£8m boost for low carbon energy storage innovation

Published on Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:56
Written by Daniel Mason

Two British companies have been awarded over £8m to spur on innovation in storing energy, the energy and climate change minister Greg Barker announced today.

The announcement comes as UK public funders of low carbon innovation today provide enhanced investor certainty, with the publication of a joint strategic framework by the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group.

The contract has been awarded to a partnership of Viridor Waste Management Ltd and Highview Power Storage, as part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's innovation competition to support energy storage technology research and development.

Viridor and Highview will use the funding to develop a technology to store air in a liquid format, which can then be used to supply electricity at times of high demand. The technology will be connected to the National Grid, and will be used to test balancing supply and demand using stored energy.

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: "Storing energy will become increasingly important in the move towards a low carbon economy, and has the potential to save the energy system over £4bn by 2050.

"Energy storage systems are potentially revolutionary technologies – just imagine how much the energy system will change if we're able to manage supply and demand better by storing energy cost-effectively, not to mention the benefits for British research and manufacturing industries."

Gareth Brett, CEO of Highview Power Storage, said: "By selecting to fund the demonstration of Highview's Liquid Air Energy Storage system, Decc has given a British company a great opportunity to begin commercialising a home grown, innovative technology that has the potential to make a major contribution in terms of helping balance electricity systems in the future.

"The collaboration with Viridor will enable Highview to showcase the technology at larger scale, harvesting waste heat from landfill gas engines and demonstrating our readiness for deployment elsewhere."

Viridor chief executive, Ian McAulay said: "We are pleased to have secured funding for this important project. With ever growing pressure on natural resources, it is essential that we develop innovative and sustainable methods to generate and store energy not only to cut down our carbon footprint but to ensure long-term energy security.

"Innovation has been at the heart of successful businesses in Britain and it is great news that the government recognises and supports its development."

At present, almost all electricity is generated when required and networks are designed to accommodate highest demands, even if they are of very short duration.

Energy storage systems offer the opportunity to store surplus electricity for use at times of high demand. This innovative technology could play an important role in supporting UK growth in low carbon, renewable energy sources and in maintaining security of electricity supply in the UK.

Source: Decc

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