A new £4 million lithium titanate battery energy storage facility has been connected to the grid as part of new research led by the University of Sheffield on energy storage.
The university will work with energy companies E.On and Uniper to look at future possibilities for large-scale energy storage and how to overcome the challenges of connecting energy storage to the grid.
The team said it chose the 2MW, 1MWh Toshiba lithium titanate battery, consisting of 21,120 cells, because it’s fast to charge and discharge, has a long lifetime and is arguably safer than alternatives such as lithium ion. This means it can quickly respond to demands from National Grid to import or export electricity at short notice – at 4/10ths of a second, it is the fastest of any battery energy storage system in the UK.
The facility is at Western Power Distribution’s substation at Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, but is owned and operated by the energy storage research team at the University of Sheffield as part of the Energy2050 initiative, in conjunction with partners at Aston University and the University of Southampton.
Professor David Stone, director of the Willenhall Facility and the Centre for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Sheffield said: “As the demand for energy increases in the UK, storage systems are needed to balance supply. The first commercial projects are coming on line, but there are still many technical issues to be explored in order to maximise the potential of these technologies and to reduce costs.
“This dedicated national research facility has been designed to offer enhanced frequency response to peaks in demand and is available to be used by other academic and industrial projects for their research and to test new technologies.
Arne Hauner, Head of Innovation Economics from Uniper said: “E.ON and Uniper will use the Willenhall battery system to provide ancillary services to the electricity network. The reason for doing this is to test the operation of a battery in a new market and to gain operational experience of a different battery storage technology compared to those which we currently operate.”
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