The National Facility for Pumped Heat Energy Storage, a new research centre led by the UK’s Newcastle University, is using the temperature difference between hot and cold rocks to store energy.
The facility has created the world’s first grid-scale demonstration of pumped heat storage, taking excess electricity from the grid and converting this into thermal energy with the use of heated and cooled argon gas and ‘thermal batteries’ which consist of a chamber of rocks.
With the National Grid planning to more than triple its total electrical energy storage capacity by 2030, grid-scale energy storage is now seen an essential requirement for the future. The creation of this Hampshire-based testbed looks set to be at the centre of future energy solutions and how these can be developed in a sustainable manner..
Dr Andrew Smallbone, project leader, says, “There are lots of people around the world talking about…energy storage systems but ours will be the world’s first grid-scale demonstration of pumped heat energy storage. The next few months will be spent plugging it into the National Grid to demonstrate how a system like this could work in the real world.”