The Anonymous Widower

Cheesecake Energy Receives Investment From The University Of Nottingham

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on NewsAnyway.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Cheesecake Energy Limited (CEL) today announced it has received investment from the University of Nottingham to support UK-wide pilot programmes for the company’s energy storage solution.

Thse two paragraphs are a brief description of the company, their technology and what they do.

Cheesecake Energy Limited is a fast-growing startup developing energy storage at 30-40% lower cost than the current market leader, lithium ion batteries. Its system uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environmental impact. 

Founded in 2016, the company has already established itself within the Nottingham, and wider East Midlands energy ecosystem — having secured initial interest from local councils and bus services for pilot programmes. The company is currently designing a 150 kW / 750 kWh prototype system for completion in Q4 2020 which will be deployed with a local bus depot for charging of electric buses using renewable energy.

This is the home page of their web site, which proudly announces.

The Greenest Battery In The World

We’ll see and hear that slogan many times in the next few years.

A few of my thoughts on the company.

Cheesecake Energy’s Technology

Cheesecake Energy says it uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environment impact.

Three other companies also use or may use compressed air to store energy.

As Cheesecake appear to be using a thermal energy storage, have they found a unique way to create another type of compressed air storage?

Battery Sizes

How do the sizes of the three companies batteries compare?

  • Cheesecake Energy prototype – 150 kW – 750 kWh – five hours
  • Form Energy for Great River Energy – 1MW – 150 MWh – 150 hours
  • Highview Power for Vermont – 50MW – 400 MWh – 8 hours
  • Hydrostor for South Australia – 50+MW – 4-24+ hours

The Cheesecake Energy prototype is the smallest battery, but Highview Power built a 750 KWh prototype before scaling up.

Note.

  1. The first figure is the maximum power output of the battery.
  2. The second figure is the capacity of the battery.
  3. The third figure is the maximum delivery time on full power.
  4. The capacity for Hydrostor wasn’t given.

The figures are nicely spread out, which leas me to think, that depending on your power needs, a compressed air battery can be built to satisfy them.

Charging Electric Buses

Buses like this Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV electric bus are increasingly seen in the UK.

And they all need to be charged!

Cheesecake Energy say that their prototype will be deployed with a local bus depot for charging of electric buses using renewable energy.

  • An electric bus depot should be a good test and demonstration of the capabilities of their battery and its technology.
  • Note that according to this data sheet of an Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV, which is a typical single-decker electric bus, the bus is charged by BYD dual plug 2×40kW AC charging, which gives the bus a range of up to 160 miles.
  • With a 150 kW output could Cheesecake’s prototype charge two buses at the same time and several buses during a working day?
  • Would DC charging as used by Vivarail’s charging system for trains be an alternative?

To me, it looks like Cheesecake are showing good marketing skills.

I do wonder if this size of charger could make the finances of electric buses more favourable.

Suppose, a bus company had a fleet of up to a dozen diesel single-decker buses running services around a city or large town.

  • How much would they spend on electricity, if they replaced these buses with electric ones?
  • Would being able to use cheaper overnight energy to charge buses in the day, be more affordable?
  • Would electric buses run from renewable electricity attract passengers to the services?

These arguments for electric buses would also apply for a company running fleets of vans and small trucks.

To me, it looks like Cheesecake are showing good engineering/marketing skills, by designing a product that fits several markets.

 

 

May 11, 2020 - Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. > have they found a unique way to create another type of compressed air storage?

    I wonder if they are recovering the heat energy generated in the compression/decompression process? Would that be worth it?

    Comment by Matthew | May 11, 2020 | Reply

  2. Storing energy as heat has a lot of advantages. Other forms of energy can easily be converted to heat, and heat can be pumped efficiently from ground, air, and water sources, produced from boilers, or taken from waste heat from other processes. Modern heat insulation keeps the static heat loss very low.
    I have good experience of heat storage using a phase change (solid to liquid) heat store for hot water in my house. The store is heated from my central heating boiler and was installed to get rid of a large hot water cylinder that despite being a modern foam covered unit, had a significant static heat loss. The new unit is half the size and has a much higher heat capacity, supplying hot water for 4 showers, as well as taps. With the conventional cylinder, the boiler came on at regular intervals to top up the heat, but with the heat store, the boiler comes on only rarely. In fact when we first got it, I thought it must be using the immersion heater, which I had disabled. This wasn’t the case, and now we are used to it, we are surprised to see the boiler heating it.
    Clearly, using the heat store to provide heat out is the ideal scenario, but if the heat can be turned into electricity efficiently, then this is an excellent energy store for other purposes. The solution is very scalable, has no moving parts, and is extremely reliable. It can take in heat via a built-in heat exchanger and/or can use the internal electrical heater. The heat store is also low cost, and easy to install (only 4 pipe connections and a few electrical connections).
    I am building a new house at the moment and I am putting in two; one and each end of the house to minimise pipe runs to provide near instant hot water for taps and showers, and minimise unnecessary heat loss from pipe runs.

    Comment by John | May 11, 2020 | Reply

    • I can’t see how compressed-air and thermal heat storage fit together. Unless they take the heat they extract from the air to liquify it and store it in the thermal store. They could then use it to warm up the air to power a turbine. Highview power use a low-grade heat store.

      Comment by AnonW | May 11, 2020 | Reply


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