University of Sheffield: Scalable Integrated Multi-Vector Energy Systems

Developing intelligent multi-vector energy systems that can be deployed at scale to decarbonise domestic heat and power.

Lead Organisation

The University of Sheffield



Project completed April - June 2023





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About the project

The Scalable Integrated Multi-Vector Energy Systems (SIM-VES) project aims to demonstrate data-driven approaches to specifying and operating multi-vector heat and power upgrades in homes.

SIM-VES takes a systems first approach to energy upgrade by enhancing interoperability of the most common systems households need to adopt when considering their net zero trajectory. The project aggregates and integrates heat pumps, novel long-term compact and steady state thermal storage, batteries, photovoltaics, and controls technology into an interoperable modular system with predictive capabilities to better respond to occupant demands, energy system requirements and cost points to manage energy, heat and power at building, community or national level.

The SIM-VES approach aims to deliver:

  • User benefits: significantly lower energy bills and carbon emissions for consumers, without compromising comfort; security of power and heat stored at point of use.
  • Grid/Network benefits: peak demand reduction enabling significant reduction in grid carbon intensity, avoidance of green energy curtailment, and reduced or offset infrastructure investment.
  • Installer benefits: Simplified specification and installation pathway, unlocking delivery at scale.
  • National benefits: New commercial opportunities through delivery of a scalable retrofit solution for retrofit; potential for significant carbon reduction impact.

What has been delivered? What has been successful?

  • Detailed technical and commercial feasibility report.
  • Detailed phase 2 plan and costing.

What did the project achieve?

  • Development of collaborations with housing providers to host phase 2 trial.
  • Demonstration of SIM-VES specification and control algorithms using simulated data.
  • New technical partnerships to develop innovative hardware to enable operation of SIM-VES.
  • Definition of a novel route to market that enables wider uptake of the technologies through an Accelerator programme aimed an upskilling housing providers.

Key lessons learnt

The SIM-VES technologies have been validated using simulated data and now require testing at scale in real-world setting.

Housing providers already have a huge array of technologies, tools and approaches aimed at improving the heat or power systems of homes at their disposal, but they are not widely adopted. Presenting another technology option in isolation will not necessarily improve outcomes.

The market for technologies, tools and approaches for decarbonising homes is still forming and housing providers’ understanding of it can be low. This is a commercial risk; the SIM-VES tools could face low adoption levels post-project.

Next steps

The next step is to seek funding that will enable the commercial model, in the form of a novel data-driven Accelerator, to be deployed with project partners. This will utilise SIM-VES’ innovative digital tools to identify, specify, and optimise the operation of clean heat and power technologies at a portfolio scale, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and establishing a route to market. The outcomes will empower housing providers to efficiently plan large-scale heat and power upgrades for domestic properties.

The Accelerator will serve as a vehicle to demonstrate the SIM-VES technologies, utilising data to enable effective realisation of targeted decarbonisation measures. A fully scalable Accelerator service will be piloted with housing providers, and a technical demonstration - for the first time – of optimised, data-informed specification and operation of multi-vector energy systems that can be rolled-out at scale. These novel technologies will enable evidenced and coordinated, whole system, and building specific upgrades to heat and power systems, and optimised performance of the energy system upgrades once retrofitted in homes.


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