£41 million trial for world’s largest hybrid energy storage system in Oxford


Oxford City Council has facilitated a £41m project to trial the world’s largest hybrid energy storage system to support electric vehicle charging and low-carbon heat networking.

This will help Oxford on its journey to zero carbon.

Earlier this year the City Council declared a climate emergency in Oxford and committed to continue working with partners across the city and region to deliver widespread carbon reductions.

Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) – a collaboration between Pivot Power, Habitat Energy, redT, Kensa, Oxford University, and Oxford City Council – will see the trialling of the world’s largest hybrid battery system (50MW) to support the acceleration of Oxford’s electric vehicle charging capacity and fleets, and to power ground-source heat pumps for residential properties.

ESO will deliver a 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year saving by 2021, rising to 44,000 tonnes per year by 2032.

Oxford City Council has been awarded £1,615,169 for its role in the project from the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK as part of a successful £10.26m bid for the Oxford element of the overall £41m project. The rest of the funding is coming from the other partners in the project.

ESO will see the installation of a large battery, connected to the Cowley substation in Blackberry Lane, South Oxford, and will both store and re-supply electricity directly back to the grid. The battery will store and deliver power to electricity suppliers and will help to balance the local requirements for the grid.

Cable, sharing the same substation connection as the battery, will be used to provide low-carbon ground-source heating to around 300 homes, and will provide large scale electric vehicle charging capabilities across Oxford.

It will work through storing electricity at times of low demand and re-supplying at peak demand through the application of machine learning approaches. This includes the storage of renewable or ‘green’ energy.  The technology will be able to shift the demand to periods of low prices, minimise bills and overcome local network constraints.

Technology from the battery will optimise time-of-day charging, with capabilities for overnight charging.

The £41m project will help accelerate the use of electric vehicles in Oxford, including growth of the City Council’s own electric fleet. Electrical cabling, powered by the spare capacity from the giant battery will deliver electric vehicle charging capacity to City Council depots and key businesses in Oxford, including local bus companies, taxis providers, and commercial fleet depots.

With the additional charging capacity available, the City Council aims to procure new electric fleet vehicles including refuse collection trucks, sweepers, tippers and vans.

The project will also enable the use of spare capacity energy to power an electric vehicle ‘superhub’ – which aims to be the first charging hub in Oxford with rapid electric vehicle charging. The superhub will see the installation of more than 20 ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers for the public use. The chargers will have low affordable tariffs with charging speeds ranging between 10-30 minutes.

The funding will also support the Council to work with a partner offering a ‘Trial before you Buy’ programme for Hackney Carriage Vehicle drivers in Oxford. This will assist the transition of the black cab fleet from 100% diesel to 100% electric by 2025.