Research and development in energy conversion and storage are becoming increasingly important due to the increasing energy demand for economic and social development and it is fast becoming one of the principal challenges facing the energy sector Energy storage can be defined as simply storing energy generated during periods of low demand to use during periods of high demand.
ETP Expertise in Energy Conversion and Storage
Electrical energy can be used to produce gaseous and liquid fuels as well as feedstock chemicals. Potential applications include converting off-peak renewable electricity to hydrogen for injection into the gas network, road fuel and other applications. ETP universities are studying the electrolyser-grid interface, efficient high temperature electrolysis and new ceramic oxide electrode materials.
Fuel cells convert fuels into electricity and heat. The various fuel cell types allow varied applications in electrical grid management, long range electric vehicles and even in household heat and power generation. ETP has research in; new materials for use in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC); the integration of renewables and hydrogen; new ceramic proton conductors and new materials for advanced alkaline fuel cells.
Hydrogen Storage Materials
If hydrogen is to be used as an energy vector it must be cheaply and safely, stored and transported. This area includes research into; the electrochemical synthesis of ammonia for energy storage; lithium nitrides, imides and amides as lightweight, reversible hydrogen stores and sustainable materials processing. Other significant applications of gas storage materials include sensors and drug delivery.
Waste heat, generated by vehicle engines, can be scavenged to provide on-board electricity. ETP has expertise in new thermoelectric materials including layered semiconductors, Zintle phases, and framework solids as well as in device design and integration.
Batteries are critical for electric vehicles and will become increasingly important in managing diverse and unpredictable renewable generation on the electricity grid. ETP has academics studying advanced materials for lithium ion batteries, redox flow batteries and potentially step-change battery technologies such as lithium-air.
The scientists within ETP embrace many different disciplines including Chemical and materials synthesis, Chemical and materials characterization, Electrochemistry Heterogeneous catalysis Surface characterisation Systems design, Computer simulation and modelling and Process engineering
ETP universities are engaged in a number of collaborative programs involving academics and industry from across the UK and beyond including: Supergen, ETP is engaged in the energy storage, delivery of sustainable hydrogen and fuel cell programs; Horizon 2020, this is a European program investigating Sulphur, Carbon, and re-Oxidation Tolerant Anodes and Anode Supports for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells; and SHFCA, the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, a body promoting Scottish capability in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector.