In partnership with the University of Greenwich and the University of Exeter, RheEnergise, the UK company that is developing what is said to be a new and advanced form of pumped hydro-energy storage, has secured a grant of £1 million, funded through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio as part of the UK government’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. The government grant will fund work to identify and test waste materials that could be used in the high-density fluid (HDF) that is integral to RheEnergise’s grid-scale High-Density Hydro energy storage system. HDF is intended as an environmentally benign alternative to water.
RheEnergise’s long duration storage system uses a fluid 2.5 times as dense as water and is therefore able to provide 2.5 times the power and 2.5 times the energy when compared to conventional low-density hydro-power systems that operate in the Scottish Highlands, Wales and across Europe. It means that RheEnergise can deploy its long duration energy storage system beneath the surface of hills rather than mountains, so opening up huge commercial opportunities in the UK, Europe and further afield.
The research project, funded by BEIS’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund (EEF), wants to identify suitable minerals and waste streams which can be recycled into the high-density fluid which can be locally sourced and are lower-cost, rather than having to rely on minerals imported from overseas.
Stephen Crosher, chief executive of RheEnergise says: “The project has the potential to solve three huge questions that affect people daily and globally: those of climate change mitigation, delivering firm power supply from renewables and how to use waste from other industries for new purposes, creating truly circular economies.”
“The government grant, from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, will help us to cut the operating cost of our hydro energy storage system, whilst increasing its sustainability. By using locally sourced waste materials, we can lower the costs of our projects, reduce carbon emissions from transportation and processing and create a new circular economy where none currently exists.”
“Working with colleagues from Greenwich and Exeter Universities, our research team will be closely examining waste and tailings from various sources but in particular from mines and quarries. There is also the potential that operating mines and quarries, which by their very nature have high elevations and are high energy users, could use our energy storage system.”
Later this year, RheEnergise will start work on building a 250kW/1MWh (4 hours) demonstrator of its High-Density Hydro energy storage system at a site near Plymouth in southern England. It plans to have its first 5 MW grid-scale project in commercial operation within the next 3-5 years.