Sharing our expertise in energy with the UK’s Department of International Trade

Energy 2050 at the University of Sheffield recently welcomed a visit from the UK government’s Department of International Trade (DIT) to learn more about energy storage and heat networks.

DIT staff from across the globe met with world-leading academics on Wednesday 18 January 2017 to hear about developments in this area and to see the University’s facilities.

The aim was to equip the department with the knowledge, awareness and confidence to promote the UK as a destination to invest in this area.

The DIT delegation visited the University’s Doctoral Training Centre in Energy Storage and met with the Centre Director, Professor Peter Hall.

Prof Peter Hall shows visitors his laboratory and battery facilities.

Prof Peter Hall shows visitors his laboratory and battery facilities.

The Centre, a collaboration with Southampton University, is funded by the EPSRC and industry to tackle industrial challenges and develop new technologies and leaders that will enable the UK to meet its low carbon targets.

The University of Sheffield is leading the way in the area of energy storage, working with industry to advance developments. Last year, engineers from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering launched the Willenhall battery facility, a giant £4 million battery facility connected to the grid.

MANIFEST (Multi-scale Analysis for Facilities for Energy Storage), a new EPSRC-funded project was recently announced which will see the team address research questions and tackle key issues in storage technologies currently being developed as part of a multi-institutional £5million project.

Professor Dave Stone, Director of the Willenhall Facility and the Centre for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Sheffield said: “The UK demands that more energy and storage systems are needed to balance supply. We’re delighted to be a part of this important project in researching new technologies and working with industry partners, of which the University of Sheffield has a great deal of expertise.”

The delegation also visited EON’s Blackburn Meadows biomass plant which is connected to Sheffield’s district heating network. Whilst the plant was being developed, Dr Karen Finney from Energy 2050 provided recommendations to EON.

Dr Finney said: “We looked at heat mapping the city of Sheffield to see where it might be appropriate to extend the current district energy network to link with the Blackburn Meadows plant.

We used digital mapping software to identify areas of high energy demand which could link to the biomass plant. This meant they could assess where expansions of the network would be most advantageous.”

District heating, particularly using waste as a fuel, can provide cost-effective and low-carbon energy to local populations, without exposure to the fluctuations of energy markets.