In 2012 the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded the Energy Storage Capital Grants call, where fifteen institutions received £30m of funding across five consortia for the development and testing of energy storage technologies that span application areas. The consortia leads were the University of Birmingham, Imperial College, Loughborough University, the University of Manchester, and the University of Sheffield.
In 2016 these institutions secured a £4m investment from EPSRC to deliver the Multi-scale Analysis for Facilities for Energy Storage (MANIFEST) project, where the UK Energy Storage Observatory is a major deliverable.
Over the last five years the potential for energy storage to meet the challenge of balancing supply and demand of energy has been recognised by industry and policy makers. Energy storage has the potential to meet global challenges which are driving energy system change; providing remote communities with access to power; meeting the energy demands caused by increasing urbanisation; and ageing energy infrastructure. Although the purpose of energy storage can range from meeting the needs of individuals and households, local and city level distribution networks to those of the high-voltage transmission grid, advances in energy storage devices and their integration into energy systems are needed to meet the required performance and cost levels.
MANIFEST includes an interdisciplinary programme of research, building on previous Government investment, to tackle some of the key challenges currently facing the energy storage community. The research programme draws on the collective expertise and facilities that exist within the consortia, and will address questions that span the variety of energy storage technologies being developed – maximising the impact of all the test-bed energy storage demonstrators.
Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, Head of the Energy Systems
and Policy Analysis Group at the University of Birmingham,
is the MANIFEST Principal Investigator.
MANIFEST addresses a set of research questions that apply across the technologies supported by the UK Government’s investment.
The programme of research considers key challenges from materials to devices, across length scales, to systems.
- How materials are used in energy storage technologies, including batteries and thermal energy?
- How processes are modelled in the technologies, and validating the models with experiment?
- How energy storage devices can be integrated into the energy system most effectively?
- How data from operational runs of pilot plants can improve our understanding of the role of energy storage?
The investigators have taken a challenge based approach to the MANIFEST project, with three key challenges identified:
- Improving energy storage technologies is limited by our knowledge of the materials and the processes that affect them during charge and discharge cycles;
- Energy storage technologies need to access value spread across markets, though performance characteristics of a single device may limit their applications; and
- To make best use of large volumes of data generated by experimental and operational research activities that could benefit other RCUK-funded projects and the wider community.
MANIFEST can catalyse improved understanding of physical processes, accelerated technology development, and shared learning from the operation of energy storage technologies. The research drives collaboration between multiple institutions, grows the national research and innovation community, increases recognition of the UK’s role in energy storage, and maximises the impact from publicly-funded energy storage facilities on the international energy landscape.Read More
UKESTO received further funding from the EPSRC through the Supergen Energy Storage Network+. The Supergen Network+ is an integrated, forward-looking platform that supports, nurtures the expertise of the energy storage community, disseminating it through academia, industry, and policy, at a particularly important time when decisions on future funding and research strategy are still being resolved.
The Supergen Network+ secured £1M in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and has a core partnership of 19 investigators from 12 UK institutions, all focused on the wider advancement, exchange and dissemination of energy storage expertise. A further 100 organisations from the UK and abroad have pledged their support for the network.