Energy storage solutions set for trials at Harwell

AMTE Power, Brill Power and Starke Energy will demonstrate new energy storage solutions on a commercial scale at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.

energy storage
Solar panel at South Car Park, Harwell Campus, the site of the test bed

Three new technologies will be proven in a battery energy storage system to be integrated with the Facilities Council for Science and Technology (STFC) solar panel on Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

AMTE’s sodium ion battery module will be demonstrated using Brill Power’s battery intelligence technology and Stark Energy’s energy management system, which links stored energy to the utility grid. It is the first time that these technologies are used in a commercially relevant project.

“STFC is pleased to host and support the project through site access, installation, operational access and maintenance,” said Emma Southwell-Sander of STFC and manager of the EnergyTec cluster at Harwell Campus. “This is a great example of how Harwell’s EnergyTec cluster, through the Net Zero Living Laboratory, is giving young innovative companies access to a wealth of resources to accelerate their way to market.”

Energy storage facilities worldwide are expected to 1,028GWh by the end of 2030, and in the UK, energy storage projects with planning approvals will reach a cumulative capacity of 10.5 GW. Energy storage is considered crucial to support the growing demand for renewable solar and wind energy and will reduce peak loads on the grid, which will become increasingly important as electric vehicles become mainstream.

The energy storage system at Harwell is expected to be operational from March 2022 and operate for a minimum of 12 months.

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As a yardstick, AMTE Power will deploy lithium ion cells before transitioning to use the company’s Ultra Safe sodium ion cell technology in the second demonstration phase.

Sodium ion batteries are said to provide an alternative to lithium ions in markets where cost is more important than weight or performance. especially energy storage, network resilience and energy in remote locations. The commercialization of sodium ion technology lags behind Li-ion, but offers significant advantages that make it suitable as a solution for static energy storage applications; it uses earth-abundant elements, has a long life and inherent safety benefits.

Brill Powers battery intelligence technology will be deployed to ensure optimal battery usage, lifespan, performance and safety. Real-world data and operational parameters will be collected, which will support the optimization of the technologies deployed in the demonstrator. Brill Power launched its first battery management system (BMS) product in 2021, which is supported by its proprietary battery monitoring and analysis software platform.

“Brill Power’s battery intelligence technology can improve all aspects of advanced battery systems, including performance, cost of ownership, reliability and safety,” said Christoph Birkl, CEO and co-founder of Brill Power. “This testbed allows us to integrate our technology with other advanced battery innovations and collect real-world data at a commercially relevant site.”

Starke Energy’s power management system will integrate the battery system with the local power grid in Harwell. Using AI, the system learns how much energy is produced by renewable sources and how much is used to optimize the storage and delivery of energy through a network of connected intelligent batteries.

The project is part of the Interreg Northwest Europe STEPS Programme which will support 40 companies in its first phase through a competitive product improvement voucher program worth €12.5k each. AMTE, Brill and Starke all received vouchers for the first phase in March 2021.

Abhishek Maheswari
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