Monday, April 25, 2016

News: Minister checks batteries at Cumulus

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Cumulus Energy Storage (CES), a high-tech start-up based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, continues to be backed by the Government as it brings its low cost energy storage battery to the market.

Previously known as Wind Power Performance Ltd, and based in the AMP Technology Centre, 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.

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.

With research in San Francisco and manufacturing in South Yorkshire, Cumulus is one of 19 projects to secure funding from the latest round of the Government's Energy Entrepreneurs' Fund (EEF) that was established in 2012 to help bring a range of new and innovative low carbon products to market.

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Secretary of State for Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Amber Rudd, recently visited a number of firms including Cumulus in the San Francisco Bay Area, to gain insight about how the Government can best create a dynamic UK energy innovation ecosystem and a commercialisation pipeline for disruptive energy storage technologies.

California is the first state to mandate energy storage, setting a target of 1.3GW of energy storage by 2020 has already driven an expansion of infrastructure for energy storage innovation, including publicly funded demonstrator units, plus hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in advanced education and fundamental research in the public and private sector.

Cumulus' Bi-Metal copper-zinc battery is based on existing industrial chemistry and architecture already used at a larger scale in mineral processing. The technology allows this to be used as a re-chargeable grid-storage battery, using inexpensive, recyclable materials. The the high energy/long duration design contrasts with the high power/short duration energy storage typically provided by Lithium Ion batteries and other technologies.

Amber Rudd MP (pictured, centre), said: "We are tackling a legacy of under-investment and building a system of energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century, and I want to see storage play a big role in that. Cumulus' innovative work on energy storage, supported by Government funding, will help to develop this technology of the future, driving energy efficiency, unlocking skills and creating jobs."

The Government funding has the potential to realise the energy storage dividend for UK plc, through increased manufacturing capacity, global export capability and better energy management.

Cumulus is ready for match-funded demonstration projects in order to prove its technology at a commercial scale. The race is on to find workable battery technologies in a market that Cumulus says will be worth £6bn by 2020.

Cumulus website

Images: Cumulus

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