Third MANIFEST researcher workshop held at the University of Birmingham

Wednesday 28 February 2018 (09:00-17:00)

In the third of the MANIFEST researcher workshops, representatives from eight different institutions worked together to share their approaches to modelling and to identify ways to move forward with the multi-scale modelling work package of the project.

Key actions from the day:

  • As part of MANIFEST work package 3, in conjunction with partners at the University of Manchester, the University of Birmingham will finish collecting data on the MANIFEST consortium’s energy storage assets. This will focus on understanding the range of different services (e.g. frequency response, black start etc.) that MANIFEST asset owners could access, profile and model (based on different technology types).
  • Dr Haris Patsios (Newcastle) is to lead review of energy storage services, covering local network/BTM services, ancillary services, and wholesale markets and balancing mechanisms, drawing on the energy storage roadmap (led by Dr Jonathan Radcliffe) and the work to-date in MANIFEST work package 3. Dr Patsios will then develop a set of initial, representative profiles, which would allow repeatable, comparative testing of services.Dr Patsios to contact partners at the University of Manchester to discuss the possibility of running these profiles through their energy storage system.
  • Partners to identify available data on degradation within the consortium, which can then be run through alternative models for validation. It is possible that this will be derived from a Smart Networks Storage project, which Newcastle were involved with.
  • Partners to consider what the key parameters are for better understanding energy storage performance and providing interesting data e.g. round trip efficiency or degradation so that this information can be used to assess the overall value of modelling at various scales i.e. microscopic or macroscopic level.

Researchers from a number of MANIFEST partner institutions braved ‘The Beast from the East’ to travel to the University of Birmingham on 28th February 2018 for the third MANIFEST researcher workshop. Representatives from the University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Loughborough University, University of Manchester, Newcastle University and the Science and Technologies Facilities Council all gave fantastic input throughout the day.

The focus of the workshop was, in the context of linking electrochemical, mechanical and thermal technologies, to describe a more detailed research agenda and to address one of MANIFEST’s research challenges:

Our ability to improve energy storage technologies is limited by our knowledge of the materials and the processes that affect them during charge/discharge cycles.

The research challenge spans three of the technical work packages of MANIFEST – WP1 (materials characterisation and processing), WP2 (multi-scale modelling) and WP3 (grid integration) – meaning that cross work package collaboration is required.

Once Dr Jonathan Radcliffe (MANIFEST PI) had given an overview of the day and an update on MANIFEST, the morning session moved onto the delivery of four interesting presentations on modelling electrochemical storage, thermal storage, thermo-mechanical (optimisation) and mechanical (compressed air energy storage) respectively. The presentations served as an excellent way to encourage shared learning between different areas of modelling.

After lunch, Jonathan Radcliffe and Professor Yulong Ding (Birmingham and WP2 lead) chaired a session of detailed group discussion. Using the morning’s presentations for ideas and inspiration, participants tackled a number of the following research questions in the ‘macro’ context:

  • How to relate system level performance to the fundamental properties of energy storage materials?
  • What levels of fundamental properties have to be represented at system level?
  • How changes of the materials structure and properties during applications affect system level performance?
  • How do the transport phenomena at different length scales, and the manufacturing processes involved, affect the performance at the system level?
  • How do we validate models of different length scales through experimental tools that may not be able to deal with the corresponding length scales?
  • What streams of data can be used to inform the modelling work?

Key points that emerged from the discussion session were:

  1. Colleagues from the University of Warwick introduced their recently developed Energy Storage Toolbox, an online resource, which works as a component-based software tool for compressed air energy storage (CAES) and thermal energy storage (TES) dynamic modelling, control, system optimisation and coupling analysis. Using the continually-growing component library (which is free to download), complete CAES-TES models can be built based on a researcher’s desired objectives.
  2. Dr Sam Cooper’s (Imperial College London) involvement in two Faraday Challenge projects presents opportunities to link multiple areas of energy storage, including electrochemical and thermal, in future Faraday funding calls. Dr Cooper and Prof Yulong Ding (Birmingham) will identify suitable opportunities to explore this further.
  3. Our understanding of energy storage at the system level would improve if we have more knowledge on cell-level performance, multiple parameters and the targets that need to be achieved.
  4. Participants identified a clear research gap in understanding how cycling affects the different energy storage technologies within MANIFEST. In parallel, participants highlighted that we need to define how different profiles alter the definition of a cycle.
  5. Participants noted that, in order to achieve this, it is very important to understand the range of different services (e.g. frequency response, black start etc.) that MANIFEST asset owners could access, profile and model (based on different technology types).

The afternoon’s discussion topics were challenging but the researchers involved made a fantastic effort to bring together a set of actions going forward over the coming months. One of the immediate (and most exciting) actions is to continue the development of the test schedule mentioned above. The operational runs of the energy storage technologies will undoubtedly produce very interesting datasets, all of which will be stored in the UK Energy Storage Observatory database.

Thank you to all of the participants, especially those that braved treacherous conditions and cancelled trains to be at Birmingham for the workshop.

Please use the links provided below to access the day’s presentations on multi-scale modelling.

If there are any queries or questions relating to this article, please contact Omar Saeed on or 0121 414 7608.

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