University of Manchester Researches New Storage Solution

The University of Manchester has ordered a Siestorage battery storage system from Siemens for research.
Published: Mon 11 Aug 2014

The University of Manchester will be connecting Siemens’ Siestorage battery storage system to the local distribution grid and they will be performing practical tests on lifetimes and different operating methods.

The British research agency Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is financing the project’s research. The delivery package consists of two 118 kVA power converters, four 45 kWh battery racks with lithium-ion batteries, a 400 V transformer and a control management system to deliver a rated active power of 236 kW and a storage capacity of 126 kWh.

Siestorage is a modular energy storage and power flow management system, which significantly increases the ability of power generators and users to respond to changes in demand.

Energy Storage Research

The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Manchester University will perform laboratory tests on the battery storage system using a high powered grid interface in-loop test bed. The testing will cover a range of energy storage components. The main objective is to develop graphene-based batteries and advanced materials that have the potential to increase the capacity and lifetime of energy storage devices. Siemens and the university have entered into an agreement on close cooperation in this field of research.

Professor Andrew Forsyth, Head of the Power Conversion Group at Manchester University, explains: “The Siestorage system is an excellent addition to our facilities for energy storage research. It will allow us to devise and evaluate control and operating strategies for future grid systems, and also to understand the requirements for next generation storage devices such as graphene-based batteries.”

The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering trains engineers in electrical engineering and has been conducting research in this field for years on everything from nano devices to medium-voltage systems.

The University of Manchester is the UK’s only academic institution with a high voltage facility that is available for research and testing on systems operating at the 400 kV level.

Graphene-based Energy Storage Market

Engerati wrote recently about the growing interest in the graphene market which is expected to grow from US$9 million (2012) to an estimated US$100 million (€73.5 million) market in 2018. Consultants calculate that China has taken out more than 2,200 patents on the material; the US more than 1,700 and South Korea, 1,200. [Engerati-Graphene-The Turning Point for Energy Storage?]

The UK government continues to support the research of graphene. The development of new energy storage devices that use graphene as a key component has just received a significant financial boost from the government. The Universities of Liverpool and Manchester received the £3.3 million from the EPSRC so that state-of-the-art facilities can be established in order to support the research in energy storage and advanced materials. The Liverpool-Manchester consortium has received the funds in order to establish an interdisciplinary centre of energy storage research. The centre has been created to support the transformation of batteries and super-capacitors into a viable option for wide-scale adoption in utility and grid applications.

The funding forms part of the Government’s strategy to invest in key technologies. Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, says: "For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success. It will drive growth and support the Government’s industrial strategy."