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Project with world’s largest lithium-vanadium hybrid BESS officially launched in Oxford, UK

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Energy Superhub Oxford, a project with a lithium-ion-vanadium hybrid battery energy storage system (BESS) totalling 55MW, has officially launched.

The opening of its EV charging park today (July 5) marks the final step in delivering the project, which was covered in-depth in Vol.30 of PV Tech Power, Solar Media’s quarterly technical journal focused on the downstream solar industry. (You can read an extract of that special report here.)

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The core component of the project is a combined BESS made up of a 50 MW/50MWh Lithium-ion system, supplied by Wärtsilä, and a 2MW/5MWh vanadium flow battery from Invinity Energy Systems. Optimiser Habitat Energy is taking the assets into market with its AI-enabled trading platform.

The plan has always been for the two to eventually operate as a hybrid asset, but a statement from Pivot Power provided to Energy-Storage.news indicates this is not yet the case.

“The vanadium flow battery was energised in December and has been charging and discharging since. With the site now officially launched, there will be a period of baselining alongside our partner Habitat Energy who will be optimising the dispatch of both assets,” a spokesperson said.

The project will provide its developer Pivot Power and the technology providers with invaluable learnings about how a combined asset can uniquely capitalise on market opportunities and the ways in which a vanadium battery can extend or optimise the lifetime of a lithium-ion battery, which has a much shorter lifecycle.

UK government body Innovate UK provided a quarter of the £41 million (US$55.8 million) cost of the Superhub. Its director of the ‘Prospering from the Energy Revolution’ challenge programme, Rob Saunders, said:

“The Energy Superhub Oxford project demonstrates the massive potential of creating integrated local energy systems, tailored to local needs, that will help cities and regions cut carbon in ways that work for communities and consumers. Our funding aim has been to help trial projects that are scalable and replicable, and it is great to see the Superhub concept rolling out to other areas.”

Indeed, Pivot Power wants to expand the Superhub model to up to 40 other locations in the UK of 50MW each meaning a total planned pipeline of 2GW. Most recently, it firmed up construction start dates for two sites in the West Midlands, one in a London suburb and one in Cornwall, altogether totalling 200MW/400MWh of energy storage (covered by our sister site Current).

It is continuing to use Wärtsilä’s lithium-ion-based BESS units to deliver these projects. In an interview for the PV Tech Power report, Pivot Power CTO Mikey Clark told Energy-Storage.news that it would wait to see how the vanadium battery performed in Oxford before considering using it for further projects.

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