A project to connect a lithium titanate battery to the grid proves the UK is gradually catching up to the rest of the world when it comes to adopting energy storage to balance grid frequency at the utility scale.
Research at the facility, is the first to use a lithium titanate battery, which is made up of 21,120 cells supplied by Toshiba, will be led by the University of Sheffield (UoS).
The £4m battery facility will be stationed at Willenhall substation near Wolverhampton, will allow National Grid to control grid frequency.
The project also involves utility firms E.ON and Uniper who aim to discover how to overcome the challenges associated with connecting battery energy storage to the grid.
Lithium titanate battery was chosen because it is fast to charge and discharge, and long cycle life.
Professor David Stone, director of the Willenhall Facility and the Centre for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Sheffield said: “As the demand for energy increases in the UK, storage systems are needed to balance supply.
“The first commercial projects are coming on line, but there are still many technical issues to be explored in order to maximise the potential of these technologies and to reduce costs.
“This dedicated national research facility has been designed to offer enhanced frequency response to peaks in demand and is available to be used by other academic and industrial projects for their research and to test new technologies.”
Arne Hauner, Head of Innovation Economics from Uniper said: “E.ON and Uniper will use the Willenhall battery system to provide ancillary services to the electricity network. The reason for doing this is to test the operation of a battery in a new market and to gain operational experience of a different battery storage technology compared to those which we currently operate.”
The University of Sheffield team, with their partners from Aston and Southampton, plan to investigate ‘second life’ systems later this year.
The Willenhall battery had its official launch on March 17th.