Intelligent MicroGrids with Appropriate Storage for Energy (IMASE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

Whilst the background situation in India and UK are very different they have common requirements in terms of community energy management including generation, loads and storage, with the UK moving from centralised generation and control to local generation and control and India trying to get more users on-grid but with a short-term need to manage off-grid at a local community. A critical challenge for India is to improve the supply of power to rural communities: the power cuts which hit 28 states in India in July 2012 demonstrate that action must be taken urgently to advance power generation and distribution technologies and this will undoubtedly require major increases in renewable sources (as with the UK). Whilst reforms to the central distribution system may be slow, significant changes for end users can be achieved using "microgrids" (e.g. communities with microgeneration) which, when coupled to appropriate energy storage technologies, have the capability to operate off-grid. Research into design operation and management of microgrids can have a significant impact, particularly for rural communities, in the short to medium term.
Energy storage is required at different time scales for microgrids in order to ensure the quality of supply (small energy stores that can respond quickly in order to even out fluctuations in the power supply), daily mismatch (medium size stores to provide energy at times of low or no wind/solar generation during a day) and seasonal storage (large stores to meet the seasonal shortfall in microgeneration, for example during the winter or monsoon period). This distributed energy storage for a community's microgrid also provides an opportunity for load shedding from the national grid. Therefore, energy storage for microgrids is not only essential for grid remote locations, but has an important role to play for grid connected microgrids, helping to reduce the dependency of the community on the main grid and providing distributed energy storage at times of over capacity on the main grid.
Optimising a microgrid in order to maximise the efficiency of the microgrid whilst maintaining the quality and security of supply requires the integration of electricity generation, storage, and transmission/distribution components. The optimal selection and configuration of these components depends on a number of key factors such as demand profile, microgeneration profile, main grid dependency (ranging from no dependency, e.g. grid remote, to a high dependency, e.g. microgeneration capacity is only a fraction of the local power demand). The energy management system needs to balance a community's energy demand through direct microgeneration, stored energy and, when available, centrally generated electricity. The microgrid can be AC or DC, which will affect the power conversion efficiency for the microgeneration and appliances which make-up the demand on the microgrid. Another important factor is the two-way interface between the microgrid and main grid. It quickly becomes evident that one microgrid solution will not be effective for all the potential deployment scenarios and a flexible systems approach is needed to establish the best technologies and best energy management strategies to provide power for the local community but also to help make the main grid more robust.

Planned Impact

The outcomes of this research project can potentially influence all users of electrical energy. Microgrids or "energy communities" covers a wide range of potential application scenarios where ultimately both the consumers (prosumers?) and the suppliers receive benefit in a market that is certain to change radically.
Electricity Consumers
A direct impact in India will be on rural communities who will see an uninterrupted electrical supply, even when they lose connection to the main grid. This will have an enormous impact on the quality of life in areas where there is no stable supply of electricity, especially in the fundamental areas of health, sanitation, ICT and the development of any local manufacturing industry. Customers in both the UK and India will exploit energy storage to maximise their own use of local microgeneration and reduce overall energy costs, and this can be envisaged at many levels: house, village, town, factory, commercial retail park etc.
Electricity Suppliers
If there is a wide uptake of the microgrid technology proposed then electricity suppliers will see benefit in terms of more predictable energy signatures at low levels of distribution, reducing some of the challenges associated with predicting the balance of consumption and generation which is used to manage the dispatch of centrally generated power, and the dispatch of high volume renewable energy sources to create a more secure and reliable supply. Indeed difficulty with predicting energy usage will only increase in the future as electric vehicles and electric based heating become more prominent. In addition, the use of embedded energy storage and managed microgrid technologies will enable the penetration of larger electrical loads (particularly the increase in EV useage) without having to upgrade existing infrastructure (cables, transformers etc). This will be particularly important for urban areas where space, as well as cost prevents major changes to distribution equipment.
Equipment Manufacturers
The technologies researched within this project will be exploited by various industries. These will include manufacturers of different types of energy storage systems, control equipment, renewable energy systems (including wave power, concentrated solar) as well as installers for such systems - particularly with the capability to install RES at significant levels. Having the capability and infrastructure at both Nottingham and IIT to demonstrate microgrid complete energy management technologies, with different, scalable microgrid scenarios, will underpin our capability to engage industry in the commercialisation process.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A cost effective AB2 hydridable alloy has been developed and proved in a prototype sold state hydrogen store. The alloy is a fifth the cost of commercially available HydralloyC providing a low cost energy storage media (only £13 / kWh, cf batteries at £500 / kWh). In addition, a novel Intelligent grid algorithm has been developed which has a novel hierarchical control structure to optimise the energy use within the microgrid, balancing local renewable supply with demand management and energy storage.
Exploitation Route We are currently seeking investment from industry partners and venture capitalists to establish a spinout company to make hydrogen stores based on our metal hydride materials for stationary and heavy vehicle applications.
Sectors Energy,Transport

 
Description The AB2 alloy resulting from this project was used in an Innovate UK feasibility study to design a new prototype metal hydride store, in collaboration with industrial partners, Luxfer, ITM Power and Arcola Energy. This successfully proved a new design of store with internal heat management strategy. For the scaled-up production of the AB2 alloy, we have partnered with Less Common Metals. The knowledge transfer is enabling the company to position itsef as a manufacturer of metal hydride alloys. The latest phase of the collaboration is the design and manufacture of 3 concept stores to prove these metal hydride based hydrogen stores can substitute high pressure storage cylinders for a variety of stationary applications. The concept stores are due to be assembled in 2020, and tested through to the end of 2021.
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Feasibility Study
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N509851/1 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2015 
End 02/2017
 
Description IIT-Bombay 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have expertise in hydrogen technologies, life cycle analysis and energy management.
Collaborator Contribution They have expertise in battery technologies, fuel cells, techno-economic analysis, DC microgrid power electronics
Impact Solar microgrid with different energy stores integrated in.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Energy for Life: Energy Solutions for Developing Economies by Energy Technologies Research Institute (ETRI), David Grant, Metal hydride compressor optimisation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact David Grant, Metal hydride compressor optimisation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Energy for Life: Energy Solutions for Developing Economies by Energy Technologies Research Institute (ETRI). Ming Li, Case Study: Developing self-sustained, renewable, low-carbon energy generation and storage systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Ming Li, Case Study: Developing self-sustained, renewable, low-carbon energy generation and storage systems
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 16th International Symposium of Metal hydrogen systems WeOC06 A6: Alastair Stuart Thermally - driven solar air conditioning , 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Alastair Stuart, Thermally - driven solar air conditioning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 16th International Symposium on Metal-Hydrogen Systems: in Guangzhou, Talk MoOA03 A1: David Grant Metal hydride compressor optimisation, 232 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk MoOA03 A1: David Grant, Metal hydride compressor optimisation, 232
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 16th International Symposium on Metal-Hydrogen Systems: in Guangzhou, Talk TuOC04 M3: Kandavel Manickam, Lithium hydride based hydrogen generator for on-board applications, 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk TuOC04 M3: Kandavel Manickam, Lithium hydride based hydrogen generator for on-board applications,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Energy Systems Conference, London, Cossutta M, Pholboon S, McKechnie J, Sumner M , Techno-economic and environmental analysis of community-scale PV and battery energy storage in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Cossutta M, Pholboon S, McKechnie J, Sumner M (2018) Techno-economic and environmental analysis of community-scale PV and battery energy storage in the UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Energy for Life: Energy Solutions for Developing Economies by Energy Technologies Research Institute (ETRI). Kandavel Manickam presentation - Metal hydrides for stationary hydrogen storage application 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Kandavel Manickam presentation - Metal hydrides for stationary hydrogen storage application
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited Lecture - European Materials Research Society 2020, Poland - Metal Hydrides for Energy Systems, Gavin S Walker. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk on Metal Hydrides for Energy Systems. This sparked conversations with regards to collaborations with Kyushu University, Japan, and Curtin University, Australia. Due to follow-up on these in 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Plenary Lecture - H2FC Supergen Conference 2020, UK - Solid State Technologies for Hydrogen Systems, Gavin S Walker. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussed collaboration opportunities with at Imperial College (Agreed an exchange of samples) and services requested by the company Element Energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Plenary talk, Gavin Walker, Metal hydrides for energy systems, 268, MH2018 16th International Symposium of Metal Hydrogen Systems, Guangzhou 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Plenary talk -Gavin Walker, Metal hydrides for energy systems
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24th LCA Symposium, Vienna, McKechnie J, Cossutta M, Pholboon S, Sumner M Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and techno-economic analysis of community-scale PV and battery energy storage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact McKechnie J, Cossutta M, Pholboon S, Sumner M (2018) Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and techno-economic analysis of community-scale PV and battery energy storage
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018