Over the last five years, funding for energy storage research at national and international levels has increased rapidly. In 2012, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded the Energy Storage Capital Grants call where fifteen institutions received funding across five consortia led by the University of Birmingham (£5.9m), Imperial College (£14.3m), Loughborough University (£1.7m), University of Manchester (£3.3m) and University of Sheffield (£4.9m). Each consortium has been successful in winning further EPSRC grant funding through a variety of applications.
Several of the institutions are also represented on the Supergen Hub ‘Energy Superstore’, within energy storage Grand Challenge projects and also in joint calls with China and India respectively.
In 2016, the institutions which received funding from the Energy Storage Capital Grants call delivered an ambitious new project proposal to the EPSRC called Multi-Scale Analysis for Energy Storage (Manifest). Building on the state-of-the-art equipment, funded through the Capital Grants call, Manifest focuses on developing an improved understanding of processes and materials across length scales in different energy storage technologies, and how subsequent learning can be exchanged between these technologies. As the UK continues to focus on ‘whole-systems’ energy research, the data produced on the operation of energy storage in a variety of grid-connected systems will improve future input assumptions and lead to a better representation of energy storage in future energy scenarios.
One of the key deliverables for the Manifest project is the UK Energy Storage Observatory (UKESTO). UKESTO was developed as an idea between thirteen leading Universities in conjunction with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The key question behind UKESTO’s construction is how do we maximise value from previously funded energy storage facilities and associated research projects in energy storage?
Through Manifest’s creation of a network of national energy storage facilities and through providing access to their outputs (testing, operational runs, experiments etc.) through UKESTO, the UK can be established as an energy storage hub and leader within the space.
More information about the Manifest Project can be found here.