Energy Storage was recently highlighted as one of the Eight Great Technologies which will enable the UK to gain from the global transition to new energy storage sources. We need better ways to store electricity, with the need at three distinct levels:

  • Small: Batteries in personal electronic devices
  • Medium: Better energy storage for vehicles
  • Large: Energy storage for power generation – grid level storage.

As we move towards 2050 the use of low carbon energy generation is likely to increase as part of efforts to meet the UK Government’s targets to reduce CO2 emissions. This will result in significant differences in the supply and demand patterns and will therefore present challenges to the energy system. Energy storage has been recognised as one method of managing these differences.

The Energy Programme’s support for this area includes electrical and heat storage as well as other forms such as kinetic energy storage. Synthesis, characterisation and production of new and existing energy storage materials and devices together with their subsequent applications and any socio-economic implications of their use is also included. We are seeking to grow our support for energy storage research and capacity building, strengthen links between energy storage and energy systems and increase engagement with industry.

We fund a Supergen Energy Storage consortium, and from the summer of 2014 a new Supergen Energy Storage hub will be established. The Energy Storage Research Network brings together researchers from academic, industrial and policy domains with an interest in energy storage and its application to future low carbon energy systems.

We have supported £30m of capital projects in grid-scale energy projects. Other major energy storage investments include the following consortia projects:

  • Electrochemical Energy Storage with graphene-enabled materials, £2.2M
  • Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids, £5.6M
  • Integrated, Market-Fit and Affordable Grid-scale Energy Storage, £3M

We are in the process of supporting a Centre for Doctoral Training in energy storage.