NOTTINGHAM, Nottinghamshire, February 2022 — Nottingham-based energy storage startup Cheesecake Energy (CEL) has been awarded funding as part of the UK Government’s BEIS Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration (LODES) competition. The funding will accelerate development and commercialisation of CEL’s eTanker system.
The LODES programme forms part of the Government’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, in which the Prime Minister committed £100m to address “Energy Storage and Flexibility Innovation Challenges” as part of the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).
Long duration energy storage (technology that can output stored energy at full capacity for longer than four hours) will be key if the UK is to achieve its Net Zero carbon target by 2050. As more renewable energy sources enter the grid, a need for reliable, long-lasting storage is necessary due to the intermittent nature of solar and wind generation.
CEL’s eTanker system takes electricity from the grid and stores a part of it as heat and another part as pressurised air. The system uses electrically driven ex-service truck engines as the power-conversion machines for putting electricity into storage and withdrawing it when needed. The system aims to deliver storage capabilities at half the cost of battery equivalents, while lasting much longer and having a much lower environmental footprint.
As part of the project, CEL will work with Colchester Borough Council to install a fleet of its novel thermo-mechanical energy storage systems into a solar microgrid operated by Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd. Amphora Energy is developing a microgrid for a new mixed-use development in Colchester which comprises 650 homes, offices and a small hospital. A 4.5 MW ground-mounted solar array is also planned. The energy storage systems will 1) maximise the utilisation of PV electricity, 2) reduce energy costs, 3) increase the microgrid’s reliability and resilience, and 4) enable the microgrid to offer balancing services to the wider electricity network.
Energy storage is expected to be one of the key components in a smarter, more flexible energy system. Storage technologies can maximise the use of intermittent and distributed renewable generation, by storing and discharging energy when demanded by consumers, further displacing carbon-intensive generation. They can also provide essential balancing services, providing system stability and mitigating network constraints by relieving congestion on the grid. Storage assets can also defer or avoid the need for costly network reinforcement to secure a lower-cost, low carbon and secure energy system for the future.
Wider adoption of CEL’s eTanker technology would smooth-out the flows of power to and from the electricity grid so that very expensive grid upgrades can be avoided and so that maximum use can be made of locally generated renewable energy from wind turbines and PV panels. This would allow companies to build new housing developments or electrify their fleets without the hassle, cost and uncertainty of paying for new grid infrastructure.
Commenting on the funding, CEL CEO Mike Simpson said:
“We expect our long duration storage technology to play a key role in ensuring that the UK’s energy infrastructure meets demand in the future as we transition to Net Zero. We are grateful for the funding from BEIS and hope to continue working with our partners, Colchester Amphora Energy to further develop our eTanker storage solution in the coming months.”
Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said
“Driving forward energy storage technologies will be vital in our transition towards cheap, clean and secure renewable energy. It will allow us to extract the full benefit from our home-grown renewable energy sources, drive down costs and end our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels. Through this competition we are making sure the country’s most innovative scientists and thinkers have our backing to make this ambition a reality.”
Cheesecake Energy Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Company number 10317962.
Registered address: Ingenuity Centre, Triumph Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG7 2TU