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Four UK demonstrators for advanced renewable energy tech

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty


The four projects are part of the £102.5m (€118m) ‘Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge’ and include charging electric vehicles and managing heating and power through machine learning to storing power with lithium ion batteries and using heat pumps.

“We are at the start of a green revolution, as we move to more digital, data-driven smart systems that will bring us cleaner and cheaper energy. These projects, backed by government funding, are set to spark a transformation and change the way we interact with energy for the better as part of our modern Industrial Strategy,” said Claire Perry, UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister.

The Energy Superhub in Oxford is led by Pivot Power along with Habitat Energy, Kensa, Oxford City Council, RedT Energy and the University of Oxford. This will install the world’s first transmission-connected lithium ion and redox-flow hybrid battery connected to a network of 320 ground source heat pumps. Cloud hosted software and AI powered software taking an algorithmic approach to forecasting and energy demand/supply optimisation and managing the battery degradation.

The ReFLEX project in Orkney is led by the European Marine Energy Centre is demonstrating a Virtual Energy System (VES) that links local electricity, transport, and heat networks into one controllable, overarching system (above). “This project is an ideal platform for real-world testing of vehicle-to-grid technology,” said Dunstan Power, Director of electronics consultancy ByteSnap Design. “Currently, there are a number of UK trials exploring V2G as a way to solve future grid demand issues. The beauty of the Orkney trial is that it is a bounded environment where a positive impact can be measured relatively quickly and the sort of challenges that V2G presents, for instance in terms of how users are incentivised to allow their cars to be discharged, can be tackled.” 

Project Leo in the city of Oxford brings together a number of electricity suppliers and researchers at the University of Oxford to new energy projects across the city to improve forecasting and planning. A local energy marketplace will be created which will enable virtual aggregation of loads and the ability to dispatch flexibility across a range of projects, as well as execute local peer-to-peer trading.

The fourth project is a Smart Hub in Wst Sussex that includes car maker Honda and battery supplier Moixa Technology. This will integrate energy management across council housing, private residential properties, transport infrastructure and commercial properties, using a hybrid hydrogen/electric vehicle filling station and mesh networks for power management alongside more established but not widely deployed technologies such as heat pumps.

A Virtual Power Plant will be established by integrating several platforms which can dynamically monitor and respond to energy demand and generation. Another important element of the project is designing an innovative procurement framework. This could be widely replicated and could enable public sector organisations to include flexible energy assets in, and engage with local flexibility markets.

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