COP26 Engagement – Supergen Energy Storage Network+

In the lead up to COP26, we will be hosting and being involved in a range of engagement and communication activities on the role of Energy Storage technologies in achieving a net-zero energy system.

Energy Storage towards a Net-Zero Future , 24 June 2021

An interactive workshop organised by ECRs for ECRs to share their research and identify storage related key messages for COP26. Webinar topics focus on the role of energy storage research and innovation in achieving a net-zero future.

Supergen Director Prof. Yulong Ding and the Climate change: science and solutions briefings series of the Royal Society

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow this year, the Royal Society sought wide-ranging input from the global scientific community to produce the Climate change: science and solutions briefings. These briefings highlight the significant potential that research, development and deployment in 12 critical areas hold for climate action. Prof. Yulong Ding was leading briefing 3 “Lowcarbon heating and cooling: what science and technology can do to tackle the world’s largest source of carbon emissions”. 

Supergen Energy Storage Network+ presence at the Climate Exp0, 17-21 May 2021

Climate Exp0 –the first conference organised by the COP26 Universities Network and the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS), working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Our co-investigator Peter Bruce is charing the seccion on “Climate risk” on the 17th May at 9.30-10.30am. This session will explore climate risk in more detail including tipping points and systemic risk.

Glad to see our researcher Binjian Nie taking part in the ClimateExp0 conference, exploring solutions for a green recovery. “Experimental performance of a phase change material-based road/rail container for cold chain transportation“.

COP26 Universities Network: A growing group of over 55 UK-based universities and research centres working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference [Glasgow, Nov 2021]. The Network will create lasting partnerships and legacies that reach beyond this single event.

Hydrogen Storage in Caverns, 12 April 2021

There is broad consensus that hydrogen will have a major role to play in the collective move towards Net Zero. One major element of that role is very likely to be the provision of flexibility over very long timescales – possibly in the order of a month or upwards. Achieving high penetrations of renewables will demand the re-introduction of flexibility that was previously provided at almost zero cost from fossil-fuelled generation. Some loads already use hydrogen directly. Others such as heavy goods transportation and steel production may possibly become major hydrogen consumers in the future. High capacity storage enables the supply to feed-in and loads to draw-out at greatly different times. Hydrogen storage may also enable the backup generation of electricity at times when renewable resources are low.

Carnot Batteries – “Academia meets Industry”, 28 & 29 January 2021

The 2050 net-zero carbon economy requires a much higher penetration of renewable sources (RES) into our energy system. This poses a significant challenge in shifting the provision of base-load energy generation to intermittent energy generation and thus energy network stability. This calls for highly flexible, low-cost and energy-and-resource-efficient energy storage technologies to balance the energy supply and demand mismatch. Among the storage technology options, the emerging Carnot Battery technology provides a potentially low-cost and site-independent solution for electricity storage at medium to large scale.

Supergen Decarbonising Maritime Workshop, 25 January 2021

On 25 January we came together with the Supergen Bioenergy and Offshore Renewable Energy Hubs to hold a Maritime Decarbonising Workshop, to explore the challenges and opportunities of ‘decarbonising’ maritime, ahead of the upcoming Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. We were joined by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Maritime UK, as we worked together on how academia can support the maritime sector to achieve its decarbonisation targets.

About COP26

The UK will be hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021. The summit aims to bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26. More about COP26 here.

The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions by IEA

Minerals are essential components in many of today’s rapidly growing clean energy technologies – from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles. Demand for these minerals will grow quickly as clean energy transitions gather pace. This new World Energy Outlook Special Report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the complex links between these minerals and the prospects for a secure, rapid transformation of the energy sector.

Alongside a wealth of detail on mineral demand prospects under different technology and policy assumptions, it examines whether today’s mineral investments can meet the needs of a swiftly changing energy sector. It considers the task ahead to promote responsible and sustainable development of mineral resources, and offers vital insights for policy makers, including six key IEA recommendations for a new, comprehensive approach to mineral security.

You can download the full report here.

Electric vehicles on world’s roads expected to increase to 145m by 2030 – Guardian

Under existing climate policies, electric vehicles could wipe out use of 2m barrels a day of diesel and petrol

An electric car is charged by a mobile charging station on a street in Prague, Czech Republic.
An electric car is charged at a mobile station in Prague, Czech Republic. Photograph: David W Černý/Reuters

The number of electric cars, vans, trucks and buses on the world’s roads is on course to increase from 11m vehicles to 145m by the end of the decade, which could wipe out demand for millions of barrels of oil every day.

A report by the International Energy Agency has found that there could be 230m electric vehicles worldwide by 2030 if governments agreed to encourage the production of enough low-carbon vehicles to stay within global climate targets.

The IEA’s first global report on electric vehicles has found that sales in the first quarter of 2021 were more than 2.5 times higher than in the same months last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a string of recessions across global economies.

Despite the economic slowdown, which caused the global car industry to shrink by 16% last year, a record 3m new electric cars were registered around the world last year, to bring the total to 10m electric cars. There are also approximately 1m electric vans, heavy trucks and buses.

Read the full article here.

The role of ‘longer-duration storage’ in the future of energy

Highview Power’s liquid air energy storage (LAES) is being deployed at a 50MW / 250MWh site, with a portion of the costs supported by the UK government. Image: Highview Power.

What are the best ways to match up long-duration energy storage technologies to applications and revenues? And what is ‘longer-duration’ storage and when will we need it? Florian Mayr and Dr Fabio Oldenburg at Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory offer some perspectives. This is a short extract of an article which originally appeared in Vol.26 of PV Tech Power, our quarterly journal and can be found in the Storage & Smart Power section contributed to each edition by the team at 

Between five and more than 1,000 hours of energy discharge – that’s what the term “long-duration energy storage” encompasses in the industry today. It’s a very broad definition that covers a wide array of storage technologies and use cases.

An increasing number of projects within this diverse space has been announced over the last few months. UK transmission system operator National Grid ordered a 50MW overground liquid air energy storage (LAES) system with a five-hour discharge duration from Highview Power that will be connected to the grid in 2022.

Read the full article here.

Global Energy Review 2021 by IEA

The Global Energy Review 2021 will provide insights on the evolution of energy demand by fuel and region, and their related CO2 emissions, in 2021. Building on IEA analysis of the impacts of the Covid-19 on global energy demand in 2020, the report analyses the potential pathway for energy demand over the course of 2021 and its implications for CO2 emissions. Drawing on the latest statistical data and economic forecasts for 2021, the Global Energy Review 2021 will explore the factors affecting demand for electricity, oil, natural gas, coal, renewables and nuclear power.

You can download the report here.

Podcast: The rise of long-duration energy storage and lessons on floating solar from Asia

Solar Media’s Liam Stoker, Andy Colthorpe and Jules Scully profile the continued rise of long-duration energy storage in this episode of the Solar Media Podcast, sponsored by Honeywell, with a definitive look at the technology, policy and use-cases driving interest in long-duration energy storage. More information is available here.

The podcast can be streamed below:

A global assessment of net zero targets by The Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit and Oxford Net Zero

Taking Stock: A global assessment of net zero targets

In the report Taking Stock: A global assessment of net zero targets it is presented what is, the first quantitative analysis of net zero commitments across countries, sub-national governments and major companies. Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit teamed up with Oxford Net Zero, and surveyed more than 4,000 significant entities: all nations; all states and regions in the 25 highest-emitting countries; all cities with a population above 500,000; and all companies in the Forbes Global 2000 list.

Together, jurisdictions with net zero targets now represent at least:

Percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, GDP and population covered by national net zero pledges.

It was found that already 61% of countries, 9% of states & regions in the largest emitting countries and 13% of cities over 500k in population have now committed to net zero. Of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies, at least one-fifth (21%) now have net zero commitments, representing annual sales of nearly $14 trillion. A majority of these companies also have interim targets, a published plan and a reporting mechanism, with just over a quarter meeting a full set of ‘robustness criteria’.

Read the full article here.

Taking Stock presents a long-overdue ‘opening snapshot’ of net zero that will allow the robustness of targets to be tracked and assessed over time. Download the full report here to find out more.

Making plans for a hydrogen ‘backbone’ across Britain by National Grid

As Britain works toward reaching net zero by 2050, hydrogen is one solution to decarbonising our gas system. Project Union is National Grid’s development of a hydrogen ‘backbone’ to link industrial clusters around the country.

We are exploring the development of a UK hydrogen ‘backbone’, which aims to join together industrial clusters around the country, potentially creating a 2000km hydrogen network.

Repurposing around 25% of the current gas transmission pipelines, Project Union will build on the government’s 10-point plan to invest more than £1 billion to unlock the potential of hydrogen and support the establishment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in four industrial clusters.

It’s anticipated that the backbone could carry at least a quarter of the gas demand in Great Britain today, ensuring reliable, affordable and decarbonised energy for homes and businesses.

The project is exploring a hydrogen backbone connecting the Grangemouth, Teesside and Humberside clusters, as well as linking up with Southampton, the North West and South Wales clusters. As the clusters develop, we’ll be ready to join them up.

Using net zero development funding, we are financing a portfolio of net zero projects. One of these is the feasibility phase of Project Union, which will include: identifying pipeline routes; assessing the readiness of existing gas assets; and, determining a transition plan for assets in a way that supports the country’s net zero ambition.

The research will explore how we can start to convert pipelines in a phased approach by the end of the decade, aligning with government ambitions of producing five gigawatts of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030.

National Grid Project Union hydrogen backbone storyProject Union will also look at how to connect the backbone to the existing interconnectors coming into Bacton gas terminal in Norfolk, so allowing the UK to link with the EU hydrogen backbone that is also being developed – this could open up future import and export of hydrogen with European neighbours.

Read the full article here.

Energy storage technology is accelerating – but grids aren’t ready for the transition

Thanks in part to the pandemic-induced economic slowdown and the collapse of coal and triumph of wind power over the last decade, a new analysis suggests the UK is halfway to meeting its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. The ultimate goal of a fully renewable grid will depend on technology that can store clean electricity from wind farms for hours and days.

Since I began writing about energy storage in 2013, falling costs have prompted a surge in batteries being installed around the world. Just as silos store excess grain on farms for when it’s needed during lean periods, grid batteries store additional energy so that it can be used to keep the lights on when supply fails to match demand.

Historically, fossil fuels have provided that buffer in the energy system. Coal, oil and gas can be burned whenever needed to keep people driving, heating homes and turning on appliances. But tackling climate change will mean shifting to renewable energy generation – which can be patchy when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing – and swapping gas boilers and combustion engines for alternatives powered by clean electricity.

Read the full article here.

Thermo-mechanical technologies offer promise as grid-scale electricity storage

A new international review of bulk electricity storage technologies highlights the potential of thermo-mechanical energy storage.

Thermo-mechanical energy storage (TMES) technologies can offer a reliable, low-cost solution as grid-scale electricity storage, according to a comprehensive review led by researchers at Imperial College London.

The research, published in Progress in Energy, examines recent progress in the advancement of a range of TMES technologies, including compressed-air energy storage, liquid-air energy storage and pumped-thermal electricity storage.

Using a combined approach comprising validated thermodynamic models and estimates from multiple costing approaches, the researchers compared the technical and economic characteristics of these technologies and assessed their competitiveness against other bulk energy storage options such as flow batteries and pumped-hydro energy storage.

“This is the first time a detailed techno-economic analysis of the main thermo-mechanical energy storage options has been performed for a large range of sizes under a unified modelling framework,” says Andreas Olympios from the Department of Chemical Engineering.

The need for storage

Variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar now account for just over a quarter of global electricity generation, a share that is growing steadily, creating new challenges for electricity grids.

Read the full press release here.