The Supergen Network+ launches research and innovation roadmap for future technology deployment

The Supergen Energy Storage Network+ launched on the 2nd December 2020 in a dedicated event a Research and Innovation Roadmap for Energy Storage that assesses the potential role of energy storage in the UK’s future energy system and identifies the contribution of research and innovation to meeting the challenges. The University of Birmingham issued a press release about the launch event and the Roadmap, which you can view here.

This roadmap was prepared by Daniel Murrant, Jonathan Radcliffe, and Amruta Joshi, from the Energy Systems and Policy Analysis Group, University of Birmingham, also with the previous support from Energy SUPERSTORE through grant EP/L019469/1.

Lead author, Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, of the Energy Systems and Policy Analysis Group at the University of Birmingham, says: “Energy storage will play a critical role as we continue to integrate low-carbon energy systems. In order to accelerate this transition, we need robust energy storage technologies and clear strategies for implementing them. This roadmap will be important for prioritising and guiding current and future activities.”

Professor David Elmes of Warwick Business School, who chaired the roadmap’s launch webinar, said: “It’s great to see that the Energy Storage Research & Innovation Roadmap looks at electricity and heat together. The seasonal demand for heat greatly exceeds the UK’s current electricity demand.  A roadmap that covers multiple uses of energy is essential – heating, cooling, our current uses of electricity and also the rising demand as we electrify transport through EVs.”

Mr Philip Sharman, Director at Evenlode Associates and panellist at the Roadmap launch event said: “It is important that, alongside the government’s ‘10-point plan’ and upcoming Energy White Paper, we have clear roadmaps that guide us on what R&D and innovation is needed.  This one, on the crucial and integrating area of energy storage, is particularly needed at this time.”

Dr Alexandra Gormally of Lancaster University, said: “Given the huge challenges and opportunities we face as we transition to Net zero, this Roadmap couldn’t be more timely. Energy storage will be a fundamental part of our new energy future and this Roadmap will help guide us in our transition”

Professor Dan Gladwin of the University of Sheffield, said: “Over a third of the electrical energy in our homes is now supplied from renewable sources, and with increasing electrification of transport, more energy storage is needed. Whilst we have some storage solutions today to solve our short-term needs, the type of storage we need will evolve rapidly. This roadmap is important in that it details the requirements and actions needed to meet our storage needs to enable us to transition to a low-carbon future.”

Dr Alex Buckman, Practice Manager Networks and Energy Storage, Energy Systems Catapult, said: “The deployment of low carbon technologies needed by 2050 to meet net zero will require a significantly increased use of energy storage technologies across all vectors and durations. The recommendations made in this roadmap support this uptake through a series of realisable steps, accounting for both near term challenges and long term energy system transformation.”

If you couldn’t make it or if you want to see the event again, you can view the recording here.

We are pleased to say that the Roadmap document is now live and we invite you to view it online here.

Supergen Storage

A new Innovation Outlook report on Thermal Energy Storage by IRENA

This outlook from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlights key attributes of Thermal energy storage (TES) technologies and identifies priorities for ongoing research and development. More information is available here.

IRENA’s Innovation Outlook series analyses rapidly emerging renewable energy technologies (RETs) and examines ways to enhance their competitiveness. Each outlook identifies technology-, industry- and policy-related challenges and assesses the potential breakthroughs needed to accelerate the uptake.

This report has been completed with the support of Anabel Palacios Trujillo, Omar Saeed, Helena NavarroYulong Ding and Yi-Chung Chen from Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage and the Carbon Trust.

IRENA’s innovation outlook report on TES is available for downloading here.

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.


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.


If you have any questions please contact:

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


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.



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.