The Faraday Institution is working with partners on the Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) STEPS programme to strengthen the competitiveness of innovative storage providers by using a user-centric, demand-driven approach to bring products closer to market. STEPS aims to drive down the time energy storage SMEs typically spend on technology demonstration before reaching market maturity from an average of 5 years to 1-2, while maintaining maximum commercial usability.

Tailored Energy

As NWE is increasingly investing in distributed renewable energies (e.g., roof-mounted solar photovoltaics), the need for medium capacity energy storage solutions becomes apparent, with a market potential reaching 250bn by 2025. Heavily subsidised batteries from the US and Asia outpace EU suppliers through price-competition, and currently supply 80% of the storage market in NWE. Many of these mass-produced solutions are not tailored to the needs of local market segments including, e.g., housing providers, energy cooperatives and business parks. These use cases could benefit from tailored storage technologies, new technologies or adapted business models (e.g., storage-as-a-service).

Innovative NWE storage products are currently stuck at technology readiness level 5 or 6 and face significant barriers, ranging from fragmented regulations and funding sources, limited testing abilities and unawareness of final consumers. The STEPS programme links SMEs with expert support by knowledge partners such as Cambridge Cleantech and the Faraday Institution that can provide a knowledge base of market requirements, deployment of storage technologies, opportunities and trends in the region.

Knowledge Provision Partner

The Faraday Institution has advised SMEs from a number of countries and has helped managed the planning of test programmes in the UK in partnership with Harwell campus. AMTE Power’s sodium-ion battery module and Brill Power’s battery intelligence technology will be proved at a battery energy storage system to be integrated with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s solar array at a car park on site – the first time that these technologies are being deployed in a commercially relevant project.

At a second testbed at Harwell, SME powerQuad is seeking to prove its mobile electric power unit deploying lithium-ion batteries at the DISH catering and events facility, which will unlock new markets for the company.

Photo: Brill Power’s technology

Brill Power's technology