Storing energy

Dr Andrew Cruden and Professor David Infield of Strathclyde University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering are assessing the benefits of dual-use vehicle batteries. The batteries can take energy from the national grid and send unused power back at times of high demand.

Storing energy on a large scale is said to be vital if renewable sources like wind and solar power can make the full contribution to the power supply. The team will assess how the system would work, who would control it and how much it would cost. The project is one of three in the UK to receive funding as part of E.ON’s £48m investment into renewable energy research.

Dr Cruden said: ‘Our research will look at how electric car batteries could be used to store energy and transfer it to the national grid when it’s most needed. With cleaner, greener electric cars growing in popularity, it’s vital to look at how we make the most of our existing power in the most efficient way.’

‘Potentially, we could see delivery drivers uploading unused power from their batteries to the grid at the end of their working day – energy which is useful if there’s a sudden surge in demand. The vehicles would then be recharged over night when there’s a lower demand for electricity.’

E.ON managing director Allan Jones added: ‘Across the world, E.ON intends to double its renewable share to almost a quarter of the energy mix by 2030. Up to 2010 alone we will invest at least €6bn in this area but to make best use of the technology, and to meet demand, we need innovative solutions to store energy that is generated.’