Net-Form: The Smart Way to Park

By 2026, more than half the cars sold in the UK are likely to be electric or hybrid vehicles . This means that the high density car parks at our stations, hotels, offices and airports will suddenly become MW scale battery storage parks, creating both massive challenges for the electricity networks and new commercial opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Net-Form is a pilot project to develop a mobile web application and secure data platform to manage massed parked hybrid and electric vehicles and optimise their value to both network operator and car owner.

Led in the West Midlands by Encraft, an initial 12 month feasibility study is exploring the application of Net-Form to the new HS2 interchange station in Solihull (UKCentral). Project partners are Aston University, Cenex, Costain and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, and the study is part-funded by Innovate UK.

Net-Form controls charging and discharging of EV batteries and uses blockchain technology to ensure car drivers are rewarded for grid services provided. It communicates with the electricity markets and holds data on weather and driver movements to ensure vehicles are fully-charged while minimising stress on the wider energy system.

Applications of Net-Form range from large scale car parks like UKCentral through to car parks in business parks and large employment sites. The technologies and services developed through this project have potential global application.

Net-Form delivers smart benefits to everyone:

  • EV drivers – By lowering parking charges in exchange for use of their batteries for grid services.
  • Energy System Operators (and customers) – By reducing the need for system reinforcement and investment.
  • Car park operators – By leading to greater occupancy of their sites.

For more details about this exciting investment opportunity, please contact Linda Forbes at Encraft on (01926) 312159 or net-form@encraft.co.uk

Tyseley Energy Park

The Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District will be a clean technology hub for the city of Birmingham. With a long history of industry in this area, the remaining businesses seek new and innovative energy supplies in order to help the remaining firms stay competitive. It is against that backdrop of transforming industrial competitiveness that the vision has been conceived.

Tyseley Energy Park is one of the sites within the Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District. Established in 1720, site owners Webster and Horsfall Limited are one of Birmingham’s oldest manufacturing companies. The business has been located on the site in Tyseley for 160 years, and is best known as the manufacturer of the wire for the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866.

The inventions of James Horsfall in 1850 led to the development of dynamic steel springs which made the internal combustion engine possible, and laid the foundations for growth in the automotive industries which the company still supplies today.

Energy is still a key strategic business focus for the company, which supplies wire and wire ropes for the oil, gas and coal industries. The development of Tyseley Energy Park, with its emphasis on alternative low carbon energy fuels, builds on that tradition.

Phase One of Tyseley Energy Park has already seen a £47 million investment into a 10MWe waste wood biomass power station, which supplies the development site with electricity.

Planning permission has recently been approved for the UK’s first low-carbon refuelling station on phase two, which is strategically located between the city centre and Birmingham airport. Tyseley Energy Park provides a logical place to deploy refuelling infrastructure for a range of low carbon fuels. The fuels available support different transport options in the city and will improve of air quality and deliver transformational change, attracting new businesses and supporting the regeneration of the area.

Tyseley Energy Park is the energy-waste nexus for the City of Birmingham. The adjoining energy-from-waste plant has long been a feature of the Tyseley skyline converting 350,000 tonnes of municipal waste into power. The plant currently produces 25MW of electricity with the potential to generate significant heat for distribution in support of the City Council’s ambitions for District Heating across the City. The new developments on Tyseley Energy Park will complement the adjoining plant with a range of innovative technologies which can transform other more complex waste streams into energy.

Planning permission has recently been approved for a new thermal catalytic reforming reactor that will convert biomass into renewable energy in the form of heat and power. The installation will involve the heating of biomass in the absence of oxygen (non-combustion) to produce intermediate energy carriers (char, syngas and pyrolysis oil) for use in in a stationary CHP engine.

As part of a relentless drive to green industry in the city, the next generation of waste reprocessing technologies will be developed on phase three, using clean energy to power advanced processes to support the City Council’s ambitions to become the best city nationally at recycling and recovering energy from waste. Power generated within the site will be from renewable sources including the biomass plant on phase one, solar panels and the UKs first silent revolution wind turbines. This clean energy will be used to support the growth of Webster and Horsfall Limited’s manufacturing operation, as well as providing energy at a low price for the various operations planned.

The site will become a crucible for research and learning, with new laboratories, educational facilities and, a research and development centre planned on phase four, within a landmark building with exemplar energy performance.

For more details about this exciting investment opportunity, please contact Gavin Harper, Energy Development Manager, Birmingham University, at g.d.j.harper@bham.ac.uk