A £4m battery-based energy storage facility has launched today at Willenhall substation near Wolverhampton as part of research led by Sheffield University.
The system, which the university said is the UK’s fastest as well as one of its largest, is capable of responding to National Grid demands in 4/10ths of a second. It is also the first in the country to use a lithium titanate battery.
Toshiba’s 2MW battery is made up of 21,120 cells and can supply energy to 3,000 homes for 20 minutes. It was chosen for its rapid charge and discharge times, its long lifetime and its safety.
“As the demand for energy increases in the UK, storage systems are needed to balance supply,” said Prof David Stone, director of the Willenhall Facility and the Centre for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Sheffield.
“The first commercial projects are coming on line, but there are still many technical issues to be explored in order to maximise the potential of these technologies and to reduce costs. This dedicated national research facility has been designed to offer enhanced frequency response to peaks in demand and is available to be used by other academic and industrial projects for their research and to test new technologies.”
Although the facility is owned and operated by Sheffield’s energy storage research team, the university is also partnering with energy companies E.ON and Uniper as they seek to further their understanding of lithium titanate batteries and energy storage technology. According to a recent report from the National Infrastructure Commission, energy storage could save consumers £8bn a year by 2030, while at the same time helping the UK to maintain its energy security.
Sheffield University said the facility will also be available to other academic and industrial projects for research and the trialing of new technologies.
In a related development, Alevo Group has announced that it is deploying an 8MW/4MWh energy storage system in Lewes, Delaware. The energy storage provider has worked with the City of Lewes and the Lewes Board of Public Works (BPW) on the project, which involves the repurposing of a retired oil-fired generator building once operated by the BPW. Once complete, the deployment will be the largest of its kind in the State of Delaware.