Four NUS Engineering projects received EMA funding for energy storage innovations

Four NUS Engineering projects received EMA funding for energy storage innovations

Associate Professor Praveen Linga (right) with Professor Low Tech Seng, CEO of National Research Foundation `{`NRF`}` (middle), and Dr Yeah Lean Weng, Director of NRF USS (left) at Energy Innovation 2016.
Associate Professors Panda Sanjib Kumar (far left) and Palani Balaya (far right) with Dr Rendy Tan, NUS Enterprise, CERT (second left), and Mr Marcus Chong, CERT (second right), at Energy Innovation 2016

On 3 June 2016, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) gave out S$15 million in research grants to six projects aimed to develop cost-effective energy storage innovations that could be deployed in Singapore. These six projects were selected from over 30 proposals received, after a grant call was launched in May 2015.

Of the six projects identified by EMA, four projects – led by professors and researchers from NUS Engineering – were awarded the EMA research grants. The NUS Centre for Energy Research and Technology (CERT) facilitated the grant applications by bringing in industry collaborators for the respective project teams.

The energy storage innovations, said EMA, have the potential to facilitate the deployment of renewables such as solar energy, as well as enhance the stability and reliability of the power system by supplementing power when needed.

“Congratulations to the Professors who were awarded the EMA grants for energy storage. As the focus now is on Research, Development and Deployment, rather than just Research and Development, CERT’s achievements in this grant call is a testimony of the relevant societal impact that NUS research is creating,” said Professor Lee Jim Yang, Director of CERT and Head of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department.

Details of the four projects led by the various NUS Engineering professors and researchers are as follows:

Condensed-phase Aqueous Redox-flow Battery (CARB) System: A Large-Scale Stationary Energy Storage Technology for Near-Term Deployment in Singapore

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Wang Qing, Materials Science & Engineering 

Redox flow batteries are used in grid-scale energy applications such as peak shaving. However, they are often of low energy intensity and require considerable space for deployment.

This project will develop and test-bed a Condensed-phase Aqueous Redox-flow Battery (CARB) system that is water-based to make it non-flammable, unlike lithiumion which uses a flammable electrolyte. This system will have a smaller and lower cost footprint, and will be suitable for local grid-scale energy applications (e.g. peak shaving) at wider operating temperatures of up to 80°C.

Development of Sodium-ion Battery Pack for Stationary Storage Systems

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Palani Balaya, Mechanical Engineering

Sodium-ion batteries are gaining popularity as a promising replacement for lithium-ion batteries, as sodium is non-toxic, costs less and is widely available. However, their performance (e.g. rate of charge/discharge and cycle life) pales in comparison with lithium-ion batteries.

This project will develop and test-bed large-scale non-flammable sodium-ion batteries suitable for grid-scale applications in local conditions. They are expected to cost half the price of lithium-ion batteries, with an enhanced cycle life and capacity over current sodium-ion batteries.

A Cost-Effective Solidified Natural Gas (SNG) Technology for Energy Storage to Strengthen Energy Resilience in Singapore

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Praveen Linga, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Solidified natural gas (SNG) is a promising method for natural gas to be stored using less energy in the form of hydrates.

This project will develop SNG with improved storage stability and capacity over conventional options such as LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG), resulting in SNG being more easily stored and used as a backup fuel in the event of a natural gas supply disruption. SNG will achieve up to 50 percent reduction in storage costs compared with conventional CNG technology. This project is also supported by Lloyds Register Global Technology Centre in Singapore.

Development of High Performance and Energy Efficient Matrix Converter for Interfacing Battery Energy Storage with Utility Grid

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Panda Sanjib Kumar, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Traditional power electronic converters usually result in considerable energy conversion losses when they convert and transfer energy from the batteries to the grid.

This project will develop a single stage power converter to cut down energy conversion losses. The new power converter will offer better power conversion efficiency and improved power quality compared with existing power electronic converters.