Development of the next generation, commercially viable, energy storage system
While investment in renewable energy is increasing across the world, inspired by a growing awareness of global warming and the potential future shortage of fossil fuel resources, renewable energy is typically intermittent in nature and will hence require a complimentary network of energy storage mechanisms to ensure a constant supply of power for industrial and domestic applications. Such applications typically require this energy in the form of either electricity and/or combustible fuels. In this project it is proposed that a dynamic, comprehensive energy storage system should be capable of satisfying both of these energy demands simultaneously by combining mechanical energy storage and chemical storage methodologies.
This project will focus upon the adaptation and integration of a cryogenic energy storage device to enable the simultaneous storage of both electrical energy and the production of hydrocarbon fuels. In a cryogenic energy storage system, baseload excess energy from a renewable energy source powers a compressor which in turn enables the liquidification of air. This liquid air can be stored at atmospheric pressure and at temperatures as low as -194°C, prior to being pumped to a high pressure upon demand, vapourised and passed through a turbine to supply electrical energy back to the grid. While such systems have been widely discussed as having the potential to achieve economically feasible, safe energy storage, their development is still in its infancy and hence significant levels of engineering analyses, adjustments, re-designs and optimisations are required in order to advance these cycles to commercially viable products capable of making a significant impact across the world.
The project will involve the combination of first principles engineering modelling of the overall system with detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of unit operations and overall macroscopic economic analyses in order to determine the optimum operating design of such an adapted cryogenic energy system.
It is expected that the successful candidate has a very strong aptitude for modelling and computational analysis as well as the ability to practically design, construct and operate the physical system. The successful candidate will be expected to have a first class honours degree (1.1) in either chemical engineering or mechanical engineering (or similar discipline) and he/she will obtain invaluable experience in the fields of engineering design, renewable energy, energy storage, mathematical analysis, engineering modelling, CFD simulation and economic modelling.
Full funding available for the successful applicant