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£32m awarded to promising energy storage projects

Image credit: pa

The government has awarded £32.9m to a number of UK projects working on new energy storage technologies, such as thermal batteries and liquid flow batteries.

Such technologies are considered to be crucial if the UK is to scale up renewable energy facilities and reach net zero carbon by 2050.

The variable nature of renewables like solar and wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed, such as during extended periods of high wind. New energy storage technologies can help to store that excess energy to be harnessed at times of peak usage.

The money, which is provided by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, will be spread across five projects:

  • StorTera will receive just over £5m to build a prototype demonstrator of its energy-dense single liquid flow battery (SLIQ) technology that is designed to boost grid flexibility.
  • Sunamp will receive £9.25m for a project that will trial its advanced thermal storage system in 100 homes across the UK. The project will extend Sunamp's existing heat battery to provide increased storage duration and capacity and pair it with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewables generation on the grid.
  • The University of Sheffield will receive £2.60m to develop a prototype modular thermal energy storage system which allows for flexible storage of heat within homes.
  • RheEnergise will receive £8.24m to build a demonstrator near Plymouth of its ‘High-Density Hydro’ pumped energy storage system. The system uses a mineral-rich fluid which is more than two and half times denser than water to create electricity from gentle slopes, without requiring steep dam walls or high mountains like traditional hydropower. The project will use surplus electricity to pump the fluid uphill, then later when electricity is needed by the grid, the fluid will be released back down the hill through turbines to generate electricity.
  • EDF UK R&D will receive £7.73m to develop a hydrogen storage demonstrator utilising depleted uranium.

Climate minister Graham Stuart said: “Accelerating renewables is key to boosting our energy resilience. Energy storage helps us get the full benefit of these renewables, improving efficiency and helping drive down costs in the long term.

“This £32.9 million government backing will enable green innovators across the UK to develop this technology, helping create new jobs and encouraging private investment, while also safeguarding the UK’s energy security.”

The funding announced today follows the first phase of the LODES (Longer Duration Energy Storage) competition, which focused on smaller-scale energy storage projects. That competition saw £2.7m awarded to 19 projects. This second phase provides further funding to the most promising projects from Phase 1, enabling them to build prototypes and demonstrators to bring their projects to life.

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