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OCTES: it's a wrap!

The final OCTES Regional Workshop was held in Stornoway, on 20 February 2013.

The workshop was the last event in a series that took place throughout the duration of the project, spread across the 4 partner regions: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Finland and Iceland. The workshops were attended by a range of industry and community stakeholders, and raised greater awareness of the potential regional impact of Smart Meters with regard to OCTES. The workshops also highlighted fundamental regional differences with regard to renewable energy policy, energy strategy, incentives and funding opportunities, and energy options for remote and rural communities.

The final workshop attracted a broad audience, including community groups, project participants, local councillors, energy advisory services, and housing authorities.

OCTES would like to take this opportunity to thank all that have been involved in the project over the past 2 years, and all those who came together to make the final event such a success.


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Invitation to final OCTES Regional Workshop, 20th Feb 2013

The final workshop in the OCTES Regional Workshop Series will take place in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, on 20th February 2013.

OCTES is a multidisciplinary project looking at the impact of energy pricing for the domestic consumer in rural and remote communities, funded by EU Northern Periphery programme, 2011-2013.

Throughout the duration of the project, OCTES has has hosted a series of regional workshops in the OCTES partner regions, Finland, Iceland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, which have attracted a wide range of stakeholders and guest speakers.

The final workshop will take place at An Lanntair, Stornoway, on 20th February 2013. It will review the findings of the project and look at local community energy policy and innovations in community renewable energy. To compliment, there will be community speakers to voice the consumer experience of the OCTES project and an insight into the OCTES advisory service from Energy Savings Trust.

Guest speakers include Scottish Government, Energy Savings Trust, Community Energy Scotland, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Click here to view the agenda for the event.

To book a place for this free event, please contact amy.clarke@irri.org.uk.


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Presentations from the Scottish OCTES Regional Workshop

The second Scottish OCTES Regional workshop was a great success, with interesting presentations from a diverse spread of speakers, and engaging discussions during the break-out sessions. For those who wish to see the presentations that were given on the day, please click to download from the links below.

Presentation 1: Energy Storage

Presentation 2: Air Source Heat Pumps

Presentation 3: Building Standards and Energy Conservation

Presentation 4: Future Home Energy Management Systems

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Scottish OCTES Regional Workshop

Energy storage is a requirement for maximising self-consumption of energy from onsite renewable generators. However with the exception of lead acid batteries for electrical storage and thermal storage heaters and hot water cylinders, the majority of storage options are at worst conceptual and at best laboratory proven or neat market ready. Below is a list of energy storage options currently available.

Lead Acid Batteries

These are the most mature of electrical storage technologies and are readily available; however there are a number of issues regarding dependency, cycle life, maintenance, and recycling their major advantages are proven technology and relatively low cost.

There are two main types of lead acid battery, the starter battery and the deep cycle battery. The starter battery is the type that is used in motorcars and they are not suitable for renewable power applications. For more information on lead acid batteries, http://www.solar-wind.co.uk/deep-cycle-dryfit-batteries-battery-uk.html provides an introduction note.

Sizing battery banks to satisfy the requirements of a system can be complex; http://www.btekenergy.com/documents/215.html offers information and a guide to help with the sizing of battery banks.

Energy Development Co-operative Limited
Energy Development Co-operative LimitedEnergy Development Co-operative Limited are a UK based company that aims to provide solutions for standalone wind and solar power application, the following list comprises the types of lead acid batteries that are supplied by Energy Development Co-operative Limited.

Sonnenschein Dryfit Solar Block Gel Batteries - 6v & 12v blocks, maintenance free, 60Ah to 330Ah.
MK Solar Gel Batteries - 6v & 12v blocks, maintenance free, 36Ah to 265Ah.
Sonnenschein Dryfit A600 OPzV Solar - 2v Gel, maintenance free, long life cells, 240Ah to 3500Ah.
Fiamm Industrial OPzV SMG Batteries - 2v Gel, maintenance free, long life cells, 240Ah to 3600Ah.
Exide Classic Solar OPzS - 2v Wet, long life cells, 190Ah to 4600 Ah.
Exide Powerfit 12v AGM Batteries - Absorbed Glass Matt, 12v Blocks, 7Ah to 40Ah.



Flow Batteries

A flow battery is a rechargeable battery that consists of an electrolyte containing dissolved electro active species that flows through an electrochemical cell, which converts chemical energy directly to electricity. Additional electrolyte is stored externally, generally in tanks, and is usually pumped through the cell of the reactor. {{24 Chen,Haisheng 2009}}Although flow batteries are not a new concept; the first being built in the 19th Centenary.

RedT are an Irish company based in the UK and Ireland. They will offer vanadium redox battery (VRB) in the following capacities. http://www.poweringnow.com/

CellCubeCellCube are an Austrian company that offer generation, storage and utilise solutions for solar PV and wind. http://en.cellcube.com/en/index.htm They offer a range of VRB flow batteries in power and storage options from 10kW- 40kWh to 200kw-400kWh.



Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES)

CAES is not a new concept; the first practical CAES system was designed in Germany in 1949 and was installed in 1978 at Huntorf, Germany. In 1991 a second CAES plant made operational in Alabama, USA {{25 Cavallo,Alfred 2007}}Electricity at times of low demand is used to compress air which is then stored in an underground cavern. At times of peak demand the compressed air is mixed with natural gas and used in a traditional gas turbine plant. In a traditional gas turbine power station, up to two thirds of the energy that is produced in the gas turbine is redirected back into the system to compress the air to achieve the required enthalpy. {{26 Schaber,Christopher 2004}}However, in a CAES system the air is already compressed and all of the mechanical energy from the gas turbine is used to generate electricity.

Pnu-PowerSmall-scale CAES without the requirement for natural gas has received a lot of attention due to the components being relatively mature but no commercial system is available at this time. However a component that may form part of the system is. Pnu-Power http://www.pnu-power.com/ has developed an air battery that uses compressed air from a ring main or a cylinder to drive a scroll expander, which in turn drives a generator to produce electricity. The air batteries have a 3kW to over a 1MVA power rating. Pnu-Power offers a compressor to refill the cylinders. However, the system is predominately designed for uninterruptable back up power supply. It may be possible to use the energy output from a wind turbine to power a compressor to refill a storage cylinder and then use the air battery to convert the energy back to electricity. However the thermodynamics of such a system is yet untested. Using the air battery in a system to increase self-consumption has also not been tested. A 1kVA system has costs starting from £9,950.



Hydrogen Fuel Cell

In a hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen flow into the fuel cell and via an electrochemical reaction water, heat and electricity is produced. The process is reversible and so electricity can be used to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen thus making it suitable for storing electrical energy in chemical storage. The system consists of an electrolyser to produce hydrogen, which is power by electricity, the hydrogen storage unit to store the hydrogen and a hydrogen conversion system to convert the chemical energy back to electricity. {{24 Chen,Haisheng 2009}}

Fuel Cell Markets
Fuel Cell MarketsFuel Cell Markets is a facilitator based in the UK that helps hydrogen and fuel cell developers take their products to market. http://www.fuelcellmarkets.com/fuel_cell_markets/1,1,1.html

Fronius International have expertise in three main areas; battery charging systems, welding technology and solar electronics, http://www.fronius.com/cps/rde/xchg/SID-88A1DB80-C52B7A0F/fronius_international/hs.xsl/1001_ENG_HTML.htm. They have developed a stationary energy cell that can be used with solar PV as an energy store. The system is not ready for general sale yet; the fuel cell function is ready for mass production and the next version will have the electrolyse function integrated. There are two models 2 and 4kW power output. http://www.fronius.com/cps/rde/xchg/SID-88A1DB80-C52B7A0F/fronius_international/hs.xsl/83_18089_ENG_HTML.htm. A storage vessel for the produced hydrogen will be required and it is the size of the vessel that will give the system its storage capacity.



Thermal storage heaters

Thermal storage heaters use off-peak electricity to heat a thermal store for use when they are required. In the UK they are known as Economy 7 heating. However a number of companies are modernising their products for future use with renewable onsite electricity and the smart grid.

Steffes Corporation
Steffes CorporationSteffes Corporation 2Steffes is a USA based company with many years experience in the thermal storage heater industry. They offer individual room units, forced air and hydronic furnaces for the domestic sector. For more information on the products see http://www.steffes.com/off-peak-heating/residential-systems.html. The electrical thermal storage heaters are smart grid ready http://www.steffes.com/off-peak-heating/smart-grid.html and can be controlled to storage excess renewable power http://www.steffes.com/off-peak-heating/renewable-energy-storage.html.

Dimplex is a UK based company that specialises in electric space and water heating. They provide a range of domestic thermal storage heaters that use off-peak electricity. http://www.dimplex.co.uk/products/domestic_heating/index.htm and an "eco" range designed to work with heat pumps http://www.dimplex.co.uk/products/renewable_solutions/smartrad/index.htm. Although there is no direct mention of using the off-peak storage heaters as a store for surplus wind or PV power, this is predominately a controller issue and therefore providing a controller interface is available they could be used in such a manor.



Domestic hot water heating and storage

Heating water and storing it for use throughout the day is not a new concept.


Dimplex provide a range of hot water cylinders,
http://www.dimplex.co.uk/products/water_heating/unvented_cylinders/index.htm, including a range that has been designed for use with heat pumps,
http://www.dimplex.co.uk/products/renewable_solutions/accessories/Heat_Pump_Cylinders/index.htm and a range for use with solar thermal systems,

Kingspan Renewables
Kingspan RenewablesOffer a range of hot water cylinders that can be used with renewables such as heat pumps and solar panel. http://kingspansolar.co.uk/categories/12/renewables-input-cylinders.aspx. They also offer complete heat pump http://kingspansolar.co.uk/products/10/aeromax-plus-air-source-heat-pumps.aspx and solar http://kingspansolar.co.uk/products/2/the-ultimate-solar-packages.aspx packages. The heat pumps and solar panels are microgeneration approved and therefore will qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive when it comes online.

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OCTES Finnish Regional Workshop, 2nd May 2012


Following the success of Scottish and Icelandic regional OCTES workshops in April, Oulu University of Applied Sciences hosted the Finnish regional OCTES workshop in Oulu, Finland, on 2nd May 2012.



The workshop attracted over 30 participants, with strong attendance from university lecturers, researchers and students. Throughout the day, there were many presentations with great audience-presenter interaction.

All presentations from the day were filmed, and will soon feature on an OCTES video streaming channel.

Please click below for workshop presentations.

Presentation: OCTES project

Presentation: Real-Time Metering of Energy Consumption

Presentation: A review of Finnish District Heating


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OCTES Icelandic Regional Workshop, 29th April 2012


Following on from the Scottish workshop earlier in the month, the Icelandic OCTES regional workshop was held on 29th April 2012, hosted by the University of Iceland at the Icelandic Energy Authority, in Reykjavik. Over 20 participants attended, including engineering consultant companies, energy companies, universities and the ministry of the energy industry.

The workshop was delivered in 3 stages, providing the participants with a project overview, an OCTES smart meter equipment demonstration, and finally a group discussion, focusing on 2 topics key to OCTES: energy storage and behaviour modification.

Please click here to view presentations from the workshop.


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OCTES Scottish Regional Workshop, 24th April 2012


The first of the regional OCTES workshops took place in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis on the 24th of April 2012.

Over 40 participants attended to hear from guest speakers and participate in discussions relating to energy management systems and the impact that smart meters can have on both an individual and a community.

Guest speakers included Teemu Korpela from Oulu University of Applied Science, Zoe Holliday from Energy Saving Trust, and Mo Cloonan from Community Energy Scotland. All gave a valuable contribution to the day and to the overall discussions


Additional OCTES workshops will take place in Iceland, Finland and Northern Ireland during May. A summary report of the workshop outcomes will follow.

Please click the links below to view presentations from the workshop.

Lews Castle College UHI OCTES presentation

Oulu University of Applied Science presentation

Energy Saving Trust presentation

Community Energy Scotland presentation


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NPP- OCTES project at the Arctic Frontier Conference in Tromso 22-27th January 2012

The Northern Periphery Programme and European Rural Development Fund (ERDF) funded OCTES project will present a paper as part of the Arctic Frontier Conference held in Tromso between the 22-27th of January 2012.

Dr. Alasdair Macleod from the Engineering Department, University of the Highlands and Islands Lews Castle College will present the paper on “Energy storage for community groups in the Northern Region” behalf of the OCTES project partnership. The paper is part of the Science programme, renewable and alternative energy section.

This important event in Arctic calendar brings together scientist and policy experts across Arctic regions whose strategy is to promote sustainable levels of human activity based on scientific knowledge, cultural sensitivity and cooperation across borders.

To find out more about the Arctic Frontier conference please go to http://www.arcticfrontiers.com/ .

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