The University of Leeds and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have teamed up to create a joint research institute to develop next generation energy storage systems.
Finding more effective and efficient ways to store energy is becoming increasingly important to deal with the problem of peak demand on electricity grids. The ability to store excess energy generated from wind or solar generation is also a pressing problem.
People use a wide variety of technologies to store energy, for example batteries, pumped hydro power plants and compressed air energy storage systems. But these all have several drawbacks. Batteries often are expensive and have a short life-span. Pumped storage plants, such as Dinorwic in North Wales, UK, pump water uphill into a reservoir or lake. They later release the water downhill to drive turbines when electricity demand is high. But these systems are very expensive and require special geological sites, as do compressed air systems.
The new institute will focus on thermal and mechanical based energy storage technologies which promise to overcome many of these problems. Thermal energy accounts for about 90% global spending on energy; it makes sense to find ways to store energy in the same form as which you want to use it. Nearly 50 researchers will work on research projects with an overall budget of 4 million. The projects will develop and test new materials and processes for energy storage and explore methods for transferring and using energy more efficiently in both domestic setting and industry.
The joint research institute is a collaboration between the Institute of Particle Science & Engineering at the University of Leeds and the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The two partners have worked together on projects for many years (see Energy storage system deals with sudden draws on the grid), but this is the first time they have agreed to coordinate and combi
|Contact: Paula Gould|
University of Leeds