Flywheel DevelopmentTechnologyUpdates

A Look Back at the Summer of 2017

As September comes to a close, we thought we would take some time to recap on what has been a busy summer for OXTO Energy.  From pitching, to building, to testing and even golfing, we’ve racked up the miles by foot, car and air (we’re still trying to work out if we’ve collectively travelled a mile by sea).

 

IDTechEx

We kicked off our summer at IDTechEx in Berlin where we exhibited alongside some incredibly innovative companies.  We exhibited as part of the KTN’s stand and an overview of the event and our experience can be found here.  It was through this event that we gained a greater insight into the European storage market and led us to exploring opportunities on the Continent.

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IDTechEx Berlin

Hallo Österreich!

In June we were presented with the opportunity to pitch our flywheel technology to the board of SalzburgAG, an Austrian utility and services provider.  Following this, we attended a 3 day workshop where we worked closely with members of SlazburgAG to identify potential business models and opportunities for collaboration.  We have since been working with SalzburgAG on a feasibility study.  This study focuses on installing flywheels alongside existing generation assets and using the storage capacity to enter the primary frequency response market.

Whilst we were in Salzburg we took the opportunity to visit Hangar-7.  If you enjoy fast cars, planes and motorbikes (and we really do), this is the place for you!  Hangar-7 houses the historical Flying Bulls aircraft fleet and a collection of Red Bull Formula 1 race cars.  If only they had a test track…Take a look!

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Hangar-7 – Red Bull Formula 1 race car.

Manufacturing, Assembly and Testing

As the temperatures began to rise, so did our anticipation! At the start of the summer our flywheel was manufactured, assembled and ready to go and we were all set to begin testing.

Throughout the summer, we have been busy working alongside our colleagues at the University of Nottingham to complete our high-speed testing.  Nobody said testing was going to be a breeze and there were a few teething issues as we began operating the system.  But with a great team and through taking one problem at a time, we managed to improve the system and learn a lot in the process.

The testing phase of the project will be coming to a close over the next few weeks as we move onto the faster, stronger and more powerful generation flywheel.

 

A pitcher paints a thousand words, but most people decide after about 50…

We’ve been to our fair share of conferences over the summer and pitched at many events.  First up was the SET-Squared Innovation Showcase and we recently rounded off the summer with the SBC FastTrack presented by Startup Bootcamp.  If you managed to catch us at an event, we’d love to hear your feedback as we’re always looking to keep the pitch fresh, interesting and engaging (beyond 50 words)!

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Lewis pitching at SET-Squared Innovation Showcase

The Energy Revolution

Hot on the heels of National Grid announcing their greenest summer yet, we thought we’d take a brief moment to share our thoughts on what has been a groundbreaking year for the solar and wind industries.

After renewable subsidies were cut severely in 2016, many were unsure how the market would react through 2017.  In addition to that, the grid now has many GWs more solar than it did previously.  How was the grid going to manage this extra capacity?  Pretty well as it happens.  Whilst there is still a great need to develop the gird further to allow the additional integration of renewables and electric vehicles, we should take a moment to look back on what could potentially be a watershed year for renewable energy and clean-tech.

  • In April, Britain had the first coal-free day since the 1880s.
  • In May, the UK achieved a solar power record as over 8.7 gigawatts (GW) had been generated, representing 24.3% of total generation across the UK.
  • In June, renewables provided over half of the UK’s electricity for the first time.  National Grid reported that power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of UK energy.  If you were to add in nuclear, low carbon sources were producing 72.1% of electricity in Great Britain.
  • In September, offshore wind hit a milestone and bids for the 2022-2023 market were below that of nuclear for the first time.

These achievements are not to be underestimated.  However, it’s also very clear that we have a long way to go if we want to become a carbon neutral nation and the good work must continue!  Here’s hoping that the summer of 2018 will see some new records set and many more broken.

 

One Last Word

And finally, if thing’s have seemed a little quiet on the digital front for a few weeks, we have a very good reason.  We’ve moved office!  We’re still based in Guildford and we still have great coffee, so if you’re interested in flywheels, come say hello!

It’s been great this summer to see the hard-work of the team pay off with the production of the flywheel.  Developing new and innovative technologies can be challenging at times and many start-ups fail along the way.  But the awareness and determination of the team to succeed has allowed us to push through and create a product that we are truly proud of.

So it’s goodbye to summer as we begin a new chapter in our development and get ever closer to installing the first OXTO flywheel.  We’ll toast to that…

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A toast to celebrate our first day in the new office.