STORE, a UK-based cleantech consortium led by RCAM Technologies Limited, has been awarded £150,000 of funding to develop an advanced subsea energy storage technology manufactured using 3D printed concrete that could help offshore wind farms produce a steady and predictable energy output to the electricity grid.
The funding is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration Programme, which supports the demonstration of innovative longer duration energy storage technologies that provide grid flexibility. The Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration 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).
STORE is assessing the feasibility of integrating Marine Pumped Hydro (MPH) technology, which stores energy using hollow concrete spheres fitted with a hydraulic turbine and pump, with floating offshore wind plants in UK waters. In addition, the project advances the design of MPH systems and plans a prototype demonstration in the UK.
STORE Consortium Members include TechnipFMC, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and RCAM Technologies. Witteveen + Bos is performing engineering design and analysis of the 3D concrete printed storage structure as a subcontractor.
As well as improving the reliability and predictability of energy to the electricity grid, the project will support the cross sector transfer of UK offshore expertise and port infrastructure for use in renewable energy and create high-value UK jobs in engineering, construction, and operations and maintenance. This energy storage solution is ideally suited to coupling with floating wind plants and for powering offshore oil and gas assets from renewable energy. The 3D printed concrete also facilitates localized manufacturing and enables low cost fabrication of new and complex shapes that were previously not practical.
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.”
Jason Cotrell, STORE Consortium Lead and Founder & CEO at RCAM Technologies added:
“The BEIS award provides the first funding critical to the development of the MPH energy storage technology in the UK. The Consortium brings together proven leaders and innovators in offshore energy technologies to tackle the huge challenge of long duration energy storage.”
Gordon Tough, Chief Product Developer, Floating Offshore Renewables at TechnipFMC, commented:
“We are excited to be a part of the STORE Consortium and to provide technology and system integration to this project. As a company, TechnipFMC is focused on driving change in both the conventional and new energy spaces, and we see this as a real opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the energy transition in the UK.”
Alistair Lee, ORE Catapult’s engineering lead on the project added:
“This is an exciting project, bringing together two relatively innovative technologies in new energy storage solutions and 3D printing to drive down the costs of energy storage and solve the intermittency of supply from offshore wind farms. We look forward to working with our partners to prove the technology’s feasibility and work towards a UK demonstrator.”