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Largest battery in Europe could help power the UK

Research from Imperial College London suggests that the storage technology could save the UK £3bn a year in the 2020s

Scientists are hoping the technology, which is going on a trial run in Leighton Buzzard, Befordshire, will transform the electricity grid in the UK, and give a boost to the renewable energy sector.

The ability to effectively store energy would allow wind and solar power stations to offset dips in supply.

The test is likely to provide an indicator of whether the new technology can live up to its much-hyped potential.

New ways of capturing energy to be tested

During the trial of the energy storage technology, new ways of capturing electricity to be released over prolonged periods will be tested out. It is hoped this will even out the highs and lows of supply and demand that are currently problematic for the electricity grid.

Key to this process is discovering new means of storing power generated from wind and solar energy

Scientists have long struggled to adapt storage technology from small devices such as batteries and laptops to much larger pieces of equipment needed to deal with the supply and demand of the national grid.

One of the biggest batteries ever constructed

Three companies, S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos, are hoping to launch one of the biggest batteries that has ever been constructed. Using lithium manganese technology, the £18.7 million project is to be the centrepiece of the energy storage experiment.

The six megawatt capacity battery will take in and release energy in order to meet the grid’s demands. Definitive results are not expected until 2016.

The three companies have garnered financial support for the project to the tune of £13.2 million of taxpayers’ money.

Andrew Jones, managing director at S&C Electric Europe, explained that Leighton Buzzard was chosen as the location for the test due to its good grid connections, capacity for the installation of a gigantic battery and infrastructure for the trial.

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  • khizar_07

    It probably would be far more economical to pump water to an upstream dam and then release the water for power generation when needed.
    Although there are losses involved with the method described above but this most likley is miniscule in comparison to the short life expensive lithium manganese batteries being proposed.
    The companies pushing this technology are well aware of this fact and are out only to make a quick buck at the tax payer’s expense.

    • Tony James

      ah progress comes at a high cost end of story.

  • khizar_07

    The Renewable Energy fools are getting ahead of themselves. Solar / Wind needs to be economical before proposing a storage technology.
    The cost of making the panels / turbines costs far more than they will ever generate in electricity savings.