New renewable energy storage technologies receive £7m government funding boost

UK projects that support the development of innovative energy storage technologies have been given a funding boost.

In the first round of the government-backed Longer Duration Energy Storage competition, 24 projects have been awarded £6.7 million to develop new energy storage technologies that can utilise stored energy as heat, electricity or as a low-carbon energy carrier like hydrogen. The projects have been selected based on their potential to improve technology performance and reduce the cost of meeting net zero.

Development and commercialisation of innovative energy storage technologies marks a key step in the UK’s transition to clean energy. Storage will be fundamental to smoothing out peaks and dips in energy demand without resorting to fossil fuels.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “Driving forward energy storage technologies will be vital in our transition towards cheap, clean and secure renewable energy. It will allow us to extract the full benefit from our home-grown renewable energy sources, drive down costs and end our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels. Through this competition we are making sure the country’s most innovative scientists and thinkers have our backing to make this ambition a reality.”

Commercial potential

Those benefiting at the first stage include Sunamp’s EXTEND project for a feasibility study to further develop the storage duration of their thermal batteries.

Andrew Bissell, Chief Executive Officer at Sunamp, commented: “For the past decade, we have focused on decarbonising hot water and have delivered a world-beating 20,000 heat batteries using our phase change material into the market so far, and we are now bringing forward our Central Bank products for heat. This funding will accelerate how we can further enhance thermal storage duration, working with wind energy from the grid and solar PV in homes, to provide heat and water during extended intervals of low renewables generation when green power is not available on the grid, eventually reducing the overall cost of operation to be lower than gas.”

Successful projects could benefit from a greater tranche of funding from a second phase of the competition – which is worth £68 million in total – which will provide further support for the most promising projects to help them build and demonstrate their technology fully. Projects will be chosen based on their commercial potential.