A North East company that has developed a solution for storing renewable energy has been awarded just over £250k as part of the Government’s Industrial Fuel Switching Programme.

Sherwood Power in Scorton will be using the funding to pilot its technology with a leading supermarket, which will look at the feasibility of electrifying auxiliary power on refrigerated vehicles typically used to transport fresh produce.

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Currently, when at a distribution centre, trailer refrigeration units run on diesel during loading and unloading. Sherwood Power will provide electric docking stations, which will mean trailers can be plugged into the building’s electricity to cool the produce instead. The additional electricity capacity required to chill the fresh produce will be met by installing on-site renewable energy generation and electrical energy storage.

Alex Hunter, CEO of Sherwood Power, said: “A lot has been said already about the need for UK businesses to meet net zero targets, but there are significant challenges in rapidly developing the infrastructure to let companies do so. The feasibility study we are running as part of the Industrial Fuel Switching Programme sees us addressing all three parts of this challenge. 

“We are adapting the retailer’s existing on-site equipment, including installing new electric docking stations, to facilitate the switch from diesel to electricity. We are providing the additional electric power that will be required because of the switch by installing renewable energy generation. Finally, we are addressing fluctuations in demand for electricity (for example, when there are more delivery vehicles charging) by installing our energy storage solution.”

Sherwood Power has developed technology - the Free Air Battery (FAB) - that can store excess solar and wind electricity as compressed air, releasing it during expensive periods.

The announcement of the government funding comes at an exciting time for Sherwood Power. The company was recently accepted onto the Climate Innovation Platform (CIP), managed by the University of Birmingham in partnership with the Energy Systems Catapult. The CIP will help 13 companies across the country research, test and grow their energy technologies. 

Hunter said: “Developing new energy technologies and services is vital if the UK is going to meet the Government's commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2050. Working with specialists through the Climate Innovation Platform will mean we are able to support more businesses to lower energy costs by switching to on-site renewable energy.”


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