Smart Energy Storage by Clive Tomlinson

Clive Tomlinson spoke at our November 2018 evening meeting.   He works for Swanbarton, a company which specialises in energy storage. Whilst many of us are enthusiasts for carbon-free renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydro, the energy generated by these means is unpredictable – the sun only shines in day time and the wind tends to blow in the early hours while peak consumption is at breakfast and tea time. Another potential problem is that local generation, for example solar panels on the roofs of houses, can lead to the overloading of local power networks. Hence the need for energy storage which essentially means batteries.
Clive described some of Swanbarton’s inventive and pioneering solutions to this problem. One of these is a suite of batteries housed in a box about the size of a shipping container which is parked outside a factory in Ebbw Vale. The factory has the means to generate renewable electricity which is then stored, so that the factory is self-sufficient, a system which provides the most efficient generation and consumption of energy.
Another of Swanbarton’s developments is the Micro Energy Manager, a cunning device about the size of a laptop computer which buys energy from the national grid when it is cheap and sells it back when the price is high. This principal is the basis of the 30-year old Dinorwig Power Station in Wales where water is pumped at off-peak times from a lower to a higher level, then the process reversed when electricity is in higher demand.
Swanbarton is exporting its energy efficient technology around the world and Clive described projects in Botswana, Nepal and shortly in Ruanda. Essentially, energy storage is developed to tame unpredictable climate-friendly energy and to facilitate the local production and consumption of energy.
To find out more about this pioneering, Wiltshire-based enterprise go to      Roger Jones