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Renewable energy represents one of the key issues of the political agendas, at the center of many debates. Experts show that, across the world, many countries are reinforcing their efforts to improve the way we store and distribute energy. We are moving towards more sustainable forms of energy generation, such as wind and solar power.

In this context, experts stress that improving the way we store energy is a key element for the UK’s energy security, allowing us to separate energy generation and its usage.

Finding a better way to store energy will represent a good starting point to save energy when it’s generated, and use it when it’s required.

In this way, we could overcome the main disadvantages of our system, where generation has to match the demand in real time, experts inform.

Experts have explained that the UK’s first two-megawatt lithium-titanate battery will be connected to the energy grid, as part of a new project: the research will try to tackle the challenges of industrial-scale energy storage.

This project tries to test the technological and economic challenges of using giant batteries to provide support to the grid, experts say.

According to the researchers, the lithium-titanate battery was chosen since it is faster to charge, last longer and is used safer than its common alternative, lithium ion, especially in terms of the reduced fire risk. Additionally, it will represent the largest battery of its type installed in the UK, experts stress.

Data reveal that some companies are willing to consider the installation of large batteries in their own premises, mainly for storing excess electricity from renewable sources.

However, the high capital costs and the uncertainties over how they might work commercially have meant that the use of this technology is still very slow. In relation to this, the researchers outline that the study has the objective to answer some of these concerns, proving the viability of the new technology.

The scale of this project will allow to record results at the industrial scale, as opposed to typical laboratory prototypes, experts outline. In this way, the research will try to fill the gap between academic research and industrial needs.

Additionally, this project will be in operation from February 2015.

Experts highlight that large scale batteries could reduce the need to keep energy generators on standby to respond to peaks in demand.

However, there are concerns and doubts how this might be best managed commercially.

The research will explore also the advantages of grid-connected energy storage in a typical operating environment, without commercial constraints. Researchers will try to show how the technology fits in our existing energy structures, improving faster adoption by the sector in order to enhance how the grid functions and its overall stability. According to the researchers, these projects could represent a good model for businesses in future.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Friday, 14 November 2014

(Source: The Guardian)