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UK government grants for long-term energy storage projects
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has awarded almost £7mn to 24 UK projects developing innovative new energy storage technologies that can help maximise the use of renewables.
Phase 1 of the £68mn ‘Longer Duration Energy Storage’ (LODES) competition awards funding based on technology performance and the potential to reduce the cost of meeting net zero by utilising stored energy as heat, electricity or hydrogen.
Further funding from Phase 2 of the LODES competition will be available to projects that successfully demonstrate the potential to commercialise their technologies to encourage private investment, support commercialisation and create new jobs.
The largest grant, worth £986,000, was awarded to B9 Energy Storage’s Ballylumford Power-to-X project in Larne, Northern Ireland. This intends to extend the duration of energy storage technologies by storing green hydrogen produced by electrolysers in underground salt caverns for use both in transport and for the displacement of natural gas in fuel blending trials.
David Surplus, Managing Director of B9 Energy commented: ‘The award of this government funding from BEIS marks a pivotal moment in B9’s nine-year quest to define and develop a GW-scale energy storage project that will allow offshore wind farms to be connected to the Northern Ireland electricity network without the attendant risk of life-long business interruption caused by curtailment.’
Another grant of over £470,000 has been awarded to the PowerBundle concept, a combination of FLASC’s Hydro-Pneumatic Energy Storage (HPES) technology and Subsea 7’s subsea pipeline bundle technology to develop an offshore energy storage system.
BEIS has given an additional £912,000 to Edinburgh-based Gravitricity to develop plans to build a first-of-a-kind 4 MWh multi-weight energy storage system on a UK brownfield site.
The funding will contribute towards a feasibility project which aims to complete late this year. This should inform the firm on how to build a full-scale commercial prototype that stores electricity by raising and lowering heavy weights in a custom-built shaft.
Gravitricity’s patented design could offer long duration energy storage at a lower levelised cost than similar technologies, including lithium-ion batteries, according to analysts at Imperial College.
Managing Director of Gravitricity Charlie Blair said: ‘Our multi-weight concept has been proven by our Leith demonstrator where two 25-tonne weights were configured to run independently, delivering smooth continuous output when lowered one after the other. We were able to demonstrate a roundtrip efficiency of more than 80% and the ability to ramp up to full import or export power in less than a second.’
New energy storage system