Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Prospering from the Energy Revolution (PFER) explained

Jenni McDonnell, KTN lead for the PFER programme, explains more about it and showcases one of the funded projects.

Posted on: 01/04/2019

The Industrial Strategy sets out the Government’s plan to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs with investment in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Industrial Strategy, bringing together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time.

As part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Government is investing up to £102.5m in a new Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge (PFER) that will develop cutting-edge capabilities in local energy systems that deliver cleaner, cheaper, energy for consumers, while creating high value jobs for the UK.

The challenge is about showing people that they can live low-carbon lifestyles in low-carbon places more conveniently and more comfortably. It will revolutionise energy management for consumers through new smart systems that can deliver energy according to the society’s needs and wants from a modern energy supply that is clean, efficient and affordable. New smart systems can link energy supply, storage and demand patterns across power, heating and transport to improve efficiency, resilience, infrastructure productivity and service to consumers.

Funding will be invested in three core activities of the programmes:

  1. Smart Local Energy Systems Demonstrators and Designs: it will invest in fast-tracking four practical local energy systems demonstrators and 11 whole system design studies, built on local ambition and infrastructure plans, which allow deployment of novel consumer-centric energy systems.
  2. Innovation Accelerator Fund: commercialise smart local energy system products and services and engage with the best international research and innovation opportunities.
  3. Integration Services and Research, with the Energy Systems Catapult: providing co-ordination and technical support to demonstration and design projects, alongside a world-leading, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary smart local energy systems research programme.

Below is an update on one of the projects that has already been funded by PFER.

Design and concepts: GreenSCIES

Project GreenSCIES will deliver a concept and design study that confirms the technical and commercial viability of an integrated, local, smart energy network in the London Borough of Islington. The project will evaluate, then optimise, a novel, smart energy system, using whole-system modelling and real-life community energy data. It will determine which business models, legal frameworks and non-technical best practices best facilitate the optimal implementation and operation of the smart energy networks.

The project is led by London South Bank University and the team includes Islington Borough Council, Carbon Descent, Transport for London, Building Energy Solutions, ENGIE UK, Grid Edge, E-Car Club and Carbon Data Resources. This complex consortium brings together skills and expertise from the energy, transport, digital, sustainability and public sectors.

Islington has the highest population density of local authorities in England and Wales with 13,875 people per km making it an interesting challenge area that could deliver significant energy savings and carbon emissions. This study builds on earlier work by the partners in London Borough of Islington (LBI), whose Master Plan for Energy Mapping confirmed the critical role that district heat networks will play in meeting future energy demands. Such networks ensure communities have access to low-cost, low-carbon energy, addressing fuel poverty in an environmentally responsible way.

Previous investigations identified the potential of the Caledonian Road neighbourhood for a heat network. It is predominantly residential, with commercial, educational, leisure and light industry. Green SCIES would extend the scale of an existing thermal network by adding end-users and supply options to deliver a smart, integrated, thermal/power-grid community-scale energy system, suitable for an urban community of mixed end-users.

The centre of the interconnected smart energy network is close to a disused London Underground railway station. The network will cover approximately 2 km radial distance from the centre, providing low-carbon energy and mobility to >20,000 residents, commercial and community buildings

The GreenSCIES network design includes renewable sources of energy (geothermal, solar PV and water source heat pumps) and secondary thermal sources of energy (waste heat recovery from the London underground, data centres, sewers, substations and a supermarket) combined with a smart district thermal network to distribute low-carbon heating and cooling.

The network design includes flexibility through demand-side management and energy storage. Smart electricity supply will connect – and flexibly control – individual assets, including heat pumps and electric vehicles, in response to the intermittent energy sources. The system integrates thermal and electrical storage (inter-seasonal storage, batteries) to create additional flexibility for the network and smart control for demand-side management.

The project will also evaluate low/ultra-low temperature configurations to distribute and convert thermal energy; connect a stand-alone building to the smart network, adding additional flexibility to the overall system; evaluate additional alternative energy technologies, including fuel cells, bio CHP, hydrogen production through electrolysis and wind turbines etc.

For more information about this project and the other projects funded by the PFER programme contact Jenni McDonnell, KTN lead for the PFER programme.

Jenni McDonnell MBE

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Jenni McDonnell MBE

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