Current projects

The Energy Systems and Policy Analysis Group works to improve our understanding of the whole energy system transition through research into the value of energy storage, energy storage integration and innovation and decsision making. 

The value of energy storage: 

Developing novel, techno-economic models and taking into consideration both technological factors (features of the storage technologies) and socio-economic factors (including energy markets and social benefits) to assess the application of energy storage.

      • Multi-Scale Analysis for Facilities for Energy Storage (MANIFEST)

        Lead organisation: University of Birmingham

        Academic partners: University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Liverpool, Loughborough University, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, Science and Technologies Facilities Council, The University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University College London, The University of Warwick.

        Value: £4m

        Dates: 30/09/16 – 29/09/20

        In 2012 the UK Government invested £30 million in energy storage facilities under the ‘Eight Great Technologies’ call, providing state-of-the-art equipment in five university consortia for the development and testing of technologies that span application areas. The Multi-Scale Analysis for Facilities for Energy Storage programme is truly interdisciplinary, building on the Government’s investment, to tackle some of the key challenges currently facing the energy storage community. The research programme draws on the collective expertise and facilities that exist within the consortia, and will address questions that span the variety of energy storage technologies being developed - maximising the impact of all the test-bed energy storage demonstrators.

        Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is leading work package four, where the main deliverable is the UK Energy Storage Observatory, which will be a national repository for energy storage experimental data.

        Researchers involved:

        • Chunping Xie

        Professor Yulong Ding is leading work package two, which involves multi-scale modelling. This work package will link the energy storage materials research from work package one and the grid integration research from work package three.

        Researchers involved:

        • Xiaohui She

        Impact of research: One of the major impacts from the research will be the development of the UK Energy Storage Observatory (UKESTO), which is an open access, national repository for energy storage experimental data. Stakeholders will be able to use UKESTO to inform themselves of how energy storage technologies operate in different scenarios, how materials (such as those used in batteries) will degrade through repeated cycling and how we can successfully integrate energy storage devices into the grid. This information could help de-risk investment for industry and aid policy and decision-makers in developing energy and innovation policy.

        Multi-Scale Analysis for Facilities for Energy Storage (Manifest) project page

        Gateway to Research entry for Manifest project

  • Energy Storage Prioritisation in Mexico

    Lead organisation: University of Birmingham

    Project Partners: Instituto Nacional de Electricidad y Energías Limpias, Mexico

    Value: £80,000

    Dates: 01/04/18 – 31/03/19

    Deploying Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) to promote social and environmental sustainability is a key Mexican energy policy (Energy Sectoral Programme 2013-2018). However, RETs generate electricity intermittently. Energy storage technologies (ESTs) can balance supply and demand on the grid network and allow off-grid communities to develop RETs. ESTs provide specific services but have their own barriers. This project is focused on providing a whole-system assessment of the energy needs of individual communities, in order to guide technological innovation, meaning that policy can target ESTs that provide most benefit.

    Funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Newton Fund, the University of Birmingham and the Instituto Nacional de Electricidad y Energías Limpias (INEEL) will assess the viability and applications of energy storage options for communities in Mexico. As part of a whole-system analysis, the role of thermal storage will also be considered. The aim is to develop a replicable assessment process, which could be rolled out in other areas of Mexico and internationally. The project involves a number of collaborative workshops between INEEL, the University of Birmingham and other colleagues from the University of Birmingham, as well as external stakeholders.

    All work packages are joint led by INEEL and the University of Birmingham, except WP2, where Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is leading the development of assessment criteria for energy storage technologies.

    Researchers involved

    • Dan Murrant
    • Xinfang Wang

    For more information please contact Dr Jonathan Radcliffe.

  • Accelerating Thermal Energy Technology Adoption (ATETA)

    Lead organisation: University of Birmingham

    Partners: Energy Systems Catapult

    Value: £4.1m

    Dates: 01/03/2017 – 29/02/2020

    ATETA aims to promote research and innovation in the adoption of low carbon technologies of SME’s that are active in the Greater Birmingham Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area.  The project strives to help businesses achieve their sustainability objectives by supporting them to identify and initiate market opportunities in new energy markets and technologies, benefit from access to laboratory services, innovate energy products and energy efficient processes, grow and improve.

    Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is one of a number of senior researchers that supervises an ATETA Knowledge Exchange Fellows (KEF). Each KEF applies their research, their experience and their expertise to provide assistance in business, economic, market and technical research that can support the development of SMEs with an interest in the energy sector. Oluyemi Jegede, KEF within ESPAG, is currently developing robust, modular, multi-vector energy systems models, including thermal and electrical networks, with a view to solve a series of research problems surrounding energy storage deployment, the links between heat and electricity demand and the sustainable introduction of electric vehicles into energy systems.

    Researchers involved:

    • Oluyemi Jegede

    For more information, please click here to access the ATETA webpage.

  • Joint UK-India Clean Energy Centre (JUICE)

    Lead organisation: Loughborough University

    Academic partners: Cardiff University, Imperial College London, Swansea University, University of Birmingham, University of Exeter, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Warwick.

    Value: £5.1m

    Dates: 01/10/16 – 30/09/20

    JUICE brings together internationally leading experts in PV technology, applied PV systems, power electronics, electricity networks, energy storage and demand-side response; and through their combined efforts, will develop integrated solutions to ensure that the value of PV generation is optimised in both India and the UK. The techniques and solutions developed will also be readily transferable to many other countries that face similar challenges and contribute to increase economic and environmental welfare in developing and developed countries.

    Dr Jonathan Radcliffe and ESPAG researchers are involved in discussions with the JUICE consortium on energy storage.

    Professor Yulong Ding is working on thermal energy storage processing control and process intensification, contributing to work packages 2, 3 and 4 of the project.

    Researchers involved

    • Chuan Li
    • Helena Navarro
    • Xiaodong Peng

     

    JUICE website.

    Gateway to Research entry for JUICE

Energy storage integration:

Investigating the energy storage technology-policy interface in the context of whole-system.

  • Supergen Energy Storage Hub

    Lead organisation: University of Oxford

    Academic partners:  University of Bath, University of Birmingham (Dr Jonathan Radcliffe and Professor Yulong Ding), University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Southampton and the University of Warwick

    Value: £3.9m

    Dates: 01/06/14 – 30/06/19                        

    Project Summary: The Energy SUPERSTORE Hub brings together eleven highly experienced investigators with strong international and national reputations in energy storage research, not only in the technologies themselves, but spanning the entire value chain, from manufacturing, integration and evaluation of the whole energy system, including economics and policy. The consortium addresses a number of the critical barriers to the commercialisation of energy storage and its widespread exploitation in the UK and internationally. Members of the consortium cover areas in which the UK has both the scientific capability and an energy system need.

    The Energy SUPERSTORE is formed of nine work packages, some of which are based on different energy storage technologies) and others, which address cross-cutting issues in energy storage research.

    Dr Jonathan Radcliffe (University of Birmingham) is leading the development of the energy storage roadmap. The roadmap will identify credible pathways showing how technologies could develop to meet system needs, allowing policy-makers and regulators to put in place innovation support and market pull mechanisms. The roadmap will contain detail on the cost, performance characteristics and the role of energy storage technologies.

    Researchers involved:

    • Daniel Murrant

    Professor Yulong Ding is leading work package 5, focussed on thermal energy storage (TES). His work is centred on the formulation of high performance TES materials, the design and fabrication of TES components and devices and the study of the relationship between material properties and system level performance.

    Researchers involved

    • Hui Cao
    • Helena Navarro

    Impact of research:  Since its inception, the Energy SUPERSTORE has continued to integrate the UK energy storage community. It has also linked the UK academic base with industry, through hub-driven programmes but also through connecting directly with the Eight Great Technologies Capital Grants Call, which funded a number of energy storage demonstrators within the UK. These streams of work enhance the UK’s position as a leader in energy storage research and development, and pave the way for further innovation in the sector.

    Supergen website

    Gateway to Research entry for Supergen

  • Consortium for Modelling and Analysis of Decentralised Energy Storage (C-MADEnS)

    Lead organisation: University of Leeds

    Academic partners: University of Birmingham (Dr Jonathan Radcliffe and Professor Yulong Ding), Loughborough University and the University of Warwick

    Value: £1.1m

    Dates: 01/10/15 – 31/01/19

    Around 80% of the UK population lives in urban areas, with cities responsible for about 70% of UK energy use. The importance of cities in tackling key energy targets is increasingly recognised, as are the social, environmental and economic benefits to city residents of appropriate energy provision.

    The Consortium for Modelling and Analysis of Decentralised Energy Storage (C-MADEnS), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is carrying out research into the role of decentralised energy storage within cities, focusing on the cities of Birmingham and Leeds. Led by the University of Leeds, C-MADEnS comprises academics and researchers from the University of Birmingham, University of Warwick and Loughborough University.

    Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is leading Work Package 3, analysing how policy and regulation covering electricity and heat can evolve alongside a changing energy system to deploy new storage technologies at city-scale, and allow the value to be realised.

    Researchers involved:

    • Dan Murrant
    • Xinfang Wang

    Professor Yulong Ding is co-leading Work Package two, focusing on distributed energy storage technology validation. Technical validation will be done at three spatial scales: home, neighbourhood, and district, considering both electrical and thermal energy storage. Professor Ding’s work will centre on thermal technologies, specifically phase change based latent heat storage materials.

    Researchers involved:

    • Barton Chen

    Impact of research: The outcomes will set out possible energy and innovation policy pathways allowing the deployment of distributed energy storage, together with a set of policy recommendations.

    C-MADEnS project page

    Gateway to Research entry for C-MADEnS

  • Realising Energy Storage Technologies in Low-carbon Energy Systems (RESTLESS)

    Lead Organisation: University College London

    Academic partners: University of Birmingham (Dr Jonathan Radcliffe) University of Cardiff, University of Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, University of Strathclyde

    Value: £1.4m

    Dates: 01/09/15 – 31/08/19

    Project Summary: The Realising Energy Storage Technologies in Low-carbon Energy Systems (RESTLESS) project is assessing the potential value of energy storage to the UK, as part of our transition to a low-carbon economy. The project aims to understand how novel energy storage technologies can be integrated into the UK energy system to support renewable generation in the future.

    The research involves comparisons of energy storage technologies, using a wide range of operational, economic and environmental metrics. The consortium is also examining public attitudes to energy storage, as well as to alternative technologies such as electricity network reinforcement and demand-side response (DSR) technologies. The consortium’s approach to estimating the value of energy storage uniquely takes a whole system approach, rather than just considering grid-scale storage.

    Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is leading work package seven (Policy and Research Implications) of the project. The aim of the work package is to make recommendations for energy policy and innovation support that will facilitate the deployment of energy storage.

    Impact of research: With variable renewable energy generation likely to play a major part in our future energy mix, information from the RESTLESS project could provide academics, policy-makers and industry with key insights into how we can integrate energy storage technologies into the grid, facilitating greater renewable energy penetration. It will also deliver vital information on the ‘value’ proposition of energy storage technologies, identifying the barriers the sector must overcome to create an attractive and fair market.

    RESTLESS website

    Gateway to Research entry for RESTLESS

    • Related publications: Castagneto Gissey, G., Dodds, P., Radcliffe, J. (2018) Market and regulatory barriers to electrical energy storage innovation, Renew Sustain Energy Rev, 82, pp. 781 – 790 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.09.079
  • Generation Integrated Energy Storage: A Paradigm Shift (GIES)

    Lead Organisation: University of Nottingham

    Value: £1.4m

    Academic partners: University of Birmingham (Dr Jonathan Radcliffe), University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds.

    Dates: 01/06/17 – 30/11/21

    Project Summary: The EPSRC-funded project sets out to determine what role will be played by the class of generation integrated energy storage (GIES) systems in future energy infrastructure, and to set out what fundamentals are required for these systems to be successful in both technical and economic terms. This project will assess a class of systems that blend electricity generation and storage, to understand the role that they could play in future energy systems. Their ability to deliver low-carbon energy on demand, at low system cost, will be investigated from technical, economic, and policy standpoints.

    GEIS Workpackages

     Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is leading Work Package 4 of the project, which is focused on the policy context of GIES systems. The basis for this research is that existing policy and regulatory frameworks have been constructed to incentivise the rapid deployment of renewables, and are only now beginning to address the consequences of large penetration of inflexible generation. The implemented reforms do not recognise the value that GIES systems can bring. The University of Birmingham’s activities are as follows:

    Gateway to Research entry for GIES

  • CryoHub

    Developing Cryogenic Energy Storage at Refrigerated Warehouses as an Interactive Hub to Integrate Renewable Energy in Industrial Food Refrigeration and to Enhance PowerGrid Sustainability. 

    Lead organisation: London Southbank University

    Academic partners: UK - University of Birmingham (Dr Jonathan Radcliffe), Cranfield University, Bulgaria – Technical University of Sofia; France – National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture

    Value: €7.1m

    Dates: 01/04/16 – 30/09/19

    CryoHub is an EU-funded project to develop and investigate the potential of large-scale cryogenic energy storage at refrigerated warehouses and food factories. The innovative CryoHub technology is based on storing renewable energy as a cryogenic liquid - which in the case of this project is liquid air.  This cryogen is then boiled at very low temperatures to generate electricity for on-site use or feeding the power grid during peak demand periods.  The cooling effect of boiling the cryogen is employed to refrigerate industrial facilities.

    Dr Jonathan Radcliffe is leading Work Package 10, entitled ‘Energy Policy and Future Integration’. In this stream of work, the specific aims are:

    • To develop long term policy framework that rewards business models in the context of local grid system.
    • To position the technology within an exciting new field that properly rewards balancing services, low-carbon and renewables usage.

    Researchers involved:

    • Dan Murrant 

    Impact of research: The CryoHub project consortium will deliver a CES demonstrator – plant, validating and demonstrating the performance of the technology for a refrigerated warehouse. In addition to the demonstrator-plant, the development of a European strategy for the integration of CES with refrigerated warehouses will provide a strong CES case study for multiple industries to consider in the future.

    CryoHub project website

    EU Community Research and Development Information Service

Innovation and decision-making

Exploring policies to enable transformation of the energy system across scales.

  • Across Scales in Energy Decision-making (ASCEND)

    Lead organisation: University of Birmingham

    Academic partners: University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds

    Value: £60k

    Dates: 01/05/17 – 31/01/18

    Gateway to Research entry for ASCEND

    Decarbonisation strategies based on whole energy system analysis are critical in the transition to a low carbon economy. This scoping study, supported by EPSRC  and the Energy Systems Catapult, undertook an initial analysis  of how whole energy system analysis is currently used in decision-making processes across scales, to help identify ways in which the research and policy decision-making relationship could be improved in the future. For more information please visit the ASCEND web page.  

  • Assessing the Innovation Process for Energy Storage

    Lead organisation: University of Birmingham (Dr Jonathan Radcliffe)

    Academic partners: University of Leeds

    Value: £100k

    Dates: 01/06/17 – 31/01/19

    Funded by the Supergen Energy Storage Flexible Fund, Dr Jonathan Radcliffe will lead this project, providing evidence-based recommendations to support innovation in the area of energy storage. Using Lithium-ion batteries as a case study, the research team will assess what current models of innovation can tell us given its [energy storage] unique characteristics and role, when compared to both supply and demand technologies. The team will then analyse the current innovation landscape for energy storage in the UK and in comparison to competitor countries (e.g. USA, Japan, Korea and Germany). Recommendations will be made that allow the UK to exploit its research investment and industrial base in energy storage for consumer, transport and grid applications.

    Researchers involved:

    • Daniel Murrant
    • Xinfang Wang
  • Resilient Cities theme of the Institute for Global Innovation

    The ‘City Resilience’ theme of the Institute for Global Innovation (IGI) investigates the drivers of urban distress and the conditions for securing city resilience, with a focus on global cities that are undergoing transitions. The theme investigates resilience at different levels of analysis: individual; community; city; national. Drawing on the team’s multidisciplinary expertise of global cities, as well as expertise of technical, social and institutional systems, the research re-assesses the concept of resilience and its measurement; applying our analysis to key city sub-systems.