Energy Storage Network

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Earth Science and Engineering


The field of energy storage is broad and complex, encompassing a wide range of potential energy storage technologies and applications. Energy storage can include the storage of electricity (e.g. batteries, supercapacitors), heat (e.g. phase change materials, hot water, cryogenic cycles), chemical energy (e.g. hydrogen), gravitational potential energy (e.g. pumped hydro) and mechanical energy (e.g. flywheels and compressed air). Applications range from small batteries (W's) for consumer goods, through engineered battery packs (kW's) for hybrid and electric vehicles, to large scale energy storage for grid integration (>MW's), and with energy requirements that also depend on the application.

This proposal seeks to establish a research network in energy storage for the UK. The network will consider all the potential storage approaches, with applications focussing in particular on those important to the provision of future low carbon energy systems, so electric and hybrid vehicles and grid scale applications. These are also areas where the UK has a strong research and technology interests. The network will link the academic, industrial and policy communities together, and will be guided by an advisory board with representatives from each of these sectors.

The network will organise a series of meetings and workshops over a three year period to help develop a more integrated energy storage research community in the UK, and to raise the profile of UK energy storage research both nationally and internationally. Key outcomes and learning will be disseminated via a dedicated website, including research reports arising from workshops and meetings.

Planned Impact

The network will bring together researchers across the academic, industrial and policy domains who have an interest in energy storage and its application to future low carbon energy systems. As such its impact will be wide ranging, and will bring together new groupings and clusters to identify opportunities and challenges facing the energy storage sector, and at a particularly important time when decisions about future funding and technology priorities are being established within the UK. This will help ensure that the highest impact energy storage research will be identified and undertaken, of most impact to the development of a low carbon energy system, be that for transport and/or grid applications. It will also help link that research to end users in industry, whether these are storage technology developers such as Highview or Axeon, energy storage integrators such as Ricardo, or end users such as EDF or Jaguar Land Rover. The direct involvement of these companies in the network will help ensure knowledge transfer between industry and academia, and will help stimulate wider industry engagement going forward.

For the industrial community the network will provide a stronger link between the research community and the developers and end users of energy storage technology. For example in the transport sector companies such as Ricardo and Jaguar Land Rover are looking to increasingly use battery technology in future vehicles to reduce carbon emissions, but many questions emerge regarding battery materials, performance, lifetime, systems design, etc that require underpinning research to address. Similarly companies such as Axeon are seeking to develop packaged battery solutions that meet the vehicle OEM requirements, and utilities such as EDF are interested in the relationship between the storage technology in the vehicle and the charging infrastructure. In the power sector, EDF are also interested in how storage technologies can support grid development in future energy scenarios at both the national and local length scale, and companies such as Highview are seeking to understand how their energy storage solution can best contribute to such a system, and how improved understanding of, for example, heat exchanger materials can improve the efficiency and lifetime of their product.

For the policy community the network will help develop an improved understanding of the current policy failures as these relate to storage technologies, and in particular storage for grid applications. Furthermore the network will help inform DECC, and other agencies such as ETI and TSB, of the key research and technology barriers facing the sector, so that available funding and support can be best directed.

For all participants, the network will raise the profile and impact of energy storage research within the UK. It will improve the interaction of the UK community with key international players in academia and industry, and will support other major initiatives and programmes which currently fund research but not networks, such as the Supergen energy storage consortium, and the grand challenge programmes in transport and grid scale energy storage.


10 25 50
Description This is a network proposal. It has initiated major new events in energy storage, incuding the future powertrain conference series and the first UK energy storage conference. It also supports the new supergen energy storage Hub.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal,Economic