Rover “to Join Forces” with WMG

By Graham Stevenson, Imperial College London


WMG at the university of Warwick has been awarded £5.7 million by the EPSRC in order to form a partnership with the company. Furthermore, Jaguar will be supplementing this with a matching amount of their own through cash or contributions, as well as further funding through the university. This represents a crucial step in the commercialisation and implementation of electric vehicles, and helps improve their credibility.

WMG’s Professor Barbara Shollock said:

“This prosperity partnership will tackle the emerging challenges for vehicle electrification through a unique collaboration to grow scientific understanding. This integrated approach brings the potential for the UK to lead, both industrially and scientifically, in an area of high growth and relevance in the UK’s industrial strategy. Our shared vision is to create new scientific insights to underpin the Automotive Council’s electrification agenda, from batteries and power electronics to electric motors and electric drive units.”

Further information can be found here and here.