Wärtsilä Supplies Big Battery in Pioneering Lithium/Vanadium Hybrid System

  • The technology group Wärtsilä has supplied a 50 MW / 50 MWh lithium-ion battery to Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, who have developed a cutting-edge hybrid battery site in Oxford, UK.
  • The hybrid battery system, which was officially launched today at the opening of Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO), will play an essential role in the UK’s shift to renewables.

The hybrid battery combines Wärtsilä’s 50 MW / 50 MWh lithium-ion battery with Invinity’s 2 MW / 5 MWh vanadium-flow battery. The system will be controlled and dispatched by Wärtsilä’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform and optimised by Habitat’s AI-enabled battery trading system, with the project being owned and developed by Pivot Power.

The hybrid battery is the first of its kind in the UK, designed to fulfil multiple energy storage needs and support the ramp-up 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. It is also the first in the UK to be directly connected to the National Grid’s high-voltage transmission network at the Cowley substation on the outskirts of Oxford., with the UK’s largest flow battery providing a unique overdrive function that allows it to be operated at higher power levels for sustained periods of time.

The site forms one part of the 41 million GBP Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project. ESO integrates energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, low carbon heating, and smart energy management technologies to decarbonise Oxford by 2040 and create a blueprint for other towns and cities to achieve net zero. The hybrid battery system is a short distance from the Redbridge Park and Ride, where the project’s EV charging hub is located, and can provide backup power for the EV charging infrastructure.

The 5 MWh flow battery system, manufactured in the UK by Invinity, will combine with a 50 MWh Wärtsilä lithium-ion battery to operate as a single energy storage asset. Not only will this be the largest directly-transmission-connected battery installed in the UK to date, it will be the largest vanadium flow + lithium-ion hybrid battery ever deployed. Image credit: Invinity

Wärtsilä 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 small-scale 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.

Kenneth Engblom, Vice President of Europe and Africa, at Wärtsilä Energy, said: “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.”

Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: “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.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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