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UK's National Grid Calls for Innovative Replacements for Diesel Backup Generators

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Julian Jackson's picture
Staff Writer, Energy Central BrightGreen PR

Julian Jackson is a writer whose interests encompass business and technology, cryptocurrencies, energy and the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:...

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  • Mar 14, 2022

Britain's National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) organization has launched their first ‘Call for Innovation’ to engineers across the country to find a new low-carbon alternative to backup diesel generators.

NGET currently use batteries alongside diesel generators to provide backup power to substations for key activities such as cooling fans, pumps, and lighting, enabling it to continue to perform its crucial role in the electricity transmission system.

These backup generators are rarely used and have less than a 1% chance of operating per year, however, on the rare occasions that backup power is required, changing from diesel to low carbon emission alternatives have the potential to reduce carbon intensity by 90% – according to National Grid calculations – and save over 500,000kg of carbon emissions.

The organization is looking to find new backup power systems or combined standby and generation assets as low carbon alternatives. The Call for Innovation (CFI) is an approach to the market to see what products and services are available in the industry with funding coming from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance.

Whilst there are low carbon alternative diesel fuels in the market, there is a need to explore new assets, interfaces, commercial frameworks and asset management policies that support the adoption of new technology.

Backup generators are used at over 250 NGET sites across England and Wales, the majority of which are diesel powered. These systems provide NGET with the resilience to recover from a loss of supply event.

Ben Kuchta, Innovation Engineer for Net Zero Innovation at National Grid said: “As the electricity transmission owner for England and Wales, we play an important role at the heart of the UK’s transition to net zero.

“It’s important we lead by example, reducing our own emissions and working with others to enable and accelerate the transition to net zero.

“Finding new low carbon alternatives to diesel generators is another step on that journey and we encourage suppliers to come forward.”

The deadline for entries is 14 April 2022. Interested suppliers can apply by following this link.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 14, 2022

"Whilst there are low carbon alternative diesel fuels in the market, there is a need to explore new assets, interfaces, commercial frameworks and asset management policies that support the adoption of new technology."

Julian, there are no "new assets, interfaces, commercial frameworks, and asset management policies" that can pull energy out of a hat. The idea there is some clean, untapped chemical resource that can replace energy stored in the hydrocarbon bonds of diesel fuel is fantasy. It doesn't exist.

Fortunately, U.K. analysts with experience in thermodynamics realize this, and have convinced policymakers in Parliament to invest in new carbon-free nuclear energy plants. Hinkley Point C will be providing 7% of U.K.'s electricity by 2026, and there are plans for new power stations at Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex. By 2030 these reliable sources of clean electticity will dramatically reduce the need for diesel generators, and the wind turbines currently littering the North Sea.

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Thank Julian for the Post!
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