EDF UK long-duration energy storage projects win UK Government backing
£2 million in funding awarded for four projects
EDF UK has received £2 million in funding from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) to support four innovative methods of storing electricity for long periods of time, with R&D UK Centre playing a major role in three of the projects.
The four long-duration energy storage (LDES) demonstration projects will help to achieve the UK’s plan for net zero by balancing the intermittency of renewable energy, creating more options for sustainable, low-cost energy storage in the UK. The funding is part of a £68 million first-of-its-kind programme to increase the options for long-duration storage in the UK by scaling new LDES prototypes. Each of the unique projects will store electricity over weekly or even monthly fluctuations, providing vital backup for times when renewable energy is not being produced.
What are these projects?
One project will investigate the potential for storing electricity via Compressed Air in Thermal Generation’s mothballed gas storage cavities in Cheshire, with R&D UK Centre working alongside EDF UK's Thermal Generation, IO Consulting and Hydrostor. EDF R&D is leading a consortium with the University of Bristol, UKAEA and Urenco, to demonstrate the feasibility of storing Hydrogen in Depleted Uranium.
Finally, there are two projects where Pivot Power are supported by R&D UK Centre. The first project, delivered in partnership with Scotland-based Infinity, will trial the use of vanadium-flow batteries, which store electricity in an aqueous solution that never degrades. Pivot Power will also work alongside e-Zinc, with support from Frontier Economics, to store electricity in zinc, a low-cost, sustainable method of energy storage.
Government funding support shows importance of longer duration energy storage
The projects are all supported by funding from DESNZ, through the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration innovation competition, which was launched last year. The competition aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative LDES projects at different technology readiness levels, through first-of-a-kind full-system prototypes or actual demonstrations.
Renewable capacity is growing at its fastest-ever rate and is predicted to accelerate further in the coming years. To balance the intermittency of renewable energy in overcast or still weather conditions and manage seasonal fluctuations, new solutions are urgently required to store energy when supply is high. Research suggests that, by 2040, global LDES capacity must increase 400x compared to present-day levels, to 1.5–2.5 TW (85–140 TWh). Overall, 10% of all electricity generated will be stored in LDES at some point.