The ENERGY INNOVATOR column by Renewables Now presents to our readers innovative technologies supporting the energy transition. Our next blitz interview is with StorTera, an Edinburgh-based company developing flow battery technology.
Describe your product/solution
StorTera designs and manufactures ground-breaking energy storage systems along with bespoke power electronics, controls and software. Our main innovation is the single liquid flow battery (SLIQ), which represents a step change in battery technology with one energy dense, rechargeable liquid comprised of low cost, abundant and natural materials.
The SLIQ can provide both millisecond response times and long duration energy storage (>6hrs) for over 20 years. We successfully ran a two year demonstrator in Knoydart, Scotland where the SLIQ showed promising results including high efficiency and long lifetime.
The next generation system is currently being assembled for installation as part of an innovative smart energy network we are developing for Perth and Kinross Council. We have recently been awarded Phase 1 funding as part of the Long Duration Energy Storage Demonstration Competition from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which is enabling us to design and cost a large scale SLIQ demonstrator which will be built if we secure Phase 2 funding.
We have also recently completed the demonstration of a pilot smart grid in Nova Scotia, Canada, which combines our domestic scale StorTowers with two of our medium scale containerised StorHubs giving a total capacity of 1.2 MWh. The systems are controlled using our AI platform to optimise performance according to a range of parameters, including weather and demand data, to provide benefits to both homeowners and the local utility. This project is part of the Power Forward Challenge, funded by BEIS and Natural Resources Canada, which is a competition to build innovative smart grids in the UK and Canada with a CAD 1 million prize for the winning team.
Projects such as these give us valuable experience in implementing energy storage systems in a range of settings and show that we are at the forefront of energy storage innovation on the global stage.
What markets are you targeting?
Our key target markets are renewable energy co-location, commercial and industrial, and off-grid/remote applications. For example, we are currently working on demonstrating a solution to remove the need for diesel generators in the aquaculture industry, which is a growing global market that needs sustainable solutions. We also provide systems to homes in the Orkney Islands that allow them to generate and store solar energy without impacting the highly constrained grid. We are working with a number of councils in the UK to demonstrate the benefits of intelligent energy storage and help them to reach net zero using innovative business models and technologies.
What are your priorities and goals for 2022?
Our focus this year is to grow our team and expand our facilities and capabilities. After that, we intend to build a large scale flow battery prototype and demonstrate the improvements we have made to the design, which are increasing the energy density, reducing cost and extending the lifetime.
Is there something you would like to add?
In order to realise the full potential of renewable energy with minimal impact on the environment, the next generation of batteries needs to be intelligent and also support a circular economy. Our AI platform optimises our battery systems according to numerous external data streams and uses machine learning to predict user behaviour and forecast weather conditions. It also includes our innovative battery management system that optimises at the cell level and can be used with any battery technology. The SLIQ is being designed to be fully recyclable or reusable at end of life, with a minimal embodied carbon and overall environmental impact.