UK’s Newcastle Uni launches energy storage test bed

The global energy storage device market is expected to be worth nearly US$30bn in revenue by 2020
Revenue from global energy storage devices is expected to reach nearly US$30bn by 2020, according to Taiyou Research

In the UK, Newcastle University has developed an energy storage test bed in a bid to strengthen the country’s position in smart energy services.

The €200m test bed project, which is co-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Newcastle University and industrial partners Northern Powergrid and Siemens, will be stationed at Science City, an industrial hub of the northern English city.

The mission is to provide a platform for energy storage developers to optimise their systems and evaluate how they perform against grid disturbances.

The development platform is linked to a microgrid allowing researchers to test software solutions for smart grids and energy storage such as super-capacitors and batteries, power convertor designs and control techniques.

Commenting on the launch, Phil Taylor, professor of Electrical Power Systems and director of the Institute for Sustainability at Newcastle University, said: “The energy storage test bed will help make the UK a leader in the adoption, deployment and integration of energy storage technology and establish best practice for energy distributors and industry, which is a huge part of the energy storage challenge.

“This new research facility allows us to learn about energy storage generally, quantify its value more effectively and improve it by working with equipment manufacturers and other solution providers.”

Energy storage grid integration

At its current location at Newcastle University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the test bed has the capability to trial combinations of energy storage technologies that can respond to fluctuating electricity demand across the power grid.

Power distributors will also be able to compare different energy storage options in real time to match energy storage technologies with grid applications.

Professor Taylor adds: “… This facility has the potential to make a huge contribution to the UK, both in terms of its economic benefit and impact on society.

“It enables the world’s leading innovators in energy storage technology to evaluate their own technologies and be able to see in real time not only how their technology is working, but what impact it is having on a distribution network.”

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