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University of Bristol

Two E-STOR systems have been introduced to the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, operating as part of a state-of-the-art microgrid to support carbon reduction measures.

  • Industry:  University
  • System no:  2
  • Power:  600kW
  • Capacity:  720kWh
  • Application:  Storing solar generation and low carbon intensity energy from the grid
  • Functionality:  Working with a microgrid demand control system to provide green energy and provide power to an energy intensive data centre

Background

The University of Bristol is developing an area of the City Centre into an enterprise campus. The reinvention of the 200-year-old Coal Shed and Retort House, behind Bristol’s Temple Meads station, will be home to a research facility for the Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) and includes globally unique specialist research facilities, workspaces, collaboration areas and be home to a large data centre.

As part of the development, BDFI received a £2.5 million grant from Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund to reduce carbon emissions from these facilities and explore how research facilities can incorporate and optimise measures to deliver their ambitious net zero targets. As part of this grant, a smart energy system will be introduced, with two of our battery energy storage facilities as part of a site microgrid control system.

The Brief

The brief for the project was two-fold. In a drive to reduce carbon emissions, the systems were required to form part of the microgrid and smart energy system and be integral to the building.

The systems required integration with both the solar on the roof of the Coal Shed as well as being able to store power from the grid during times of low carbon intensity energy.

This will help BDFI to power the building using the greenest energy available. The systems will use our back-office control software to programme the storage and discharge of energy according to the most optimum times of the day.

The microgrid will also be used for research projects and our system data will feed into a number of projects on-site to help predict future energy scenarios.

The project was driven by our net zero ambitions and as a high energy use site – at all times of the day - battery energy storage will help us to use clean power for longer.

Dr Jenny Knapp, Director Programmes & Operations, Bristol Digital Futures Institute

The Solution

Connected Energy has installed two systems on site which will be used to store energy during peak times and provide energy back to the site to power a large data centre.

The data centre consumes around 80% of the total building’s energy and is operational 24/7. The addition of battery energy storage allows BDFI to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy required by storing greener power throughout the day to be used at times when renewable generation is low.

Although the University has a contract for the greenest energy tariff available, there are still times when green energy is not available. Our systems will help the site to take maximum advantage of its availability and contribute to the optimisation of the consumption of the data centre. It is hoped that the microgrid will demonstrate best practice in energy use which will be rolled out across other campuses.

Connected Energy has also worked closely with the University to ensure that our systems can support ongoing research and software modelling of microgrids. Our data team will be working with PhD students to evaluate the systems once the building is in operation. We have also provided one of our second life batteries to the University’s Energy Futures Lab which will be involved in simulations of different scenarios relating to optimising battery performance.

The use of second life batteries in the Connected Energy systems was integral to our overall goals by immediately demonstrating carbon savings when compared to a system which uses new batteries. Connected Energy also understood the importance of the research element of this project and have been open with their contributions and support towards this.

Dr Jenny Knapp, Director Programmes & Operations, Bristol Digital Futures Institute

Next Steps

The University has plans to create a digital twin of the site and harness the power of its Reality Emulator to carry out research to explore the future of energy use and other net zero initiatives.

This world-first facility will take data from the energy and building management systems, and elsewhere, and then driven by AI and high-performance optical networks enable emulation of future scenarios which can be visualised in the Reality Emulator’s shared immersive workspace.

University of Bristol receiving a Connected Energy battery energy storage system.
Connected Energy E-STOR System being installed onsite at the University of Bristol
BDFI HQ aerial shot
A connected energy system being delivered to the University of Bristol

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