In a windowless warehouse in a quiet residential corner of Leighton Buzzard, thousands of identical black boxes lie stacked in neat blocks of metalwork and cabling. A whirring noise and the smell of warm electrical equipment are the only obvious signs of activity, though on closer inspection small green lights are flickering on some of the boxes. It may appear unremarkable but this is Britain’s biggest battery: a record-breaking pilot project that, its backers say, shows that electricity storage can play a vital role in the changing energy mix. Every box houses 16 Samsung-made battery cells, each about the size of a DVD box set. The lithium-ion within them is similar to that in your smartphone battery but this project – with 200 tonnes of equipment containing 50,688 cells – is on a far grander scale. “This facility would give your smartphone a talk time of about 1,800 years,” Ian Cooper, of UK Power Networks, says. UKPN, which is owned by the Hong Kong infrastructure group Cheung Kong, is responsible for managing the local electricity network for Leighton Buzzard. New housing developments meant that the town was outgrowing the capacity of its grid, leaving residents vulnerable to being short of power should one of its two circuits fail on a cold winter evening. In the past UKPN would have dealt with such a problem by installing a new backup circuit, which would then have sat redundant for most of the year. Instead, it built a big battery. Capable of storing enough energy to produce six megawatts of power for an hour and a half – enough to supply about 6,000 homes at peak – the battery ensures that the grid is prepared to cope with a winter outage. At a cost of £12 million when it was built in 2014 it was roughly twice as expensive as a grid upgrade. However, it is significantly more useful. For a company such as UKPN, which also counts the avoided costs of a grid upgrade in its business case, falling technology costs mean that building more big batteries such as the Leighton Buzzard test project could be commercially viable. However, current regulations restrict network companies’ ownership of b atteries. UKPN is lobbying to change this, as well as rules that it says mean batteries are double-charged for green taxes. Energy Minister Jesse Norman says that removing the “regulatory and policy barriers to storage” is the priority for the government, which will publish a “smart systems and flexibility plan” this spring. Official projections for the British energy mix suggested for the first time a rapidly growing role for batteries, with 1GW operational by 2021 and 4GW by 2033.
Times 17th April 2017 read more »
In Scotland, the ambitious Climate Change Plan has set a target of a 66 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2032. Given that traffic is responsible for up to 80 per centof pollution in our cities, the wider climate strategy will inevitably help pave the way for legislation and incentives to accommodate more electric vehicles which will go a long way to meeting this target. Increasing numbers of charge points for electric vehicles are another telling sign of both the Scottish and UK Governments’ commitment to a greener future. Government schemes like Plugged in Places and Go Ultra Low Cities are reducing “range anxiety” by increasing on-street infrastructure. Similarly, the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill is expected to encourage motorway services and large fuel retailers to provide electric charge points and hydrogen refuelling stations. Advances in battery storage will also have a huge impact on how we store and consume energy. Major players are already throwing investment and research expertise into creating more efficient storage solutions as they jockey for pole position in the storage race. Herein lies the opportunity for partnerships to be struck between electric vehicle manufacturers, corporates and large fleet operators, and renewable energy suppliers. Exclusive contracts with renewable energy suppliers will allow companies to secure electricity directly from source; knowing their fleet of electric vehicles is being fuelled by green, clean energy. Similarly, the trans port sector is a new source of revenue for renewable energy suppliers; where the price of electricity as a transport fuel compares very favourably with petrol and diesel. The emergence of the transport sector as an area where renewable electricity – green fuel – may be highly valued could provide some optimism for those renewable energy generators currently reeling from the withdrawal of UK Government subsidy.
Herald 17th April 2017 http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15228023.Renewable_energy_generators_need_to_optimise_vehicle_opportunities/
AN EDINBURGH business plans to enhance the viability of electric vehicles through a wireless battery management system that its new chief executive said could transform the market. Following a £2 million round of funding, Dukosi hired former aerospace specialist Charles Johnston to lead the company into the next stage of its growth. Dukosi’s system increases the performance and extends the life of the lithium-ion batteries that dominate the electric vehicle market. This system, which monitors the performance of the batteries, enables manufacturers to improve design, deployment and management of batteries in electric vehicles, and in grid energy storage applications, reducing the cost and weight of batteries, and providing better performance and longer lifespan. And Dukosi’s game-changing attribute is a wireless solution, as Mr Johnston explained: “Currently sensors are hooked up in cars via hard-wiring so Dukosi has developed this technology that virtually eliminates a lot of wiring relating to electric vehicles and the sizeable battery packs that go into those vehicles today.”
Herald 17th April 2017 read more »