Invinity accelerates the energy transition with launch of the UK’s largest flow battery
Tuesday 5 July 2022
Invinity Energy Systems, a leading global manufacturer of utility-grade energy storage, is delighted to note the official launch of the Energy Superhub Oxford, marked today with the opening of what is believed to be Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle (EV) charging hub and the launch of the world’s largest hybrid energy storage system, incorporating a 5 MWh Invinity vanadium flow battery. Developed by Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, this achievement marks an important step in the UK’s shift to renewables and the widespread rollout of critical EV charging infrastructure.
The innovative hybrid battery combines Invinity’s 2 MW / 5 MWh vanadium flow battery with a 50 MW / 50 MWh lithium-ion battery from Wärtsilä to create a system that can perform a range of services for the UK grid, with the ability to power over 6,000 homes for an entire day*. The system will be controlled and managed by Wärtsilä’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform and optimised by Habitat Energy’s AI-enabled battery trading system. This system will help provide the flexibility needed to incorporate the huge quantity of renewable energy required to reach the UK’s targets of 50 GW of offshore wind and 70 GW of solar capacity by the 2030s, on the path to fully decarbonising the UK grid by 2035. It will also support the Government’s ambition to reduce the country’s dependence on gas, offering a low-carbon way of delivering the UK’s energy needs.
*Average UK Household Energy Consumption: 8.5 kWh per day. Source: homeserve
The 5 MWh Invinity vanadium flow battery, energised in late 2021, is the largest of its kind in the UK and one of the largest operating flow batteries in the world. Since Invinity’s vanadium flow batteries combine fast response with zero degradation and the ability to cycle indefinitely, its role in this hybrid system is to act as the first line of response, performing much of the ‘heavy lifting’ required from the battery system overall and reducing wear on the lithium-ion portion of the system.
“Energy Superhub Oxford illustrates the vital role energy storage in general and flow batteries in particular will play in the UK’s shift to renewable energy. To reach net zero targets, the UK is forecast to require up to 24,000 MW of long-duration energy storage of multiple types and configurations. This project demonstrates that flow batteries coupled with lithium-ion battery storage create a high performance system that benefits from the unique characteristics of each technology.”
– Larry Zulch, Chief Executive Officer, Invinity Energy Systems
The flow battery demonstrates how high-throughput, utility grade energy storage is ready to enable a rapid increase in renewable energy in the UK and around the world. It was built at Invinity’s factory in Bathgate, Scotland, illustrating the vital role of UK manufacturing and industrial innovation in this world-first project.
The grid-scale battery storage system forms part of the £41 million Energy Superhub Oxford project, developed by Pivot Power and partially funded by UKRI under the ‘Prospering from the Energy Revolution’ programme. This pioneering project integrates energy storage, EV charging, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies as a step towards Oxford achieving net zero by 2040 and creating a blueprint for other towns and cities to cut carbon and improve air quality.
The battery is the first in the UK to be directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system, at the Cowley substation on the outskirts of Oxford. It shares this connection with a 4-mile EV charging network which will deliver large volumes of electricity to Redbridge Park and Ride, creating Europe’s most powerful EV charging hub. A connection point has also been created at Oxford Bus Company’s Watlington Road depot, ready to support the ongoing electrification of the city’s bus fleet.
“We need urgent solutions to decarbonise our electricity system and unlock the full potential of the UK’s abundant renewable energy sources. Energy storage is the missing piece of this puzzle. Our hybrid battery combines innovative technology to meet various needs across the power sector. By underpinning homegrown renewable energy, Pivot Power is helping the UK to create a power system that is clean, secure, and able to meet the demands of the future.”
– Matt Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Pivot Power
Energy Superhub Oxford forms part of a portfolio of similar sites Pivot Power is developing across the UK to deliver up to 2 GW of transmission-connected battery storage at constrained nodes in the electric network to support more renewables and create the power infrastructure for mass-scale, rapid EV charging and broader urban decarbonisation. This innovative model supports EDF Group’s ambition to become Europe’s leading e-mobility energy company by 2023 and forms a key pillar of its plan to develop an additional 10 GW of battery storage globally by 2035.
Wärtsilä, the global technology company, has provided both the lithium-ion battery and GEMS Digital Energy Platform for the project. The GEMS system has been optimised for hybrid system control, managing significant complexities across battery chemistries and asset integration. GEMS supports the shift to decentralised generation by enabling the delivery of different services, from frequency regulation to enhanced grid resilience, as well as providing critical feedback to stakeholders across asset owner, operation and trading value chains.
“Shifting power systems to net zero whilst ensuring that the lights stay on is an incredibly complex task. The hybrid battery system is solving these problems at multiple levels, helping to supercharge the UK’s path to net zero. Wärtsilä’s technology is the cornerstone of this acceleration, helping to support decarbonisation across the entire country.”
– Kenneth Engblom, Vice President of Europe and Africa, Wärtsilä Energy