Three new Landscapes at the EDC

16 Dec 2020

By Catherine Jones & Jim Halliday

UKERC Landscapes are a valuable source of information for a particular energy topic.  They are compiled by domain experts in the field and cover what research and development is being undertaken, both within the UK and wider international activities.  The Landscape, where appropriate, covers the broad range of R&D from basic blue skies to demonstration, and provides comprehensive information.

They are a good starting point to understand the current state of the topic and to find relevant projects, consortia and UK institutions who are researching the topics.  Their comprehensive nature is demonstrated by the fact that they are large documents.

This autumn the EDC has published three new Landscapes.

Energy Storage

Energy storage is the capture of energy produced at one time for use at a later point in time. With the increase in renewable energy sources, which can be very time dependant when energy is being generated, there is increased interest in discovering the best ways of storing this energy.

The main research and development challenges are to reduce cost and improve storage performance particularly in terms of energy density, round-trip efficiency, and lifetime, during charge and discharge cycling. Research needs for storage technologies have been comprehensively discussed and generally include research into new materials and manufacturing methods.

The Landscape identifies the main approaches to energy storage, UK based funding streams, and key university research groups.

The Energy Storage Landscape was written by Dr Alan Ruddell, from STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Socio-Economic research

The UK socio-economic energy research is a particularly broad and diverse field of research.  In general, researchers in this area take the starting position that energy systems constitute complex systems, which are comprised of many inter-connected technological and social elements that together are capable of satisfying energy needs. So the study of those connections and the impact that changes have is the focus of this Landscape.

Specific topics within this wider domain include investigating the dynamics of the connections and innovations in the system, aspects of the economics of the energy market & market interventions, governance of the systems, design, and impact of energy regulations, domestic use and energy use decisions, business models and finance in the energy sector, and finally consideration of the equity, justice, and acceptability of innovations and the impact of those on different parts of society.

The Socio-Economic Research Landscape was written by Dr Matthew Hannon, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde University Business School.

Whole systems research

Whole systems energy research considers all aspects of energy system change from technological innovation to examining the social, environmental, and economic impacts of energy pathways and choices. This considers not just parts of the energy system as individual components but as an interconnected environment and as such, is inherently multidisciplinary.  The Landscape focuses on three types of UK-based research: those with intellectual diversity of approach & expertise, those that seek to integrate different approaches & expertise to one common approach and finally those that seek to engage non-academic stakeholders as active partners in the project.

The Whole Systems Research Landscape was written by  Dr Antti Silvast, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture; Associate Fellow at Durham Energy Institute (DEI).