Projections of energy usage generally agree that the world will be heavily reliant on fossil fuels well into the second half of the 21st Century. Until our energy demands can be met by alternative sources, geological storage of CO2 in depleted petroleum reservoirs and deep saline aquifers is widely acknowledged to offer one of the most promising and practical means to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning power stations in the developed world and more importantly in rapidly developing nations such as China and India. Estimated reductions in CO2 emission from carbon capture and storage from fossil fuel generating stations can be as high as 90%. The UK Government has an ambitious target to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is expected to play a major role to meet this target. Although CO2 has been injected into petroleum reservoirs for over 50 years to improve oil recovery, there are still many uncertainties that must be addressed before governments will commit to the level of CCS that is needed to have a significant impact on CO2 emissions. A large amount of research has been initiated in many countries to address these uncertainties. In addition, several CO2 storage pilot studies have been completed or are in progress both on- and off-shore as well as within depleted petroleum reservoirs and saline aquifers. This project addresses the gaps in our current knowledge in this field through an integrated laboratory and numerical modelling approach. The main objectives of the project can be summarised as:- - to develop methodologies to optimise CO2 injection well placement and control strategies accounting for uncertainties and influence on neighbouring licenses. - to establish the effects of in situ pressure and temperature conditions on caprock fracture closure and fault reactivation through laboratory and numerical investigations. - to investigate and improve our understanding of the in situ wellbore cement/rock and cement caprock behaviour in order to assess well integrity. - to develop novel wellbore and caprock leakage mitigation and remediation technologies utilising sealants and induced mineral precipitation processes.
Energy storage plays a crucial role in building a sustainable energy system. New technology tackling challenges in the area of domestic space heating and water heating will make significant contributions to the energy consumption,CO2 emission, and to improve the quality of life, because among all energy consumed by end users, ~45-47% is for domestic space heating and water heating accounts for another 40%. Among different storage technologies, thermal energy storage provides a unique approach for efficient and effective peak-shaving of both electricity and heat demand, efficient use of renewable energy from wind, tide and sun, and low grade waste heat, as well as distributed energy and backup energy systems. In Europe, it has been estimated that around 1.4 million GWh per year could be saved-and 400 million tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided by thermal energy storage. Despite the importance and huge potential, very limited research has been done in the area. Phase Change Material (PCM) based technology has a great potential to provide a cost effective solution to the problem, if we can tackle the density and efficiency challenges and overcome the cost barrier. PCMs have an energy density 3-6 times higher than the use of water as a storage medium, and have the potential to compete with sensible heat storage materials such as MgO in terms of cost per unit kWh and is far more compact, and is cheaper than the electrochemical thermal storage. Thus, this bears significant national importance to the UK energy system, peak-shaving and quality of life, but composite PCMs for domestic heating is severely understudied. This project, building on individual achievements in nanocomposites and in thermal storage research and adopting a multi-institutional and experimental-modelling approach, aims to develop new PCM-based nanomaterials, that are suitable for high energy density (6 times higher than existing technology), affordable and sustainable PCM-based composite thermal storage device applications. It primarily addresses the Materials and Materials Design aspect of this Energy Storage Challenge Call to provide high energy and power density. The project will also develop experimental and modelling Diagnostic Tools, in order to monitor and maximise the efficiency of the PCM composite deveice. The well-organised investigators from five different research groups of three universities, will first tackle the fundamental PCM composite challenges to solve the low conductivity, thermal expanson and supercooling issues, then move on to investigate at module and system levels to assist validate and optimise the new PCM composites, to achieve optimal device thermal effiency over 92-95%, with >at lease 25% electricity bill saving, 40% weight reduction and 6000 cycle duration. Finally we will construct example domestic space heater to demonstrate the practical improvement of our materials, and we will deliver 10 kW high effiency, compact and low cost device prototypes for demonstration at the Nottingham Creative Homes.
This proposal is about energy storage of a very specific kind to support the electricity grid. The case for energy storage is extremely strong at the moment as we decarbonise electricity generation. The world has reached the very interesting point where the cheapest electricity actually comes from wind and sunshine but these generation forms unfortunately produce electricity only when the primary resource is available - i.e. wind turbines make electricity only when the wind blows and (most) solar power can only make electricity when the sun is shining. So long as these renewables comprise only a small proportion of all of our generation, the intermittency of wind and solar power is no problem at all - because we can control the generation being obtained from coal-fired and gas-fired power stations. However, if we are to generate high fractions of all of our electricity from renewables, we will need to be able to store large amounts of energy. Now, there are many different ways to store energy. No one form is a solution for all of our needs. Energy storage has to developed to be suitable over a large range of timescales and a large range of sizes. Each system being developed has its own particular set of advantages and disadvantages. Cost is extremely important in all cases: energy storage is extremely expensive. Most people do not realise that even with the best commercial offerings at present, the ratio between the cost of an energy store and the value of the energy that it contains is typically 1000:1. Lifetime is also extremely important. If a given energy store has a lifetime that is only, say, 5000 cycles, then that energy store must be replaced after 5000 cycles and the cost that it will add to the energy that has passed through it will typically be ~20% on this basis. Turnaround efficiency is also important, if you lose 20% of all of the energy that comes into the store, this adds a further cost that could be anything up to 20% (but would usually be more like 10% because the input energy is usually much less valuable than the output). This proposal sets out to examine a system that appears to offer energy storage over a range of timescales between milli-seconds and tens of hours. The system comprises two distinct energy stores connected in a "serial" fashion in the sense that there is only one output to the grid. One of these energy stores is a very large flywheel. The second is typically a compressed air store but it may also be a high-head pumped hydro store or a pumped-thermal store or an energy store based on liquefied air. The connection to the grid is via a large synchronous generator. These systems are suitable only at medium-to-large scale - powers above 50MW and energy storage capacities in the order of 250MWh and above. They are not suited for urban locations. For those (many) situations where they are suited, these systems appear to offer the potential for extremely high performance at very competitive costs. Most importantly and also most distinctively, the combination of the flywheel and the rotor of a synchronous machine endows these stores with substantial amounts of "real inertia". Inertia sounds like a bad thing but in the context of electrical power systems it is an extremely good thing and it is present in all of the spinning rotors in steam-turbine-driven power generation. As we move away from generation using coal, oil and gas, we are switching off these big rotating generators and we are losing inertia that was previously present as a free service. With lower inertia, the system responds more suddenly to changes in load or generation. If we allow too much inertia to disappear from our electricity system, we become very vulnerable to uncontrolled system shutdowns from either unexpected weather fluctuations, glitches in communications networks or from mischievous cyber-attacks which can use the system sensitivity to trigger disproportionately large events from relatively small actions.
The energy supply sector is undergoing massive technological changes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the climate is progressively changing creating new challenges for energy generation, networks and demand. The Adaptation and Resilience in Energy Systems (ARIES) project aims to understand how climate change will affect the UK gas and electricity systems and in particular its 'resilience'. A resilient energy system is one that can ensure secure balance between energy supply and demand despite internal and external developments such as climate change. The physical changes in climate up to 2050 coincide with the energy sector moving towards a low-carbon future, with massive renewables targets, new smart grid infrastructure and more active demand management. As such, it is of importance to identify whether new technology and policy strategies for reducing emissions also imply changes in energy system resilience. A particular concern is that increasingly large renewable energy targets aimed at decarbonisation may create new vulnerabilities given the weather-dependency of renewable energy sources. With affordable, secure energy critical to the UK economy it is imperative to fully understand the risk posed by changing climate for the energy supply sector and its infrastructure. ARIES will develop new methods to model the impacts of climate changes on current and new energy generation technologies and understand its effect on gas and electricity demand. It will identify the impacts that these new supply and demand patterns have on energy system resilience and will suggest changes or adaptation that can 'build-in' resilience.
Most energy system studies of the UK indicate a strong role for bioenergy in the coming decades, especially if the UK is to meet its climate change mitigation ambitions. However, there is a need to understand how bioenergy systems can be implement without negative sustainability-related implacts. There is therefore a need for multi-scale systems analyses to support the understanding of these inter-related issues and to support decision-making around land use, interactions with food production and acceleration of bioenergy technologies, while ensuring that a range of sustainability measures are quantified and that minimum standards can be guaranteed. This project will build on bioenergy system models (Imperial College, RRes, Soton) partners) and combine it with other models, including the UK-TIMES model (UCL), ecosystem and resource models (Soton, Manchester) and international trade models (UCL). This toolkit will be used to identify robust and promising options for the UK, including land use, resources and technologies. This overall modelling framework would be able to determine which value chains can best contribute to a technologically efficient, low cost and low carbon UK energy system. Configuring the model to avoid the use of side constraints to limit the amount of land available for bioenergy and bio-based materials/chemicals will lead to a better understanding of how biomass production can be intercalated into existing UK energy and agricultural infrastructures. This framework will be used to explore the bioenergy value chains and technology developments most relevant to the UK under different scenarios (e.g. high/low food security, high/low biomass imports etc.). The coupling to wider UK energy models as well as global resource models/data will ensure coherence in the overall systems and scenarios developed and to ensure clarity in the role of bioenergy in the wider UK energy system. Resource and technology models and information on future improvements as well as requirements for adoption and diffusion will be incorporated into the model. Sample value chains developed will also be assessed for their wider ecosystem impacts within the UK, particularly in terms of the change in expected key ecosystem services overall arising from changes in land use against a reference scenario. The implications of technological improvements in system critical technologies such as 2G biofuels, bio-SNG gas and the provision of renewable heat will also be considered. The linking of value chain and system models will help to examine the opportunities and indirect impacts of increased biomass use for energy and chemicals and critically evaluate mitigation strategies for GHG emissions and resource depletion, and will feed into a wider policy analysis activity that will examine the dynamics of changing system infrastructure at intermediate time periods between now and 2050. The key outcomes will include: - Understanding the potential and risks of different biomass technologies, and the interfaces between competing requirements for land use - Understanding cost reductions, lifecycle environmental profiles and system implications of bioenergy and biorenewables - Identifying and modelling the impact of greater system integration -integrated energy, food, by-product systems, and cascading use of biomass - Understanding what it would take to achieve a significant (e.g. 10%) contribution from biomass in the UK - and identify the pre-requisites/critical path for mobilisation (resources, policies, institutions and timescales). - Developing scenarios describing what policies, infrastructure, institutions etc. would be needed and where - Lifecycle, techno- and socio-economic and environmental/ecosystem, evaluation of the value chains associated with a material level of bioenergy in the UK