Since its inception in 2013, BCES, a part of the University of Birmingham’s Energy Institute has brought together research expertise from across the University of Birmingham to identify and address key energy storage challenges and their solutions.
Today, the research groups under the Centre tackle a wide range of themes, including energy conversion and storage materials; thermal and thermochemical energy conversion and storage devices and systems; cross-length-scale modelling, energy conversion and storage process simulations and optimisation; industrial decarbonisation through in-process carbon dioxide splitting and waste energy recovery; energy informatics; and national and local energy policy.
Since its inception ten years ago, BCES has gone from strength to strength, and is recognised as a world leading centre for energy conversion and storage.Marika Taylor, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Engineering and Physical Sciences Head of College
Over the past ten years, under the leadership of Centre Director Professor Yulong Ding, BCES has developed several cutting-edge innovations.
One of its earlier successes, the Liquid Air Energy Storage technology, stores excess wind and solar energy so that it can be made available on the grid when required. This technology has now been commercialised by Highview Power with the first plant of 50MW / 300MWh being constructed in Manchester, UK and further plants being planned.
Colleagues in BCES have also been involved in a number of international collaborations, including the development of the world's first shipping container using materials that store and release cold energy and the publication of an invention to decarbonise the iron and steel making industry.
Another international collaboration led to the commissioning of the world’s first commercial, large-scale, Composite Phase Change Materials demonstration plant (6M/36MWh). Taking wind power that would otherwise have been wasted and converting it into heat that can be used for space heating on a commercial scale, the plant has reduced more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 80 tonnes of sulphur dioxide emissions since 2016.
More recently, colleagues within BCES announced their successful application for a Global Centre for Clean Energy and Equitable Transportation Solutions. This international hub will involve working with partners in UK, Canada, US and Australia.
Speaking about Centre’s milestone Professor Yulong Ding said: “It has been a pleasure celebrating the BCES 10th anniversary and looking back at all our achievements to date. I would like to thank all our colleagues across the University, sponsors and partners for their collaborations and support, without this our successes would not have been possible. I look forward to seeing what the next ten-years will bring.”
Outside of research, academics within BCES have been instrumental in setting up and delivering the University’s postgraduate programme in Global Energy Technologies and Systems, with more than 50 MSc graduates. BCES academics have supervised 50 PhD students who have successfully defended their theses over the last 10 years.