SUPERGEN - The Energy Storage Consortium: CORE Proposal

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Chemistry


Energy storage will be far more important in the future than at any time in the past. Reducing CO2 emissions from transport requires a step-change in rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors, enabling a new generation of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Renewable electricity generation (wind, wave, tidal, solar) is inherently intermittent; storage will be important for grid stability when the penetration of renewable electricity generation becomes significant. It is essential for micro grids powered by renewables, in order to ensure security of supply.We cannot hope to address all energy storage technologies within the allocated budget. We shall continue the focus of SUPERGEN 1 on electrochemical energy storage (lithium batteries and supercapacitors), because these are vital for transport and have an important role in load levelling. H2 storage and fuel cells are addressed in other Supergen consortia. The proposed programme contains work packages on fundamental laboratory studies, recognising that this holds the key to achieving step-change in lithium batteries and supercapacitors, but also includes work on scale-up and hybridisation of batteries with supercapacitors. Specifically we shall continue to work on the lithium-air battery, which offers an 8-10 fold increase in energy density where conventional approaches can only hope to achieve a 2 fold increase (this is one example of our adventurous work). We shall also continue our work on carbon and metal oxide supercapacitors. New topics include investigation of low cost, safe and sustainable iron/manganese silicates as cathodes for rechargeable lithium batteries and redox flow batteries. The consortium membership has been restructured in recognition of our evolving research programme, to ensure national and international excellence and strengthen engagement with industry and other stake holders. An important output of the programme will be trained personnel, capable of becoming the future academic and industrial leaders in energy storage.

Planned Impact

Benefits to the Economy and Society. The Research Councils describe impact as the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy. This accords with the Royal Charters of the Councils and with HM Treasury guidance on the appraisal of economic impact. Energy storage will be more important in the future than at any time in history. It is crucial to mitigating Global Warming. Approximately 30% of CO2 emissions arise from transport. It is now widely acknowledged that addressing this problem requires electrification of transport, i.e. hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. It is already acknowledged that lithium batteries and supercapacitors are key energy storage technologies for the future of low carbon transport. Also, as the penetration of renewables within the UK increases to levels of 20% and beyond, grid stability will become a problem, making it desirable to incorporate energy storage. Hence, storage for load levelling is not only important for security of the UK electricity supply in the longer term but presents market opportunities for UK industry elsewhere in the short to medium term. The research-related knowledge in energy storage will therefore foster the economic competitiveness of the UK, increase the effectiveness of scientific policy and ultimately contribute to enhancing quality of life. In addition to the UK industrial industries directly involved in our SUPERGEN consortium we have close links with 10 other major European industries through our membership with ALISTORE (European Network of Excellence). Communication and Engagement. The Energy Storage consortium will also provide a source of expertise in this area and its significance to climate change that will be valuable for government and non-governmental bodies. We have already assisted in setting the scientific agenda and directions for policy makers through participation on UK Government (DIUS, BERR and OCC) committees, and the provision of both written and oral evidence to House of Commons committees, as well as participation in the UK Government-hosted International Experts' Meeting on Low Carbon Cars; such areas of communication and engagement will continue. As in phase 1, we shall hold an annual open meeting to which all stakeholders in academia, industry, EPSRC and government. The consortium will act as an advocate for energy storage in the UK and internationally. We have a track record of doing so. Bruce chairs a Royal Society of Chemistry committee on energy storage to which Hall and Islam are also members. Bruce is a member of the low-carbon vehicle advisory panel. Such advocacy will continue through professional bodies and interaction with government and non-government agencies. We also have a track record of public understanding of energy storage. Bruce, Grey and Islam have all appeared in the broadcast media (e.g. BBC News and radio) and the popular press. The Consortium will train and develop a new generation of researchers in the field of energy storage. Such individuals will have the potential to become future academic and industrial leaders in the energy storage field. Exploitation and Application . The consortium has a comprehensive Collaboration Agreement in place, which all partners have signed up to, including the industrial partners. We recognise that translation of innovative science into technological value can follow a complex path, and unlikely to produce rapid economic gains. Our policy has been developed to promote knowledge transfer and support innovation in order to capitalise on the strengths of the Energy Storage consortium. This approach is welcomed by industry, shown by the expansion of the industrial partners in the Renewal process, and the numerous letters of support accompanying this proposal.


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Description Described in detail in the long list of publications
Exploitation Route Development of materials and processes for the development of energy storage applications especially rechargeable lithium-ion and avocado batteries and supercapacitors
Sectors Chemicals,Electronics,Energy

Description 2016 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In December 2016, Prof Saiful Islam gave the 80th Anniversary Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on the subject of energy. The three lectures were given to a live audience of 1,200 (mainly schoolchildren) and broadcast by BBC4 with a total TV audience of 1.8 million. There was extensive media coverage of the lectures (including an EPSRC blog, as well as key pieces in national newspapers such as The Guardian . The lectures are now on the Ri channel:
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016