Seeking to modernise the UK’s energy system and maximise the potential of renewables, the British government has awarded £30 million to three pioneering companies to develop new energy storage technologies.
According to the government, accelerating the uptake of these technologies will not only save billions of pounds in energy costs, but also help balance the National Grid, and increase the country’s energy security.
The funding will help the businesses test and prepare their technology for the market, encourage private investment, and create new jobs across the UK.
The selected companies are the following:
Invinity Energy Systems
The battery maker will receive £11 million to build the largest grid-scale battery ever manufactured in the UK.
The 30MWh system power battery system will be capable of delivering more than 7MW of power on demand — with a capacity equivalent to the daily energy use of approximately 3,500 homes for over two hours.
The system replaces lithium with vanadium: a malleable transition metal, discovered in 1801. The company claims that vanadium’s use results in higher-performance batteries: they’re inflammable, non-degrading, and over 97% recyclable, while they last for 25+ years.
Invinity Energy Systems will build the battery at its factory in Scotland, and will integrate it with the existing power infrastructure of the National Grid to alleviate pressure during peak times.
SynchroStor will construct a Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES) grid-connected demonstration plant. The system stores energy as heat, based on a closed-cycle Brayton loop, and converts heat to electricity when needed.
The facility will have a 1MW capacity and will be capable of charging, storing, and discharging energy for a period of 10 hours — outperforming current battery technology.
To realise the facility’s construction, the government has awarded SynchroStor £9.4 million.
Cheesecake Energy (CEL)
The startup will receive another £9.4 million to test their FlexiTanker technology which stocks electricity using a combination of thermal and compressed air storage.
Cheesecake Energy will install a set of pilot systems in a new mixed-use development in Colchester, which is being set up as a microgrid to handle local grid constraints.
The site will also have an 8MW solar farm and a central heat pump that will provide district heating to nearby residents and businesses. CEL’s system will collect surplus energy generated from solar power, which can then be used when demand is high.
“Storing energy for longer periods is vital to build a robust and secure energy system, and ensure that renewable energy is used efficiently,” said Graham Stuart, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero.
“Fortunately the UK has a wealth of pioneering businesses that are making their mark on this industry. [The selected companies] will go on to play a role in our country’s energy security,” he added.
The £30 million funding is part of the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition, which has awarded £69 million as part of the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.