You are here

Chinese science academy and UK university team up to advance energy storage

CAS and Leeds University create joint research institute to develop next gen energy storage tech

The institute will develop energy storage tech to overcome problems such as high cost, which is a drawback with batteries

A Chinese science academy has joined up with a UK university to develop next generation energy storage technologies. The University of Leeds and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have teamed up to create a joint research institute in China for developing energy storage systems.

The institute in Beijing will focus on thermal and mechanical based energy storage technologies which promise to overcome challenges, such as dealing with peak demand grid and the ability to store excess energy generated from wind or solar generation.

Nearly 50 researchers will work on research projects with an overall budget of GBP 4m. The projects will develop and test new materials and processes for energy storage and explore methods for transferring and using energy more efficiently in both domestic setting and the industry.

Professor Suojiang Zhang, director of institute of Process engineering, CAS, said: “The joint research combines the strengths of the two technically complementary organisations, which will promote the fast transfer of knowledge in the energy storage area and drive new technologies out of the lab and into the market.”

The joint research institute is a collaboration between the Institute of Particle Science & Engineering at the University of Leeds and the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) of the CAS. The two partners have worked together on projects for many years, but this is the first time they have agreed to coordinate and combine their resources.

The University said people use a wide variety of technologies to store energy, for example batteries, pumped hydro power plants and compressed air energy storage systems. But these all have several drawbacks. Batteries, for instance, often are expensive and have a short life-span. The institute aims to overcome such problems.

According to University of Leeds’ Professor Yulong Ding, the first director of the joint research institute, the initiative will also help researchers to access funding opportunities in China, the UK, EU and other international sources.

“This is an exciting and long-term opportunity which will help to secure our research into novel energy storage technologies over both the medium and long term,” he said.

One of the first activities of the joint institute will be to set up a scheme which will allow PhD students in the Institute to move between Leeds and Beijing. This exchange programme will allow the students to spend time in the different labs to progress their research and benefit from the expertise and facilities of the two partner organisations.

The joint research institute has over 45 researchers working on over 20 projects. These are funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Natural Science Foundation, the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology, Highview Power Storage in the UK and BaoSteel and AnSteel in China.