Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage to lead the UK's new energy storage research network

The UK’s leading energy storage experts are setting up a new network to tackle urgent challenges in the field. Led by the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage (BCES), the Supergen Energy Storage Network+ 2019 will connect researchers from diverse disciplines and support new collaborations and innovative research.

The Network has secured £1M in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and has a core partnership of 19 investigators from 12 UK institutions, all focused on creating, exchanging and disseminating ES expertise. A further 60 organisations from the UK and abroad have pledged support for the network, 40 of which are associate partners with the network.

The UK is a world leader in energy storage (ES) research, an area that is fundamental for the development of global energy systems. ES has the potential to sustainably provide security and resilience against energy supply uncertainties and enhance affordability. However, further interdisciplinary research collaboration will increase the ES community's ability to deliver significant societal impact and continued research excellence. 

Professor Yulong Ding, BCES Director and Principal Investigator of the Network+ said, “Our aim is to create a dynamic, strategic and sustainable platform, which connects and serves people from diverse backgrounds across the whole ES value chain. We will increase connectivity among the diverse ES community, improve the environment for early career researchers (ECRs) and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in the field. As a whole community, we have a clear opportunity to strengthen and solidify the UK’s position as a world leader in ES.”

BCES is already leading the way in ES pioneering a successful pilot scheme for the development of the world’s first composite Phase Change Material (cPCM) demonstration wind power plant in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. This demonstration plant successfully provided heat to 60,000m2 of space by harnessing 10,000KWh of surplus wind power. The pilot plant reduced the environmental impact of the energy system by 3,100 tonnes of CO2 and 10 tonnes of SO2 per year, equivalent to ~1200 tons of coal per annum and could have further applications in other windy regions like Scotland in the UK.  

The Network+ program will focus particularly on creating an accessible map and directory of ES expertise to improve collaboration; mentoring and engaging ECRs; understanding and improving ED&I and facilitating stakeholder engagement and knowledge transfer across discipline and sector.

During the course of the grant the Network+ will also fund a number of feasibility studies, as well as small travel and conference grants, particularly aimed at ECRs.

The Network+ is open to any interested party and we would welcome your contribution. For any information on the Network+, please contact Omar Saeed, o.saeed.1@bham.ac.uk.