Back in 2016 the improvements in battery technology and the growth of uncontrolled renewables in Northern Ireland was an opportunity identified by PowerOn, the parent company of The Electric Storage Company, for electrical energy storage by households and smaller users. The power industry was using batteries at very large scale and getting rewarded by the market. Could we get this same benefit for smaller users of storage?
PowerOn decided to take a test-based approach. Test 1 in a controlled environment and if it worked move to Test 2, out in the real environment, known as a Field Trial.
We needed to compare some of the many battery chemistries available along with tracking the performance of battery when used by real families. As we were both graduates of Ulster University we knew they had considerable knowledge and skills in this area.
The university had constructed 2 red brick, terraced houses, built to 1902 design and building standards, occupied all year around by families of university staff members. The houses have facilities to monitor all aspects of energy usage to support research into sustainable technology.
Several battery suppliers were deployed: some worked, some didn’t but what was clear from the results was that lithium iron phosphate chemistry was the right product to bring to Northern Ireland for the larger Test 2 field trial.