Friday, October 10, 2014

News: AMP energy firm secures £250K seed investment

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Cumulus Energy Storage (CES) has raised £250K from seed investors as it pioneers the development of a low cost energy storage battery that could bring low cost renewable energy to the world.

Previously known as Wind Power Performance Ltd, and based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, Cumulus is developing prototype battery technology which can be developed commercially to cope with the rigours and requirements of the renewable industry.

Storing the electricity from intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar at source, or "grid level," is a key problem due to the mismatch between the availability of intermittent wind or sunshine and the changing demand for grid electricity.

The barrier for many renewable energy projects is the high setup costs and relatively low returns on investment. Cumulus 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 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.

CES is supported by a grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) with research in San Francisco and manufacturing in South Yorkshire. 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.

Advised by law firm, Birketts, the startup's first funding round secured money from investors as far ranging as Switzerland, Guernsey, London and Yorkshire. It will help to meet the aim of bringing the battery to market in 2015 after the demonstration models have been commercialised. Already there is considerable interest in the USA as well as in the Netherlands particularly with solar and tidal companies.

Nick Kitchin, CEO at CES said: "Energy storage is one of the eight great technologies that the UK is developing a world class capability. As such we are getting tremendous support from a wide range of organisations to help us develop what we believe will be a game-changer business for the renewables industry."

Andrew Wood, head of energy at Birketts, added: "Birketts helped to coordinate investor and legal issues and also introduced CES to our international connections, particularly in the Netherlands, through our energy industry contacts and EEEGR. It's always particularly pleasing when we’re able to help our clients achieve their growth plans and we look forward to continuing our relationship with CES."

Cumulus Energy Storage website

Images: Aedas

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