Flexibility from Cooling and Storage (Flex-Cool-Store)




Start Date
Sept. 27, 2021

End Date
Sept. 27, 2024


More Like This

We are currently facing an unprecedented climate emergency threatening life on our planet. Limiting global surface temperature rise is key to ensure irreversible effects for nature and people are not triggered. For the UK, decarbonisation of the energy sector to mitigate climate change is a crucial ambition, becoming the first major economy to pass legislation to end its contribution to global warming by 2050 by reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero. Even though a significant emission reduction has been already achieved in the electric power sector, progress has been limited in other areas, such as heating (including space cooling), which accounts for over a third of UK emissions. Heating and cooling are central to our lives not only for comfort and daily activities, but also to facilitate productive workplaces and to run a variety of industrial processes. Decarbonising heating and cooling and reducing emissions from buildings are thus paramount to meet net-zero targets.

Cooling decarbonisation has not previously received significant attention, but this is changing due to population increase and climate change. Summertime cooling of buildings is becoming increasingly important and consumer demand for greater comfort levels will also increase the energy used for cooling services. An increased requirement for cooling is anticipated, with the share of UK electricity used for cooling also expected to rise further, which could strain the electricity system. At the same time, summer electricity demand is changing with a surge in solar PV generation, causing concern for balancing the power system. Since cooling facilities are in general limited to building level, significant investments in cooling infrastructure and buildings are needed.

Flex-Cool-Store brings together academics with complementary expertise on techno-economic, societal and policy aspects of electrical power supply and thermal energy systems. The main objective of this interdisciplinary project is to investigate the potential impacts of a growth in UK cooling demand and how this growth can be managed through proactive design and flexible operation of the cooling supply system and energy storage, and how the new demand can be served by an increasingly decarbonised electricity system. Underpinning this, public perception towards the adoption of cooling technologies within buildings and communities and consumer participation in flexibility provision from energy storage at household level will be explored via interviews and public workshops. Outcomes will be considered alongside pathways and policies associated with heat decarbonisation, and novel analysis using 'elite' interviews with policy makers will be conducted to consider the potential relationship between heat decarbonisation strategies, cooling and storage. This interdisciplinary approach will enable Flex-Cool-Store to address the issue of increasing demand for cooling and decarbonisation from multiple angles and to develop an even stronger evidence for best practice around buildings decarbonisation.

Specific objectives of the project are:
1. Understanding cooling demand considering technical and socio-economic factors. Detailed studies will be conducted to understand how cooling demand might change over the next decades.
2. Quantifying the impacts of increased cooling demand on electricity networks. The extent to which supplying cooling will affect peak electricity demand will be quantified and its implications on network reinforcement will be investigated for selected case studies using data from real practical projects.
3. Investigating the flexibility provision to the electrical power system from integrating cooling technologies and storage. The interactions and synergies between cooling and electricity systems will be studied. How to adopt a coordinated approach for designing and operating energy systems of buildings so that the provision of flexibility can be maximised will be explored.

Subjects by relevance
  1. Climate changes
  2. Refrigeration
  3. Emissions
  4. Refrigeration engineering
  5. Climate protection
  6. Energy policy
  7. Warming
  8. Temperature
  9. Greenhouse gases
  10. Demand
  11. Decrease (active)

Extracted key phrases
  1. Cool
  2. Flexibility provision
  3. Summer electricity demand
  4. Peak electricity demand
  5. Thermal energy system
  6. Electrical power system
  7. Electricity system
  8. Building decarbonisation
  9. Energy storage
  10. Consumer demand
  11. Building level
  12. Supply system
  13. UK electricity
  14. Climate change
  15. Unprecedented climate emergency

Related Pages

UKRI project entry

UK Project Locations