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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R001251/1
Title: Serial Hybrid Kinetic Energy Storage Systems - SHyKESS
Principal Investigator: Garvey, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) Power Continuity Systems Quartzelec Ltd.
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2017 Ends: 31 August 2019 Value (£): 201,199
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2017 Energy Feasibility 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This proposal is about energy storage of a very specific kind to support the electricity grid. The case for energy storage is extremely strong at the moment as we decarbonise electricity generation. The world has reached the very interesting point where the cheapest electricity actually comes from wind and sunshine but these generation forms unfortunately produce electricity only when the primary resource is available - i.e. wind turbines make electricity only when the wind blows and (most) solar power can only make electricity when the sun is shining. So long as these renewables comprise only a small proportion of all of our generation, the intermittency of wind and solar power is no problem at all - because we can control the generation being obtained from coal-fired and gas-fired power stations. However, if we are to generate high fractions of all of our electricity from renewables, we will need to be able to store large amounts of energy.

Now, there are many different ways to store energy. No one form is a solution for all of our needs. Energy storage has to developed to be suitable over a large range of timescales and a large range of sizes. Each system being developed has its own particular set of advantages and disadvantages. Cost is extremely important in all cases: energy storage is extremely expensive. Most people do not realise that even with the best commercial offerings at present, the ratio between the cost of an energy store and the value of the energy that it contains is typically 1000:1. Lifetime is also extremely important. If a given energy store has a lifetime that is only, say, 5000 cycles, then that energy store must be replaced after 5000 cycles and the cost that it will add to the energy that has passed through it will typically be ~20% on this basis. Turnaround efficiency is also important, if you lose 20% of all of the energy that comes into the store, this adds a further cost that could be anything up to 20% (but would usually be more like 10% because the input energy is usually much less valuable than the output).

This proposal sets out to examine a system that appears to offer energy storage over a range of timescales between milli-seconds and tens of hours. The system comprises two distinct energy stores connected in a "serial" fashion in the sense that there is only one output to the grid. One of these energy stores is a very large flywheel. The second is typically a compressed air store but it may also be a high-head pumped hydro store or a pumped-thermal store or an energy store based on liquefied air. The connection to the grid is via a large synchronous generator. These systems are suitable only at medium-to-large scale - powers above 50MW and energy storage capacities in the order of 250MWh and above. They are not suited for urban locations. For those (many) situations where they are suited, these systems appear to offer the potential for extremely high performance at very competitive costs.

Most importantly and also most distinctively, the combination of the flywheel and the rotor of a synchronous machine endows these stores with substantial amounts of "real inertia". Inertia sounds like a bad thing but in the context of electrical power systems it is an extremely good thing and it is present in all of the spinning rotors in steam-turbine-driven power generation. As we move away from generation using coal, oil and gas, we are switching off these big rotating generators and we are losing inertia that was previously present as a free service. With lower inertia, the system responds more suddenly to changes in load or generation. If we allow too much inertia to disappear from our electricity system, we become very vulnerable to uncontrolled system shutdowns from either unexpected weather fluctuations, glitches in communications networks or from mischievous cyber-attacks which can use the system sensitivity to trigger disproportionately large events from relatively small actions.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.nott.ac.uk