NOTTINGHAM, UK, Dec. 7, 2020 (Solar Business Hub) — Nottingham-based startup Cheesecake Energy Ltd (CEL) and Via East Midlands (Via) who are wholly owned by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) today announced a trailblazing partnership to install and test CEL’s cutting-edge energy storage technology for the charging of electric vehicles at Via’s Bilsthorpe highways depot.
Supported by funding from Innovate UK, the pilot will demonstrate the benefits of energy storage for the rapid charging of electric vehicles, making use of on-site solar electricity, and paving the way for further reductions through the future expansion of solar generation capacity at the site.
The company’s unique technology, dubbed SuperTanker, takes established compressed air energy storage concepts and revolutionises them by storing two-thirds of the electricity in the form of heat which can be stored at far lower cost. To store the energy, electric motors are used to drive compressors, which push high pressure air & heat into storage units. When the electricity is required, the high-pressure air and heat is pushed back through the same compressor (but now working as a turbine), which turns a generator to produce electricity.
The company believe their system will cut the cost of storing energy by 30-40% and offers a solution that can be used in several sectors including electric vehicle (EV) charging, heavy industry and renewable energy generation.
Founded in 2016, the company use remanufactured hardware from the automotive and compressed natural gas industries, repurposing technologies from the fossil fuel economy and making them relevant to support the clean energy networks being built today. Through the use of repurposed truck engines, the company believes that wider manufacturing of the systems will provide a ‘Just Transition’ and offer of alternative employment for automotive industry workers as car manufacturing facilities wind down to reach the UK Governments’ goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Unlike Lithium Ion, the current market leader, CEL ensures its sustainability from end to end. Its value chain is free of conflict, all batteries suffer minimal degradation and are fully recyclable.
The market for energy storage is growing quickly in the UK, with investment companies helping develop projects and noting it could help spur the power sector’s recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. RenewableUK, the UK’s renewable energy trade association reported that the pipeline of energy storage projects is expected to grow significantly to support the integration of more low-carbon power, the electrification of heat and development of infrastructure for the charging of electric vehicles. Other UK-based companies developing innovative technologies in the thermo-mechanical energy storage space include Gravitricity (gravity-based storage) and Highview Power.
The pilot system is expected to be up and running in Spring 2021 and will be used to charge Via’s first few electric vehicles and store solar energy that would otherwise be lost. The facility will also support charging of the County’s new electric bus fleet, purchased through the low emission bus scheme and maintained by Via at Bilsthorpe Depot. The new partnership meets five of the County Council’s Environmental Strategy commitments and furthers their commitment to supporting local SMEs.
Councillor Kay Cutts, MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said:
“This type of innovation is excellent news for both the industry and local people. The County Council welcomes the use of this new sustainable technology to help us meet our environmental ambition and also our ongoing commitment to becoming green champions.”
Doug Coutts, Via’s Managing Director commented:
“We’re excited by the potential of Cheesecake Energy’s technology to ensure both Via and NCC’s fleets operate cleaner and more efficiently. The agreement with Cheesecake Energy reaffirms our commitment to be a truly responsible business, leading the way on finding local solutions to the energy transition and we hope it will inspire others to follow suit.”
Local authorities are expected to play an increasingly important role in shaping the local transition to Net Zero with the Government expected to provide significant funding for local energy projects.
CEL CEO Mike Simpson said:
“By optimising the energy storage alongside solar energy for Nottinghamshire County Council, we hope to set a blueprint to follow, for other local authorities and partners that are committed to delivering Net Zero, as well as benefiting their communities through savings and additional revenues from their energy assets.”
“We believe that the long-term success of this project could help aid a sustainable recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic and advance the energy transition around the world.”
About Cheesecake Energy Ltd.
Cheesecake Energy is developing the world’s greenest energy storage technology, lowering the cost of long-duration energy storage, and turning renewable energy sources like wind and solar into reliable, on-demand power. Our breakthrough system uses thermal energy storage and compressed air to achieve costs that are 30-40% lower than that of the cheapest batteries currently available, by repurposing long-lasting, proven industrial components with existing automotive, oil and gas equipment supply chains.
About Via East Midlands
Via provides highways, fleet management and maintenance functions to the residents of Nottinghamshire in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, along with a range of engineering services to commercial customers throughout the East Midlands.
This includes the maintenance of roads, footways, signs, lines, lighting and signals, salting and snow clearance, the delivery of highway improvement services and the management of activities needed to support the county’s highway network of over 4,100 kilometres of roads and its 93,000 streetlights.
Nottinghamshire’s vision is to be a safe county; economically prosperous; a place where businesses want to invest; and proud of its past and ambitious for its future.
Nottinghamshire wants to be a county where people have high aspirations; live as independently as possible and share responsibility for the future.
Press release provided by Cheesecake Energy Ltd. Photo credit: © Cheesecake Energy Ltd.