UK and global energy networks face a number of unprecedented challenges during the next few decades and reserach into energy storage is key to provide solutions to these challenges. Energy storage can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Helping to meet peaky large scale electrical loads, providing time varying energy charge management.
- Allowing renewable power generation to be stored to alleviate intermittence.
- Improving power quality/reliability, helping to meet remote load needs.
- Storage for management of distributed power generation.
Warwick researchers are working on thermal storage, compressed air energy storage and grid-level energy storage and have research interests in the economics of energy storage and issues of intermittency and integration of renewables with storage.
In addition, the university has a £13m Energy Innovation Centre , part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. This centre includes a battery characterisation laboratory and an electric/hybrid drives test facility, a battery cell pilot scale-up line for producing cells based on new chemistries recently completed. This is a unique facility in the UK.
Current projects include:
The University of Warwick is leading a £3.7 million project to help ensure the UK has secure, environmentally-friendly and affordable power for future generations.
The IMAGES project is lead by a group of experenced academics from a number of related feilds including: Power and Control, Dynamics, Renewable Energy, Geology, Economics, Energy Security, Mathematics, Electrical Networks and Systems, Power Electronics and Industrial Economics.
Led by The University of Oxford and including partners from Imperial College London, The University of Bath, The University of Southampton, The University of Cambridge and The University of Birmingham, along with a number of industrial partners, Professor Jihong Wang and Professor Paul Jennings from The University of Wawick are members of the £4million EPSRC funded SUPERGEN Energy Storage Hub.
Energy storage is more important today than at any time in human history. It has a vital role to play in storing electricity from renewable sources (wind, wave, solar) and is key to the electrification of transport. However, current energy storage technologies are not fit for purpose. No single energy storage technology can meet the needs of all applications, but many of the research challenges to improve performance and reduce costs are common across electrochemical, mechanical and thermal devices: new materials need to be developed and tested, thermodynamic processes have to be optimized, and lab-based prototypes must be suitable for scale-up. These technologies have to be integrated into robust and cost effective systems. In response to the situation, especially within the UK context, the SUPERGEN Energy Storage Hub was established.
The consortium aims to bring together investigators with strong international and national reputations in energy storage research and spanning the entire value chain from the energy storage technologies themselves, through manufacturing, integration, and evaluation of the whole system in which the energy storage would be embedded. The consortium is working towards addressing a number of the critical barriers that face progress towards the commercialisation of energy storage and its widespread exploitation in the UK and elsewhere.
Members of the consortium cover areas in which the UK has both the scientific capability and an energy system need. The activities will embrace energy policy, as well as a roadmap and a vision for energy storage research in the UK stretching into the future, thus setting the agenda for UK energy storage. Through extensive networking, including strong engagement with all stakeholders in industry, NGOs and government the hub will not only remain informed and inform others about the latest developments in energy storage it will also bring the energy storage community in the UK as a whole closer together and through wide dissemination engage the public. Through the strength of the Hub and its links will come more effective pathways for the exploitation of new research and new ideas in commercial products.