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The University of Birmingham and Vital Energi have entered into a collaboration agreement

Vital Energi has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Birmingham to develop and commercialize a range of innovative thermal storage solutions, which will help accelerate decarbonization within the heating and cooling sector.

Vital Energi and the University of Birmingham will work together over an initial four years to continue the development of thermal storage Intellectual Property (IP) with a view to bringing a number of products to market. As part of the agreement, the University has assigned several IP rights, including a number of patents, to Vital Energi.

The implementation of thermal energy storage is imperative to address the challenges posed by intermittent renewables and enhance the overall reliability and sustainability of energy systems. Just as decarbonization of electrical generation necessitated the huge growth in electrical storage over the last 10 years, it is expected that thermal energy storage will emerge over the next decade as a key enabler in accelerating the electrification of heat which will form the core of heat decarbonization.

The collaboration will leverage the combined strengths of Vital Energi's industry experience and the expertise in the team led by Professor Yulong Ding, Chamberlain Chair of Chemical Engineering and the founder of Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage

Vital Energi is committed to providing clients and end users with the most efficient and economic decarbonization solutions. This collaboration aligns with their aim of delivering environmentally conscious and technologically advanced solutions that address the challenges of today's rapidly evolving energy landscape.

Vital Energi’s Technical Development Director, Chris Taylor, said, “We see thermal energy storage as a core component in the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector. Through this collaboration, we aim to bring innovative energy storage to the market and tackle some of the obstacles introduced by an evolving energy system.

“This is an exciting time for Vital and we believe we have found the perfect partners in Professor Ding and his team at the University of Birmingham, and look forward to working together to commercialize their concepts.”Ding, who is known for inventing novel technologies for electrical and thermal energy storage, has published over 450 technical papers and filed some 100 patent applications over the past 35 years.  

“Globally, thermal energy accounts for over 50% of final energy consumption and is responsible for more than 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, making it central to achieving net zero emissions.  While it is the hardest-to-decarbonize sector, thermal energy storage can help us address this challenge, and I am looking forward to working with Vital Energi to make this happen,” said Ding.  

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute at the University of Birmingham, added,  "This partnership is really exciting as it allows a pathway for the discoveries of Professor Ding and his team to deliver impact in the development of the UK's energy system in the much-needed area of energy storage."


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