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Energy Storage talk- Nov 2018

Before the lecture, the opportunity was taken to present Leon Henney, Glyndwr university, with the 2018 IMechE undergraduate award for the best Mechanical Engineering Project. The project was to produce a variable speed controller suitable for use on aerial devices. John Pollard, Regional Chairman, presented Leon with a certificate and a cash prize in recognition of his work.

 

The main event was a Technical lecture given by Michael Rimmer, Principle Rotating Machinery Engineer at Costain on the subject of energy storage, with particular reference to the use of salt caverns to store gas.

 

The talk started by describing the way brine is produced in the Cheshire salt fields by introducing water to leech the salt and thus producing the caverns which can then be used for storage of gas including compressed air. There are a number of similar fields across the UK although some capacity reduced with the loss of the Rough field which has left the country with a seriously diminished storage capacity. Appears to be an overreliance on LNG container ships which can be diverted against the whim of market prices.

 

Michael provided some technical information on the selection of machinery and how the traditional compressors are now developed into hermetically sealed modular units incorporating the motor and the centrifugal pump. He explained how the gas super grid works and the need for compression at various locations to maintain the system pressure to the consumers.

 

The talk provided an overview of the need for energy storage including the potential for the use of compressed air and hydrogen in the future to address energy needs. The increasing renewables sector producing an intermittent and somewhat unstable energy requires some smoothing to address the variation in demand. The loss of the ‘flywheel’ effect of the large steam generators is making it more difficult to sustain grid stability and frequency. Effective storage is essential to cope with the fluctuations in demand.

 

After a very useful Q&A session the meeting finished with the Regional Chairman presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to Michael Rimmer for an excellent presentation and discussion. Martyn Jones and Glyndwr University were also thanked for hosting this event.

 

Feedback forms returned by most of the participants confirmed this lecture to have been well received and an ‘excellent’ event.

 

We had 40 registrants for this event of which 15 did not turn up. However, an additional 4 non-

registrants brought the total to 29. Light refreshments were provided.

 

 Gareth Cemlyn Jones 30th November 2018



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