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Used electric car batteries used to create campus energy store

PUBLISHED: 11:48 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:48 17 July 2020

An artist's impression of The Hold at the University of Suffolk campus in Ipswich  Picture: PRS ARCHITECTS

An artist's impression of The Hold at the University of Suffolk campus in Ipswich Picture: PRS ARCHITECTS

prs architects

Old Renault car batteries are set to power up a sustainable energy revolution at a university campus.

An artist's impression of the inside of a Connected Energy E-STOR faciity  Picture: CONNECTED ENERGYAn artist's impression of the inside of a Connected Energy E-STOR faciity Picture: CONNECTED ENERGY

The University of Suffolk will play host to a pioneering sustainable energy storage project as part of £20m flagship heritage facility The Hold, which is due to open later this year.

Cleantech firm Connected Energy – which has its technical centre in Hethel in Norfolk – is setting up project and creating a knowledge exchange partnership in partnership with Suffolk County Council and the university.

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The Hold will house one of Connected Energy’s E-STOR energy storage systems, reusing 24 old Renault Kangoo electric vehicle batteries with a total energy storage capacity of 360kWh.

The energy store will help maximise the use of solar power, support the charging of electric vehicles, help power the air conditioning, and manage electricity costs.

An artist's impression of a Connected Energy E-STOR facility  Picture: CONNECTED ENERGYAn artist's impression of a Connected Energy E-STOR facility Picture: CONNECTED ENERGY

It will also double the working lives of the batteries before they are eventually recycled.

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Connected Energy, which specialises in the reuse of electric vehicle batteries – or second life batteries – will supply the council with the first of its latest generation of energy storage systems.

These use advanced power electronics and cooling to improve efficiency and lower costs, the company says.

Matthew Lumsden, chief executive at Connected Energy, which is based in Newcastle, said the new product was “a real landmark”.

“In a new industry where most companies are developing their first systems, we are now delivering world-leading second generation systems based on five years of learning and in-field operation. This gives us a significant lead on our competitors,” he said.

The Hold, at the university’s Ipswich waterfront campus, will be home to many of Suffolk’s archive collections. Connected Energy will also be working with the University of Suffolk on a knowledge exchange partnership that will support research and innovation activities across both organisations. The collaboration will allow access to the battery storage system for teaching and research purposes, as well as projects to translate University science into practice.

Justine Oakes, the university’s sustainability manager and research and business lead for Suffolk Sustainability Institute (SSI), said the partnership would provide research and curriculum engagement opportunities in a “living laboratory research space”.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for heritage, Paul West, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Heritage at Suffolk County Council, said the project was a “significant move” in the council’s bid to drive down carbon emissions.


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