A project to develop a thermal energy storage system run by AMP Clean Energy and the University of Birmingham has been awarded funding from Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme.
The organisations are working to develop real-life applications using novel ‘phase-change materials’ (PCMs) - substances that store and release large amounts of energy when melting and solidifying.
The technology will be applied to AMP Clean Energy’s Urban Reserve distribution-connected power plants. AMP Clean Energy aims to build around 13 Urban Reserve plants, representing around 50MW capacity, by the end of the year.
The storage system will store waste heat recovered from the peaking plants, which can be used to supply low carbon heat to nearby buildings. AMP claims the cost will be a quarter that of conventional heat storage systems. This will increase the efficiency of the AMP Clean Energy’s Urban Reserve power plants from 40% to about 90%.
AMP Clean Energy could also sell thermal stores to other owners and operators in the future. With peaking plant capacity predicted to increase to 5-8GW (from 1.5-2 GW today), it believes a new market could be opened to store and utilise around £183 million worth of heat each year, which would otherwise be wasted.
The project is set to begin later this year, and will start at AMP Clean Energy’s Fort William site, to prove the concept, with a view to expanding to cover another 15-25 sites over the next five years.
Read New Power’s interview with AMP chief executive Richard Burrell