Industry Challenges 2020-2035+ – Advanced Propulsion Centre

This document outlines the R&D challenges for Electrical Energy Storage across a diverse
range of automotive applications. The industry challenges are intrinsically linked with the 2020
Automotive Council roadmaps and should be read in conjunction with the narrative report to
provide a context and background to the rationale behind the challenges. Developed via a consensus
process, this report highlights the most significant technology themes and specific R&D examples to springboard innovation.

The report is available here.

Supergen ‘Fishbowl’ conversation

Fishbowl conversation: What might energy systems look like in a net zero world?

Ramshorn Theatre, Glasgow 4 November

In the afternoon of the 4th of November (Energy Day) during COP26, the UK Research and Innovation Supergen programme held a public engagement event at the Ramshorn Theatre, central Glasgow. The ‘fishbowl’ conversation was facilitated by Steve Connor and saw members of the public from different backgrounds discuss and debate their visions for a net zero energy future, with academic support from Supergen researchers.

Supergen early career researchers delivering net zero energy research

Within the Supergen energy research programme, we work to support our early career researchers (ECRs) to deliver the research we need to reach net zero. The run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow provided a key point with which to engage our ECRs who come from multidisciplinary backgrounds across the six Supergen Hubs:

Empowering and developing ECRs

By working with the ECR communities within each Hub earlier this year and ahead of COP26, we identified a need to provide skills and development in the communication of science in order to empower our ECRs to demonstrate just how their research is contributing to the fight against the climate crisis.

We committed funding for a multidisciplinary cohort of ECRs to attend two sessions delivered by The Conversation, where they worked together to develop pitches for the media, sharing ideas and collaborating on the best approaches. This resulted in Energy Networks Hub ECR Ali Ehsan (University of Manchester) being published in The Conversation.

Providing a platform for ECR voices

Two months ahead of COP26, we held our own Supergen Net Zero Conference prior to which we convened a cross-Hub multidisciplinary group of Supergen ECRs to design, develop and deliver a three-hour programme for the ECR Forum, which took place at the beginning of the conference.

The most popular session at the conference, the ECR Forum was split into hour-long sessions focusing on the UKRI COP26 priorities of:

  • greening the economy and society
  • the future of sustainable transport
  • securing a global transition to clean energy.

A mix of ‘flash talks’ and panel discussions from a variety of ECRs from different technological backgrounds explored the role of research in delivering net zero and highlighted the willingness of ECRs to go beyond their technological niches. It also demonstrated the desire among ECRs for collaborative, whole-systems research activities that take multidisciplinary approaches to net zero energy research.

Supporting ECRs to continue to deliver net zero energy research

As an output of the discussions, Supergen ECRs have published this paper which explores strategic priorities for net zero energy research and for developing more sustainable research methodologies. It offers the thoughts and opinions of ECRs as to where research and innovation is needed if we are to reach net zero by 2050.

The paper outlines the perspectives of ECRs on the challenge that lies ahead of them, and amplifies their voices in calling for additional support to help them continue to deliver groundbreaking energy research, and to take on a bigger role in the journey to net zero.

The paper can be downloaded here.

Climate finance briefing by COP26 Universities

Climate finance is essential to tackle climate change in a rapid and just manner.

Key messages
• Sustainable, resilient and inclusive climate finance cannot be effectively achieved without clear and
consistent policies and regulation.
• Both public and private climate finance must be accelerated to fill the gap between current
investment and that required to achieve a swift transition to net zero in line with the Paris Agreement.
• Realigning global capital through a mainstreaming of climate and sustainability into all financing
operations is urgently needed. Private sector action, currently driven by transition risk, requires effective
policy frameworks for pricing of externalities and reporting on performance.
• A global goal for adaptation is required to drive the mobilisation of greater amounts of capital.
Tracking the impact of adaptation interventions and emphasising their multiple benefits are key to
upscaling adaptation finance.
• Addressing loss and damage plays a critical role in building trust between parties, but negotiators
must better recognise the challenges associated with liability concerns.
• Increasing the effectiveness of, and access to, funding requires greater country and local ownership
of climate and development finance.
• The Green Climate Fund should be re-engineered to leverage more finance from contributor
countries, encourage private sector engagement and provide better direct access to the most
vulnerable countries.

You can read how finance can be mobilised – and how it can be deployed effectively to address local needs here.

Flexible Funding Call 2021 (Round 1) – Supergen Energy Storage Network+

Supergen StorageA major deliverable for the Supergen Network+ is its flexible funding scheme. A total of £410,000 is available over the next four years to support development through travel and conference grants, feasibility studies and research projects that will enhance existing knowledge to facilitate academic, industrial, policy or international impact.

Expressions of Interests (EoIs) are sought for a piece of work that will deliver an organic on-line document as a key outcome from Supergen Energy Storage Network+. This document will be referred to as “Energy Storage: Gaps and Opportunities Analysis” (ESGOA). It may well be that this work can be developed further to become an independent publication in the area of Energy Storage and the successful applicants will be entitled to submit a manuscript on this basis provided that the support of EPSRC and the Supergen Energy Storage Network+ is acknowledged.

A total of £8,000 is available in the current round of funding. The maximum ‘cost’ per project is £10,000 (at 100% FEC); the maximum funding available by Supergen Network+ is £8,000 (at 80% FEC) per project. Only one submission per applicant is permitted.

The ESGOA document will provide a structured mechanism by which workers in the community can input and harmonise views about the domain of energy storage. It will also serve as a repository of links to evidence about the existence of these gaps and opportunities. The exact format of the organic document is not prescribed but an early part of this work should be to present a proposal for the format. Subsequent to the discussion and agreement on that format, the successful applicant will start to populate some sections of that document. Importantly, ESGOA is intended to be operated for several years after initiation and this has several ramifications. Firstly, the document must be accessible over the internet and must offer open access to all who have the link but must have edit rights restricted to approved users. Secondly, it must be archived regularly so that at worst the loss of data from a human or system error is limited to two weeks maximum. Thirdly, it must not be locked to any one academic institution – or if it is, there must be clear and explicit agreement from the outset that a copy will be released if/when required by EPSRC and the original site will be closed with redirection to the new site. A Google Sheets document is one possible format but not the only possibility.

More information is available here.

What are the battery technologies of the future by the Telegraph

The search is on for revolutionary new battery tech solutions, but what are the competing cell chemistries for the next generation of EVs?

The search is on for revolutionary new energy-storage solutions
The search is on for revolutionary new energy-storage solutions From lithium sulphur, sodium ion, solid state to lithium-iron phosphate, there’s lots of new options out there

Energy, as defined by Issac Newton and Émilie du Châtelet, cannot be destroyed or created, but as we’re beginning to find out, it’s still pretty elusive stuff and darned difficult and expensive to store. Whether it’s the natural-gas storage facilities we don’t have, our non-existent hydrogen buffers for surplus renewable electricity, or the frighteningly expensive lithium-ion battery in an electric car, it costs money.

Read the full article here.

What might energy systems look like in a net zero world?

Fishbowl conversation: What might energy systems look like in a net zero world?

Ramshorn Theatre, Glasgow 4 November, 1.30-3pm

Apply to be part of a live event in Glasgow at COP26!

In the afternoon of the 4th of November (Energy Day) during COP26, the UK Research and Innovation Supergen programme will be holding a public engagement event at the Ramshorn Theatre, central Glasgow. The ‘fishbowl’ conversation will see members of the public from different backgrounds discuss and debate their visions for a net zero energy future, with academic support from Supergen researchers, and the event will be live-streamed to those who cannot make it in-person (tickets available here:

We are seeking participants who will be in Glasgow during the 4th of November and are interested in taking part in the discussion at the Ramshorn Theatre, between 13:00-14:30 GMT. In order to ensure we obtain a diverse selection of the public for debate, we will be reviewing and selecting from those who register an interest via this form:

The debate will be structured around the themes below:

Chapter 1: How do we generate our energy in a net zero world?

Chapter 2: How do we deliver that net zero energy to the public?

Chapter 3: How do we utilise that net zero energy?

Chapter 4: What steps should the UK be taking to make our energy system net zero by 2050?

Prior to the debate, participants will receive a briefing with related information on energy systems from Supergen.

Please note that we will not be funding travel or accommodation costs, therefore please only register interest if you are already planning to be in Glasgow during the 4th of November or are located nearby.

If you have any queries or would like to know more before applying, please email Dan Taylor, COP26 Engagement Manager (

Supergen Cross Hub Report: Impact of COVID-19 on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Research

As part of our ED&I initiatives, we recently collaborated with the Supergen Energy NetworksSolar Network PlusOffshore Renewable Energy Hub, and Bioenergy Hub to develop a survey as to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on our networks and stakeholders work to further support our ED&I activities.

Comments and responses to the survey will be read and incorporated into our future action plan.

A copy of the report is available to view here.

Supergen programme delivers net zero conference exploring the role of energy research ahead of COP26

The Supergen Net Zero Conference took place on the 1-3 September 2021. Researchers and stakeholders from the six Supergen Hubs/Networks (covering storage, bioenergy, solar, offshore renewables, hydrogen and fuel cells, and energy networks) came together ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow later this year, with a showcase designed to connect research across the Supergen programme, as well as, show what the next steps should be for UK research and innovation to meet our global commitments.

The full programme of the net zero conference is available below.


The recordings of all the conference sessions are available on our YouTube channel here.

The role, value and needs of Energy Storage for Net-Zero by 2050

Dr Haris Patsios from Newcastle University, a co-director of the Supergen Network+, chaired “The role, value and needs of Energy Storage for Net-Zero by 2050” session. Haris also introduced the Supergen Network+’s main objectives and activities and its role in supporting early career researchers, academic/industry engagement, and UK research and innovation. Over 100 attendees joined the session.

Our first speaker was Prof. Andrew Cruden from University of Southampton and Supergen Network+ Co-I. He explained how energy storage can support the transition of transport to net-zero. Key messages that he conveyed include: technology race remains in battery materials; government support and subsidy delivers changes; recycle and re-use of end of life batteries are crucial; vehicle to grid (V2G) is key to enable linkage between transport energy storage and grid sectors. Prof. Zhibin Yu from the University of Glasgow discussed the importance of thermal storage in heating and cooling decarbonisation. He highlighted the challenges in meeting the winter peak for heating and the important role of both inter-seasonal and short term thermal energy storage”. Prof. Jihong Wang from University of Warwick and Deputy Director of the Supergen Network+ focused on the need for large scale energy storage in the power sector. She summarised the needs and market proposition for large scale long duration energy storage.

A panel discussion followed including the speakers and Dr. Bart de Leeuw, Head of Smart Energy Innovation from BEIS, who gave a policy perspective, and Dr Yongliang Li, University of Birmingham, who discussed heating and cooling aspects.

Introduction to Supergen Network+, Haris Patsios, Newcastle University

The role, value and needs of Energy Storage to Net-Zero 2050 – Transport, Andrew Cruden, University of Southampton

The Role of Thermal Storage in the Future Net-Zero Heating and Cooling System, Zhubin Yu, University of Glasgow

Electrical Energy Storage Need for Net-Zero 2050, Jihong Wang, University of Warwick

Government should have moved earlier to low-carbon, say industry experts by The Guardian

Energy crisis could have been lessened if more had been done to shift UK market towards renewables

A solar power array.
Solar power has plummeted in cost in recent years, despite a lack of support from the government, and is forecast to be the cheapest form of power within a few years. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
Renewable energy and low-carbon heating could do much more to alleviate the gas supply problems of the future – and could have done much to reduce the impact of this winter’s soaring gas prices, if the government had done more to shift the UK’s energy market sooner, industry experts have said.


The gas supply crunch has prompted a flurry of government meetings with industry, and reassurances in parliament on Monday from the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, that “there is no question of the lights going out” and that the UK is “highly resilient”.

But the supply issue demonstrates that fossil fuels are inherently subject to wild price fluctuations, which happen at least once a decade, according to Roger Fouquet, of the London School of Economics. “Price volatility is an inevitable part of the fossil fuel energy system,” he said. “Renewables do not suffer from these market-related problems.”

Read the full article here.