Enabling energy systems to be fully integrated at scale, such that they are smart, flexible and future proofed.

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Smart systems empower consumers by ensuring households and businesses can use energy when it is cheapest and reward them for being flexible when they use energy.

Our Key Priorities

Flexible Energy Systems

Upgrading the energy distribution system to make it smarter and more flexible is a key part of the Industrial Strategy. The Government has committed to developing a business environment where new entrants to the market can compete. Flexible Energy Systems bring together a variety of electrical energy sources and methods of production, distribution and intelligent metering in order to minimise energy demand, share resources and optimise efficiency. ERA will develop this capability area into a series of demonstrator sites.

Gas Use & Distribution

 Gas heating accounts for one third of the UK's CO2 emissions so any project that reduces this impact supports the Government’s tough decarbonisation targets. ERA partners are investigating potential uses of hydrogen gas for heating, testing and the possibility of using domestic gas pipes for the distribution of a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen. In addition there are opportunities to develop a range of innovative hydrogen appliances such as boilers and cookers. 

Power Electronics and Control

Power monitoring systems need to play an increasing role in keeping track of the energy consumed to show when a component needs to be replaced because it is using too much power. Timely replacement, or maintenance before repair, can reduce downtime as well as save energy. The ERA institutions are involved in many aspects of power electronics and control R&D including the integration of energy storage to allow renewable generating plants to behave like conventional power stations, thus helping to balance inputs and outputs on the grid.

 Thermal Energy and Distribution

A heat network, sometimes called district heating – is a system of insulated pipes that takes heat from a central source and delivers it to a number of domestic or non-domestic buildings. The heat source might be a facility that provides a dedicated supply to the heat network, such as a combined heat and power plant; or heat recovered from industry and urban infrastructure, coal mines, deep aquifers, canals and rivers, or energy from waste plants. Several ERA university partners have installed heat networks,and BGS is investigating how to ‘mine geothermal’ through its UKGEOS project. By using these significant, physical infrastructure assets, ERA is able to demonstrate real research capability at scale in this area.

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The government aims to reduce CO2 by 80% by 2050. ERA is working with industry to deliver real change quickly.

Energy Integration