Blog post by Carl Ennis, Managing Director, Siemens Energy Management UK & Ireland
Northern pioneers contribute to UK energy industry
Siemens is the proud employer of 6,000 people in the North of England, and as an honoured sponsor of the Great Exhibition of the North, we’re excited to showcase the innovation and talent that is abundant in this area.
The exhibition is a celebration of the pioneering spirit of the people of the north and it is this spirit that is making great inroads to solving the challenges of the UK’s changing energy industry.
Our energy system is rapidly moving away from central power plants that power large sections of the country to smaller, more local sources of generation that use renewable energy sources like wind, solar and water. This is called ‘decentralised energy generation’.
While renewable sources are great for reducing carbon emissions, they can be unreliable for generating energy as we can’t control when the sun will shine or when the wind will blow. What we can control is the use of batteries to create balance.
Batteries for balance
Batteries will play an essential role in the new, decentralised version of our network. We might not be aware, but they already play a significant part in our everyday infrastructure through use in cars, trains and buildings.
They have the advantage of creating stability on our electrical grid by storing excess energy from renewables generation and then deploying it at times of high demand, such as, during an England World Cup football match!
Batteries are now more efficient than ever before, but they don’t last forever. They degrade over time owing to several factors like temperature, general wear and tear, or aging.
Bring in the talent of the north
Siemens is fortunate to be partnering with academics and students at Newcastle University and Sheffield University to research and develop ways to improve battery systems.
Researchers at both institutions, together with our team of experts, extract data from battery systems and perform detailed analysis to better understand how the battery is performing. The data is used to develop applications that optimise performance, increase efficiency, reduce costs, extend life, and even to tell us when the best time to trade energy is.
This research and development is invaluable to us as consumers as better efficiency reduces the cost of our energy bills and makes the energy system more reliable. Find out more.
Are you ready for an energy challenge?
As part of The Great Exhibition of the North, we will be hosting the Siemens Ingenious Energy Challenge – an exciting activity where participants are challenged to use their imagination to generate energy in clever and original ways.
Participants will be invited to move across Pavegen smart flooring in their most creative way to create as much energy as possible in seven seconds.
The weight from each footstep creates a small vertical movement in the top surface of the flooring tiles, compressing generators below and producing a turning motion that generates three joules of off-grid electrical energy per step. The more steps taken, the more energy created!
We hope people will leave this fun event with an understanding about how much effort is needed to create a small amount of energy and a greater awareness about alternative forms of renewable energy, such as battery storage.
If you are interested in taking part the Ingenious Energy Challenge will be at intu, Eldon Square between 23 July and 1 August and the Family Expo at St James’s Park on 4-5 August.
Introducing engineering to our children
We are also pleased to be partnering with the Edinburgh International Science Festival to bring the Gadget Factory to the Family Expo, which is open from 2-8 August. The 60-minute activity is a great introduction to engineering and is open to children aged 8+. They will learn the basics of circuitry and electronics and produce their own flashing badge to take home.
Find out more at www.siemens.co.uk/getnorth