New energy smart storage system cuts carbon emissions in homes
RED WoLF is a € 6 million European project led by Leeds Beckett University and run jointly with 13 Partner Institutions from UK; France, Germany, Belgium and Republic of Ireland. Dr Giuseppe Colantuono from the School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing leads the RED WoLF project.
The project brings together existing technologies to increase the use of renewable energy in houses, thus “making more space” for renewables on the electric Grid. A hybrid storage system combining batteries, thermal storage (storage heaters) and photovoltaic arrays, driven by a control software (based on a suite of mathematical algorithms developed in the project), will be installed into 100 homes in the UK, Ireland and France. These pilot homes are expected to reduce carbon (CO2) emissions by 235 tonnes a year.
Housing emissions in North-West Europe are currently responsible for around 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Due to the cool climate, heating is responsible for about 60% of housing’s energy demand in the region. Although batteries and storage heaters currently exist, there are no standard solutions to combine them – storage will become affordable by combining batteries with a cheap thermal storage technology. The downside of renewable energy sources is that, when demand is low on sunny or windy days, the output of solar and wind farms often has to be reduced or is sold at a negative price.
The hybrid storage system will address the difficulty of accommodating renewables in the electricity distribution system by working on-demand and drawing excess energy from the grid. Electrical energy is converted to heat, to be used within 24 hours, or stored in batteries to power appliances and lighting.
Dynamic electricity tariffs will be used when possible; on the other hand, RED WoLF is stimulating the market to offer such tariffs. Solar energy is stored in the home rather than automatically exported to the grid. Homes will also store excess grid energy which would otherwise be wasted when demand is low. At peak times of the day - when large amounts of energy are being used - the system can go offline, compensating for the boost in demand from nearby houses, thus allowing electricity to run more constantly in the area
The control software automatically establish the amount of energy to be stored in the next 24 hours and the time interval during which the electricity must be taken from the grid. This decision is based on local energy usage, the price of electricity, weather forecasts and grid’s CO2 intensity. By the end of the project, in July 2022, the hybrid storage system will be ready to be installed into homes across North West Europe.
Funding for the project has been awarded by Interreg NWE, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). ERDF supports transnational cooperation in order to to identify innovative ways of tackling shared problems within the EU.
Giuseppe is a tenured researcher active in environmental and applied physics. He is the PI of two European projects on sustainable energy totalling €7.4m, and of an internal grant on automated detection/response to Covid-19 in public buildings.