Energy storage facilities

UKESTO showcases national energy storage innovation and will provide operational data from the test beds within the Manifest consortium. One of the pathways through which UKESTO will extract maximum impact from the energy storage capital grant investment is showcasing the research facilities to the wider public at UK and international level, increasing overall awareness of what is available.

Location of consortium energy storage systems


In this section you will find information on equipment funded by the capital grant investment. 

UKESTO Energy Storage Equipment List

In order to extract maximum value from research council-funded equipment and facilities, we are undertaking an information gathering exercise to bring together an up-to-date catalogue of energy storage related equipment across the MANIFEST consortium.

In parallel with this exercise, we are assessing options for how to transpose this information into the most user - accessible format possible. We hope that over the duration of the MANIFEST project, we can deliver a comprehensive overview of the facilities available to the energy storage community, facilitating improved awareness among stakeholders, as well as greater levels of collaboration.

If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Omar Saeed on

UKESTO Equipment Storage List 2018 [PDF]

University of Birmingham – Cryogenic energy storage; high and low temperature thermal energy storage

The Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage (BCCES) is the first in the UK to have a research facility for energy storage using cryogenic liquids, comprising new laboratories, state of the art equipment, and a major demonstration plant (350 kW/2.5 MWh Liquid Air Energy Storage pilot plant). The testing facility, which is housed on the University of Birmingham’s campus, is also connected to the University’s electrical grid, providing a small amount of power to the campus. 

Highview Power Plant

Newcastle University – Campus grid-connected, flexible energy storage test facility

Funded through a combined £2 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Newcastle University and industrial partners Northern Powergrid and Siemens, the facility is based at Science Central - Newcastle’s £200 million flagship project bringing together academia, the public sector, communities, business and industry to create a global centre for urban innovation.

Visit the energy storage test bed facility pages for more information. Alternatively, please view the Science Central Smart Energy Labs brochure (PDF).

Newcastle - energy storage test bed with numbersNewcastle unknown

University of Sheffield with Loughborough University and University of Southampton – 2MW Battery Energy Storage Demonstrator

The £4m demonstrator based at Willenhall in the West Midlands is sited on the primary 11kV grid at the Western Power Distribution electricity substation. It is a combination of a 1 MWh Toshiba  lithium titanate battery combined with a 2MW ABB inverter to examine the ffects ofenergy storage on the grid, allowing experiments into response times for fast frequency response and other grid support functions.

The facility also has a number of bespoke dc-dc converters which can interface second life EV batteries to a 100kW ABB inverter to assess second life, or re-purposed, EV battery packs in grid support applications. The facility allows for other inverters to be tested with the existing battery pack and grid interface, or other battery technologies to be assessed with the existing inverters as required. This gives an unprecedented 2MW scale 'laboratory' controlled, fully flexible, test facility, where complete access to all functions of the operation and control can be tested without constraints of commercial issues.

RTDS and microgrid with 80kVA genset, 200kVA inverters

Sheffield Unknown
Sheffield -Willenhall

For more information on the facilities please visit the University of Sheffield website.

University of Manchester with University of Liverpool – Advanced Grid-scale Energy Storage R&D Facilities

Energy storage system integration and control  

A fully-instrumented, programmable high-power (200 kW 240 kVA 180 kWh) AC grid connected energy storage system linked into the campus low voltage system enables control algorithms for grid services to be examined. It also monitors the impact that these will have on the energy storage assets and the associated control and management systems. Alternative or hybrid energy storage elements can be connected to the energy storage system to assess their impact on the power network. The AC grid energy storage system can also be interfaced with the real-time hardware-in-the-loop power network simulator to enable local distribution network and wider power network studies to be undertaken. 

 A fully-instrumented, programmable high-power (200 kW 240 kVA 180 kWh) AC grid connected energy storage system

100kW Test Bed

The Intelligent Electric Power Network Evaluation Facility (IEPNEF) is a state-of-the-art 100 kW DC aircraft-electrical systems demonstrator test rig. IEPNEF forms part of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Electrical Systems, and was funded by Rolls-Royce through the Systems Engineering for Autonomous Systems (SEAS) Defence Technology Centre (DTC) which was established by the UK Ministry of Defence and is central to their intelligent integrated energy management strategic priority.

IEPNEF comprises a real-time engine model that commands two electric drive engine shaft emulators (low and high pressure), which drive shaft-mounted generators having a combined capacity of 100 kW. A reconfigurable, 540 V, DC network routes the generator outputs to a suite of 30 kW bi-directional programmable load emulators and a programmable 1 MJ energy storage device. The entire system may be commanded from a real-time control system, enabling the emulation of complete flight profiles.

Hardware In The Loop

Essential for equipment intended for use in the energy system is the ability to carry out closed loop testing of hardware and control strategies – especially when there are dynamic characteristics in the systems being tested.

The hardware in the loop test facility allows hardware to be tested in a realistic manner by connecting actual storage, control and protection equipment in a closed loop with the simulator in the same manner that they are connected to the real power system. A variety of operating scenarios including fault, load rejection and islanded operation can be simulated in order to study the performance of this hardware under varying normal and abnormal operating conditions.

The Real Time Digital Simulator in Manchester allows us to run detailed switching models of power converters and integrated models of distribution and transmission networks with hundreds of three-phase buses (even if simplified representations are used) to fully explore the optimal integration and coordination of energy storage systems.

Manchester - Real time digital simulator

Lifetime Management & Converter Test

A common sensitivity to all users is battery life-time and device performance. Better management of battery-based energy storage modules, and other non-battery energy storage systems, will extend module performance, and lifetime, offering a better financial return to the user / system operator.

State-of-the-art energy storage device test facilities have recently been installed, enabling the comprehensive testing of battery cells, modules, or the full energy storage system, including the power electronics, with realistic operating duties under a wide range of environmental conditions and over many operational cycles.  The energy storage equipment is funded through the EPSRC initiative on capital equipment for grid scale energy storage, and forms part of the government’s strategic investment in the ‘great technologies’ that have the potential to provide a foundation for future growth and prosperity.

Manc Liverpool Battery Test Suite

For more information on the facilities please visit the University of Manchester Energy Storage research web page

Loughborough University – High Grade Heat Storage

ThermExS Lab

  • 2 x 1 MWh thermocline set at the University of Nottingham (2.5hr – 24 hr cycle periods)
  • Materials characterisation equipment for high grade heat storage systems
  • Bench scale test platforms for examining heat transfer, fluid flow and storage density
  • Transition scale test platforms giving insight into full scale system behaviours
  • Sensible/Latent energy storage test system up to 400 degrees C
  • Organic Rankine Cycle Test Bed

ThermExS Lab 2

University of Nottingham – packed bed sensible heat storage

Technology type: Packed bed sensible heat storage

Type of energy stored: Thermal (for return to electrical)

Location: Research Acceleration & Development (RAD) Building, Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG7 2TU

Nominal capacity (KWh): 2000 (Thermal) - ~ 900 (Electrical)

Nominal power (kVA): 900 Period of installation: 2015 - 2017

Response time: 45 seconds

Self-discharge (%/month): 1 %/day

Efficiency (%): 80% (by electricity) ~ 90% (by energy)

Grid voltage: Whatever is required

ESS communication system: Still under development

HMI: Still under development

Overview of the AC grid interface: The thermal storage is linked to the AC grid via compressors and expanders. A pressure ratio of approximately 40:1 delivers the required temperature rise. The compressors and expanders will reside in the “High Performance Compression and Expansion” laboratory within the RAD building shortly to be completed (April 2018). The motor/generator machines will be synchronous so they will be connected directly to the grid – thus endowing inertia.

Please note that more information will follow.

University of Oxford – Oxford Flexible Battery System

Technology: Li-ion battery (Toshiba Lithium Titanate cells)

Location: Begbroke Science Park, OxfordNominal capacity (kWh): 3 × 7.2

Nominal power (kVA): 3 × 14.4

Year of installation: 2016

Response time: 10 milliseconds

Self-discharge (%/month): 0.5Efficiency (%): 85 - 97

Grid Voltage (V): 230/400

ESS communication system: All high-level functions are performed in MATLAB and so virtually any control interface can be layered on top of this. The data bus internal to the converter and battery pack operates using a custom-designed and fully-documented SPI-like protocol (Serial Peripheral Interface). This bus is used for safety-critical high-speed control

HMI: A custom MATLAB interface running on a standard PC

Overview of the AC grid interface: The system is made up of 432 20Ah Toshiba LTO cells divided into three 19” cabinets. These cabinets can be operated together or separately with a single or three phase connection. Connection to the grid is via a variable autotransfomer and (optional) isolation transformer. The system is highly reconfigurable and is designed to serve as a test bed for power electronic systems. A key feature is that every cell is individually accessible from the front panel using a standardised connector and mounting system, meaning that virtually any arrangement of the cells and pack design could be tested using this equipment. The unique architecture of the currently installed MMC v2.01 power electronic system means that the cells, inverter and cell balancing/bypass circuits are integrated very tightly and distributed throughout the cabinets, i.e. there is no separate converter

Please note that more information will follow.