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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W027887/1
Title: PATCH: Plasma Assisted Thermo-CHemical energy storage for Carnot batteries
Principal Investigator: Li, Professor Y
Other Investigators:
Xie, Dr C Leeke, Professor GA Venmans, Dr F
Tu, Professor X
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Bunting Magnetics Europe (UK) C-Tech Innovation Ltd European Metal Recycling (EMR)
GEIRI Europe German Aerospace Center (DLR) Int Soc for Energy Transit Stud (ISETS)
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2022 Ends: 31 August 2025 Value (£): 1,078,155
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Feb 2022 Grid Scale Energy Storage Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Renewable energy generation as well as the electrification of both transportation (via electric vehicles) and space heating (via heat pumps) are regarded as the key enablers to achieve a net-zero circular economy by 2050. The Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan (November 2020) has set an ambition to grow the installation of electric heat pumps from 30,000 per year to 600,000 per year by 2028. However, the radical and complete replacement of fossil fuels (mainly natural gas for the UK) with renewable for heating will lead to significant 'capability wastes': (1) up to 150GW renewable electricity generation capacity will be mostly idle in other seasons rather than winter if superabundant renewable generation capacity was installation without inter-seasonal storage; (2) about 44GW conventional heat-to-power electricity generation capacity as well as the related infrastructure would be 'wasted' due to lack of carbon-free fuels. The 'waste' heat-to-power generation capacity is sufficient to meet the UK's electricity generation for heating in winters, considering their much higher load factor than renewable generation.

One promising approach to tackle these challenges is the so-called 'Carnot Battery' technology, which is a grid-scale system primarily used to store electric energy with three key processes: transforming electricity into heat, storing the heat in inexpensive storage media, and then transforming the heat back to electricity when required. The 'Carnot Battery' is regarded as an emerging technology for the inexpensive and site-independent storage of electrical energy by turning the conventional power plants into grid-scale energy storage plants. However, current R&D efforts using this technology adopt either sensible thermal storage or latent heat storage and therefore are only suitable for short duration applications (e.g., daily/weekly energy management) due to unavoidable self-discharge (heat loss/dissipation).

The overall aim of this project is to develop a novel and cost-effective metal oxides redox based thermochemical heat storage technology through the recovery of metallic material wastes, which enables the flexible capture of waste renewable electricity, as well as the timely power generation using otherwise retired thermal power plants. The whole process can realise the concept of 'Carnot Batteries' which could provide both short-term balancing and long-term inter-seasonal services to the grid.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk