Batteries and supercapacitors are among the most efficient, practical and, increasingly cost-effective forms of short- term energy storage. To support increased uptake of battery technology, industry requires batteries that are low cost, have high energy and power densities (particularly for transport applications), are safe, and can be well managed, both during operation and at the end of their useful life.
Fuel cells are an efficient, practical and potentially cost-effective way of converting stored energy, in the form of hydrogen or other chemicals, directly into electrical energy, thereby providing a unidirectional link between the gas and electricity networks. They offer higher efficiency and smaller scale operation compared to gas turbines, without some of the capacity and other limitations of batteries.
Modern gas turbines and fuel cells are efficient ways of turning gas into electrical energy. However, converting electrical energy back into gas has not yet been achieved at a commercial scale. The broad goal of this theme is to better integrate the power and gas grids by developing efficient and cost-effective methods for converting surplus electrical power into usable gas.
Demand management is a form of ‘virtual storage’. Shifting a large load from one time to a later time has the same effect on an electricity network as using a large battery to store excess power and deliver that power at a later time.
This theme cuts across the other four themes addressed by the Project. This theme encompasses monitoring, controlling, optimising and integrating into networks, energy storage technologies including batteries, fuel cells, power-to-gas and virtual storage, to fully realise their value