£14m UK Government backing for energy storage innovation in Scotland

Monday November 28th 2022


Sunamp's CEO Andrew Bissell with their advanced thermal storage system.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Over £14m UK Government funding has been awarded to Scottish projects developing cutting-edge innovative energy storage technologies that can help increase the resilience of the UK’s electricity grid while also maximising value for money.

Two projects based in Edinburgh and East Lothian will benefit from a share of over £32m in the second phase of the Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) competition. StorTera Ltd in Edinburgh and Sunamp Ltd in East Lothian will receive UK Government backing to develop their energy storage technologies, that can storage energy as electricity, or in a thermal battery.

The variable nature of renewables like solar and wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed, such as during extended periods of high wind. However, new energy storage technologies can store excess energy to be used at a later point, so the energy can be used rather than wasted – meaning we can rely even more on renewable generation rather than fossil fuels, helping boost the UK’s long-term energy resilience.

This builds on the aims set out in the Energy Security Strategy earlier this year, to ensure a more flexible, efficient system by encouraging flexibility with large-scale, long-duration electricity storage to balance the overall system.

UK Minister for Climate Graham Stuart said:

“Accelerating renewables is key to boosting our energy resilience. Energy storage helps us get the full benefit of these renewables, improving efficiency and helping drive down costs in the long term.

“This £14 million UK Government backing will support Scottish innovation to further develop this technology, helping create new jobs and encouraging private investment, while also safeguarding the UK’s energy security.”

The funding announced today follows the first phase of the LODES competition, which saw £2.7 million awarded to 19 projects. This second phase provides further funding to the most promising projects from Phase 1, enabling them to build prototypes and demonstrators to bring their projects to life.

The LODES competition provides government backing to accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative energy storage technologies, in turn supporting the UK’s transition to relying on renewables, while also encouraging private investment and new green jobs – with an estimated 100 jobs supported through all the UK-wide projects.

Sunamp Ltd, based in East Lothian, will receive £9.25m for a project that will trial their advanced thermal storage system in 100 homes across the UK. They will extend their existing heat battery to provide increased storage duration and capacity and pair it with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewables generation on the grid.

The Sunamp project brings Sunamp together with some of UK’s leading innovators in electrification including myenergi, which designs and manufactures smart home energy products including the eddi solar power diverter; ES Catapult, the net zero innovation centre; and Ripple Energy which enables consumers to own stakes in large-scale wind projects. Fischer Future Heat will provide expertise in customer relations as well as their installation work force for the field-trial.

Sunamp is proposing a thermal storage system that directly replaces boilers fired by fossil fuels and will include an intelligent heating control to optimise electricity demand against heating demand patterns and tariffs.

A heat pump will charge renewable heat into large capacity time-shifting thermal storage, delivering space heating and hot water on demand. The bulk of input electrical energy is from offsite wind energy. Customers will have the option of part ownership of a wind farm through Ripple Energy. The proposed system uses smart control logic from myenergi and a significantly large thermal storage from Sunamp to overcome lulls in wind energy supply.

Andrew Bissell, CEO, Sunamp said:

“We are thrilled to have received this very significant funding award, which is the result of outstanding work from our own and our partners’ product, materials and engineering teams. The money will be used to develop and test in 100 homes a first-of-a-kind thermal energy storage technology aimed at replacing fossil fuels and bringing forward the electrification of heat.

“EXTEND systems in homes will help the UK ride out lulls in renewable energy generation and will allow homeowners to cut their carbon emissions and benefit from lower cost tariffs for flexible demand and participation in grid-supporting measures.”

Sunamp are now recruiting to add to their production team in Macmerry.

StorTera Ltd, based in Edinburgh, will receive £5.02m to build a prototype demonstrator of their sustainable, efficient, and highly energy dense single liquid flow battery (SLIQ) technology. SLIQ will offer flexibility to the grid by storing electricity which can then be released when weather dependent technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels have periods of decreased energy generation.

Dr. Gavin Park, CEO, StorTera Ltd said:

“Long duration energy storage is key to a more sustainable future and better utilisation of renewable energy. This competition to accelerate the commercialisation of the most innovative technologies is a great initiative and StorTera are thrilled to have been selected to demonstrate the potential of our single liquid flow battery.”

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