Copper/Zinc - delivering renewable electricity globally

  • Recyclability
  • Storage
  • Grid-tied
  • Energy storage
  • Affordability
  • B2B

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Cumulus Energy Storage Ltd

Published 30 Jan 2017

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Copper/Zinc - delivering renewable electricity globally

The world is generating more renewable electricity these days, when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. The problem is that the grid doesn’t always have the capacity to cope with this variable and intermittent renewable generation. What we need is low-cost large-scale energy storage to capture the surplus energy produced by renewables at off-peak times and deliver it back at times of peak demand. This is what Cumulus Energy Storage does. We’re developing low-cost electricity super-storage batteries that make renewables work. Using 200 year old Copper/Zinc battery technology invented by Volta, we’ve inserted a membrane between the Copper and Zinc electrodes to make the battery rechargeable and suitable for the stationary energy storage market. Applications ranging from time-shifting commercial renewables generation, to more efficient transmission and distribution networks, plus improved energy management of electricity intensive industries. Key benefits include a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) the same or lower than that of pumped hydro (which is 96% of the global energy storage market today); delivering renewable electricity at the time it is needed by charging over 4-6 hours and discharging over the same timeframe; 99.5% recyclability; room temperature operation; 30 year asset life due to maintainability and 80% round trip efficiency (ac/ac); in short a battery designed for the high energy long duration market - the missing link for renewables.

How it benefits society

In 2016 National Grid paid UK wind farm operators £81m to not generate electricity as part of the overall need to balance electricity generation with demand. The need to curtail wind farms, because the grid couldn’t cope with the electricity generated by wind turbines, cost China in excess of $1.8bn in 2015; and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) ‘Duck Curve’ graphically represents the difficulty caused for the electricity network by distributed solar PV generation in California. This need to balance and time-shift electricity generated by renewables is a global problem that electricity energy storage by Cumulus is ideally suited to solve. In the UK, 2016 reports from Carbon Trust and National Infrastructure Commission forecast the following savings. The National Infrastructure Commission’s central finding is that smart power – principally built around three innovations, interconnection, storage, and demand flexibility – could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations. The Carbon Trust report identified energy storage could save £2.4 billion a year system wide, also by 2030; and if regulatory hurdles are overcome this could rise to £7 billion a year. Cumulus, together with a range of complementary energy storage, interconnector and demand side response installations, is poised to deliver these savings for the UK.

Who we are


Cumulus Energy Storage Ltd
Nick Kitchin, CEO, Darron Brackenbury, COO, Mike Hurwitz, CTO
Sheffield, Yorkshire and San Francisco, California

Nick Kitchin - CEO Nick has 30 years’ experience as a general manager, chartered engineer, MBA and strategy consultant. His operations and management experience includes chemicals and plastics manufacturing with Shell Chemicals, Amalgamated Plastics and as General Manager (300 employees) at polyurethane foam manufacturer Carpenter.  Nick’s consulting background includes strategy consulting to over 250 SME’s in the UK across a wide range of industries and growth companies. Nick founded Cumulus Energy Storage Ltd in 2012, looking for opportunities to introduce a technology from another industry and make it disruptive in the renewables industry - hence the focus on energy storage, which neatly helps all variable and intermittent renewables, plus the electricity network infratructure and electricity intensive industries globally. Darron Brackenbury - COO Darron is a mechanical engineer and MBA with over 20 years’ experience of senior and board level management encompassing technology development, commercialization and value realization. Darron was a founder of Applied Intellectual Capital (AIC), a clean-tech start up IPO’d on the London AIM in January 2007 as an electrochemical platform developing advanced battery systems and mineral processing technology. Darron’s early career focused on advanced manufacturing development (turbomachinery) within GEC plc. Mike Hurwitz - CTO Michael has a Masters level Chemistry education and specializes in synthetic and analytical chemistry with a focus on electrochemistry. During his time at AIC as Director of Chemistry, he worked in the mining, energy-storage and consulting divisions. He is currently responsible for technology development of the Cumulus battery system and is the primary inventor on the patents

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