Are you a clean tech superhero looking for new markets & an opportunity to access investment?

ACT4Green is your place to be!

Under the UK-India Tech Partnership, the British government has joined forces with the leading clean tech accelerators in India and the UK with aim to strengthen the clean tech start-up ecosystems by helping them gain access and establish powerful connections with venture capital networks in both countries.

ACT4Green stands for Accelerating CleanTech for Green; a programme by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK Government.

A cohort of 20-30 promising Indian and UK clean tech start-ups will be assembled for an intensive capacity development programme culminating in a pitch event with great opportunity to access new investment.

Who should apply?

Clean tech start-ups who are

– registered in India or the UK

– demonstrate a digital technology component

– looking to expand nationally or internationally (including the UK).

‘Clean tech’ for this programme covers new technologies that enable innovations in smart grid and energy storage, green transportation, and energy efficiencies in cities, buildings and industries (aka ‘smart technologies’).

We have a special focus on promoting green transportation/mobility technology. Startups from Maharashtra are encouraged to apply.

Women-led startups are encouraged to apply.

More information available here.

Grid Scale Storage Workshop – EPSRC

EPSRC is holding a virtual community workshop in Grid Scale Storage on 18 and 19 January 2021. This will be an interdisciplinary workshop bringing together both industrial and academic researchers who are addressing challenges in areas relating to grid scale storage.

This workshop will identify the limitations in current approaches and will facilitate the identification of research challenges and opportunities in the area. In addition to evaluating the science behind these ideas, the social and economic implications will also be considered. The workshop will give attendees the opportunity to feed into EPSRC strategic development for the area.

This virtual workshop will take place on zoom. Sifting of EoIs will need to take place as only 30 slots are available for open competition.

Background

The challenges facing Grid Scale Storage require input from individuals working across a multitude of Energy research areas including: Energy Storage, End Use Energy Demand (Energy Efficiency), Networks, Whole Energy Systems, Hydrogen and Alternative Energy Vectors.

Grid Scale Storage is a particularly difficult challenge as it will require coordination across multiple energy vectors at scale. In addition to the scientific challenges, this will have significant economic and societal costs associated with any proposed solution(s) and any potential inconvenience to the consumer. Furthermore, significant capital investments will be required to meet the demand for grid scale storage in this country.

This workshop aims to investigate targeted requirements for intervention in the area of Grid Scale Storage. No specific technologies are currently identified as out of scope; however, the focus of the research should be on providing this storage at scale to meet the demands of users and to mitigate the issues caused by the intermittency of renewables as their share of generation looks to increase. It will bring together industry and academia to jointly identify and address these challenges and support the community and research domain to grow as to increase the UK’s capability in the area.

The attendees will be shortlisted based on a brief internal evaluation within the Energy team, ensuring that a broad and diverse range of expertise and voices are covered from relevant research disciplines and technologies. Preference will be given to candidates with significant knowledge and experience in grid scale storage research though at least one space will be allocated to an Early Career Researcher.

Expected criteria for shortlisting are:

  • Relevant experience in the area of Grid Scale Storage or related topics (250 words max)
  • Academia or Industry
  • Early Career Researcher (Y/N)
  • Availability

Please complete the Smart Survey to register your interest in attending this virtual workshop.

This survey will be open from 16 November 2020 and will close on 15 December 2020 at 16:00.

Contact

If you have any questions please contact:

EU tries to stop fossil fuel companies suing states over climate action

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The EU is trying to remove fossil fuels from the list of investments protected by the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in order to stop its member states being sued over climate action.

Similar cases could cost taxpayers across the world up to €1.3 trillion ($1.5tn) by 2050, according to the Open Exp think tank, based on the value of fossil fuel assets protected by the treaty. Just under half of these costs would fall on the EU.

The EU has been pushing for green reform of the treaty but all 53 ECT countries need to be on board for changes to be made and Japan and Central Asian countries have blocked reforms.

Read the full article here.

New IAEA Publication Highlights Status of SMR Development

A new IAEA publication on small modular reactors (SMRs), among the most promising emerging technologies in nuclear power, can help countries identify reactor designs to suit their needs as they look for reliable and affordable energy sources to slash greenhouse gas emissions and drive sustainable development.

The 2020 edition of the biennial IAEA booklet Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments, published last month, provides the latest data and information on SMRs around the world, including detailed descriptions of 72 reactors under development or construction in 18 countries. Expanding on the previous edition, the booklet for the first time contains annexes on waste management and disposal as well as a section on microreactors, which are very small SMRs intended for niche applications.

More information here.

Climate crisis: Wind and solar produce record 10% of world’s electricity, but scientists warn faster change is needed

Use of coal is falling and renewables are surging around the world, but the progress is not enough to meet the targets set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, scientists have warned.

Over the first half of 2020, wind turbines and solar panels together produced a record 10 per cent of the world’s electricity – a rise of 14 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile power output from coal plants fell by 8.3 per cent, and overall electricity demand fell 3 per cent due to coronavirus lockdowns, according to a report by independent climate think tank Ember.

Despite the drop, coal plants still produced 33 per cent of the world’s electricity during the period.

Read the full article here.

Nuclear power could produce hydrogen, heat homes and decarbonise industry with surplus heat and electricity

A new generation of nuclear reactors could help the UK cut carbon emissions by harnessing surplus energy to heat homes, produce hydrogen, and decarbonise industry, according to a report by the Royal Society.

The Nuclear cogeneration: civil nuclear energy in a low-carbon future policy briefing sets out how planned and future nuclear projects can complement renewables and help the UK meet its net-zero carbon emissions pledge by 2050.

Cogeneration gives nuclear power the flexibility to function in an energy system where a growing proportion of electricity comes from intermittent renewables. When domestic energy demand is being met by wind, solar, or other sources, cogeneration allows a nuclear plant to switch from electricity generation to cogeneration applications such as the production of hydrogen.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are of particular interest. These are reactors producing 300Mw of energy or less, which can be built in factories and deployed in stages. This should mean lower investment costs and economies of scale in construction. It also gives greater flexibility in locating stations, and allows them to be tailored to the energy needs of regional or industrial clusters

The next generation of SMRs – known as Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) – are expected to generate temperatures in excess of 600°C which are required by some of the hardest to de-carbonise processes, such as chemical production. It could potentially be used in the steel making process to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

“This is a real opportunity for nuclear,” Professor Robin Grimes FREng FRS, the report’s lead author and a professor of materials physics at Imperial College London, said. “What cogeneration gives us is options, and frankly, we need options when facing an uncertain future.”

“It will have to be a staged process,” Professor Grimes added. “We’ve already begun the move to electrification – most clearly in cars. Then you can look at using some nuclear power to produce hydrogen with electrolysis, and for low-carbon district heating.

“The much more difficult decarbonisation, like the chemical industry, that’s where you need advanced modular reactors, because they provide very high temperature heat.

“We could demonstrate the feasibility of a high temperature AMR reactor by 2035, while SMRs could be on the grid by 2028. It would be a key component of meeting the UK’s 2050 target.”

Read the full article here.

IMMEDIATE NEED FOR SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENT IN ENERGY STORAGE

ENERGY RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP |ERP ENERGY STORAGE REPORT

With the transition towards Net-Zero, our increasing reliance on weather dependent energy generation will leave a significant gap in the UK’s energy supply without continuing to use existing fossil fuel reserves.

Increasingly the UK’s electricity supply is reliant upon gas and diesel reciprocating engines to plug the gap when renewable generation is limited due to weather conditions. Short-term engine operating cycles of less than ten minutes result in very low electrical efficiencies and high levels of localised air pollution.

Market uncertainty has slowed the roll-out of battery energy storage assets which are required to replace gas and diesel engines in Fast Response Contracts. Battery energy storage technology (Li-ion) is limited to operating periods of less than 2 hours and are generally unable to access around 50% of the installed capacity due to technical constraints.

Reduced renewable energy generation in excess of 2 hours is reliant on gas and diesel reciprocating engines due to CCGT and Nuclear power generation availability at short notice. Further increases of up to 8GW in electrical demand by 2030 is expected due to the forecasted growth in electric powered vehicles. Electrical storage using pumped hydro in the UK has lacked investment and electro-mechanical technologies are still in their infancy, lacking industry and government focus.

Around 80% of the UK’s heat demand is currently supplied by natural gas which is unlikely to be compatible with the Government’s ‘Net-Zero 2050’ target. The expected growth in heat pump deployment for hot water and space heating will add significant electrical demand on the system particularly during periods of low solar electrical energy availability. Although the efficiency of heat pumps is well proven, retrofitting this technology within older properties will require further investment in improving insulation and heat storage.

Immediate and substantial sums of government and private investment (through research, development and guaranteed market pricing) is needed to transform the current capacity for future energy storage to one that is fit for purpose in 30 years’ time. Without urgent action, the UK is on the path to missing the Net-Zero target by 2050 despite how much green energy we can generate. Current storage models alone, are not robust enough or meet the economies of scale needed for future energy demands and generation scenarios.The outcomes of this report advise that in order to drive the investment requirements as stated:

• BEIS and Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) should convene a Working Group focussed on analytical and modelling frameworks that include thermal, mobility and power services, to assess the potential contribution of energy storage and its technical characteristics.

• BEIS and Ofgem should convene Working Groups to develop strategies which will attract and secure private investment in infrastructure across the UK network.

The latest report from the Supergen Network+ Co-Director Dr Jonathan Radcliffe & the Energy Research Partnership highlights the need for immediate & substantial investment in Energy Storage for the UK to not miss its net zero target.

Please find the full report here.

Boris Johnson promises a UK offshore wind revolution – but China holds the monopoly on vital ‘rare earth’ metals

It wasn’t so long ago that the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, said wind turbines “couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding”. He now seems to have undergone something of a Damascene conversion, promising to boost the government’s target for offshore wind deployment to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. Enough, he claims, to power every home in the country.

Offshore wind energy is cheaper than gas power stations or nuclear power, so economically this is a policy no-brainer. The Committee on Climate Change has stated that the UK’s offshore wind capacity should be 75GW by 2050 to achieve net-zero emissions, while others imagine even more ambitious scenarios, so redoubling commitment to offshore wind is welcome.

The government estimates the policy will support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030. How many of these turbines will be made in the UK is unclear, but “government sources” are alleged to have promised that 60% will originate in Britain. An independent assessment concluded the government would need to commit almost £50 billion (USD$64.5 billion) to pull this off – substantially more than the £160 million currently pledged to upgrade the UK’s ports and factories.

Please find the full article here.

Heating homes with hydrogen: Are we being sold a pup?

The expression ‘to sell someone a pup’ comes from an old confidence trick, where a bag purportedly containing a piglet would be sold, only for the new owner to discover that it actually contained a puppy. It was a cruel deception at a time when a piglet to fatten would have been hard-won and prized – and there is a danger that proposals to heat homes with hydrogen are also offering a solution worth much less than first appears.

Net-zero emissions targets mean there is no space in future energy systems for the continued use of fossil gas, including for heat in buildings. The gas industry is quite rightly worried about what this means for its business, but hydrogen appears to have thrown a lifeline to the gas industry by trying to sell the idea that we can simply replace fossil gas with hydrogen using existing gas infrastructure. However, there is rarely a simple solution to a complicated problem.

Read the full article here.

Supergen Cross-Hub Workshops and Seedcorn Funding

Current and future research challenges for sustainable energy generation, transmission, storage and utilisation span a range of disciplines. Three of the Supergen programmes, Supergen Energy Storage Network+, Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub, and Supergen Energy Networks Hub, have come together to hold a series of virtual cross-discipline workshops, bringing together Academics, Researchers, Practitioners and companies to explore the common challenges, synergies and opportunities with a goal to achieving step changes towards the highly ambitious net-zero carbon 2050 vision.Following the workshops the three Supergen programmes are making seedcorn funding available to fund specific projects seeking solutions and pathways for the prioritised challenges identified within the cross-discipline workshops. The intention is to fund cross-discipline collaborations that carry out pilot studies to enable new and adventurous research, ultimately leading to further grant applications through existing funding bodies.

A total of £75,000 seedcorn funding per workshop is available for pilot studies, and applications from collaborative groups will be capped to allow for three or four studies from each workshop to be funded. Further details regarding the funding and the process for applying for seedcorn funding will be made available during the workshop.

We are using the online platform, Well Sorted, to facilitate both the scope and submission of topics in advance of the workshop.

This will enable topic ideas to be submitted and prioritised by delegates in advance, so that the workshop can be split into relevant breakout rooms by topic theme with a focus on further developing topic ideas and identifying potential collaborators.

The survey for topics / ideas within Well Sorted will close
at 5pm (BST) on Friday 2nd October 2020.

Full details are outlined in the PDF documents which can be downloaded by clicking the links below.

Registration details for workshops 1 (PDF format)

Workshop 1 theme: Offshore Renewable Energy Transmission and Storage – Technology & Pathways

Date: 27 October 2020
Time: 14:00 – 16:30
Location: Online Zoom meeting (the link and password to the meeting will be available via Eventbrite once the Well-Sorted survey and event registration has been completed).

The scope of this workshop covers existing offshore infrastructure and technology and how both can be adapted and transformed to yield synergies for energy transmission and storage.

Regisration details for workshops 2 (PDF format)

Workshop 2 theme: Co-Design of Offshore Renewables with Network & Storage Vectors – Future systems

Date: 6 November 2020
Time: 14:00 – 16:30
Location: Online Zoom meeting (the link and password to the meeting will be available via Eventbrite once the Well-Sorted survey and event registration has been completed).

The scope of this workshop covers energy vectors for offshore renewables. Energy vectors allow to make energy available to be used at a distance/different time from the source of generation. Typical energy vectors relevant for offshore energy are electricity, hydrogen, compressed gas. The workshop will consider the development and co-design of future offshore energy vector systems.

OUR PARTNERS