Wednesday, March 12, 2014

News: Wind Power Performance could hold the key to low cost renewable energy

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Wind Power Performance Ltd, a high tech energy firm based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, could have the power to bring low cost renewable energy to the world.

With developed nations committed to generating energy from renewable sources (the UK is legally committed to meeting 15% of the energy demand from renewable sources by 2020 and the USA has a target of 20% renewable energy by 2020), the barrier for many renewable energy projects is the high setup costs and relatively low returns on investment.

Wind Power Performance is developing a grid-level energy storage battery with 1MWh-100MWh storage capacity which it hopes to be the lowest cost battery technology in the world. By using its new batteries, developers of offshore wind farms or solar farms could reduce the price at which electricity must be generated from the source to break even over the lifetime of the project.

The enterprise was recently recognised for Outstanding Achievement through Passport to Export at the second annual Passport To Export Awards, organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Yorkshire and the Humber.

UKTI's Passport to Export Service assesses a company's readiness for international business, and helps it build international trade capacity.

With a base in the AMP Technology Centre (itself powered by an innovative hydrogen grid system), judges recognised Wind Power Performance's achievements in developing international patents and overseas interest in its energy storage battery to support renewable electricity.

The battery technology is based on existing, proven chemistries and architectures used daily in the metal refining industry and would slash the setup costs of renewable energy projects.

The company was founded by Nick Kitchin, a management consultant who has previously worked for Shell and manufacturer, Carpenter Ltd.

Nick, said: "As the percentage of renewables increases, so the variability of the generation also increases, particularly in solar and wind, so the stability that the grid is looking for is tested more and more.

"Our bi-metal battery is essentially a buffer between the power generation and the demand in the grid, and it's that that gives us the chance to reinforce that buffer and give stability for the supplier. I suppose it's another way of saying "let's keep the lights on."

The company is looking for investors to take the technology forward. The energy storage market opportunity is forecast by Lux Research to be worth $114bn by 2017 and to be 45GW and worth £2.7bn per year globally by 2020.

Wind Power Performance website

Images: Aedas

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