Renewable battery company expands Rotherham footprint

Renewable battery company expands Rotherham footprint
Nick Kitchin, Founder and CEO of Cumulus (centre) and the Cumulus Energy Storage team. Credit Roger Moody.

Cumulus Energy Storage, the company behind a low-cost, renewable battery technology, has expanded at the AMP Technology Centre in Rotherham, in a deal facilitated by Creative Space Management.

The company, founded by Nick Kitchin, Darron Brackenbury and Mike Hurwitz, has had a presence at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) owned AMP Technology Centre since 2012. Having grown to a team of 5 in Rotherham and 10 in San Francisco, the business has expanded into larger premises as it prepares to disrupt the renewable energy market worldwide with its revolutionary battery technology.

The duo saw an opportunity in the rapidly expanding renewable energy market which is in urgent need of a grid-level, economically viable energy storage system. Solar PV and wind farms industries are set to grow rapidly worldwide over the next three years; Solar Power Europe predicts that the installation of solar PVs will more than double by the end 2019 and the Wind Energy Council forecasts the cumulative capacity of wind generation to increase by 80% in the same period. As wind farms generate most of their energy at night and solar power during the day, energy suppliers must find a way to ‘bottle’ this clean energy so that it can be accessed at any time, whatever the weather.

Cumulus has taken the visionary step of using 200-year-old technology – the copper and zinc battery – the same design used in the first modern day battery invented by Alessandro Volta in 1799 – with new technology from two other industrial-scale processes to make them rechargeable and able to be produced on an industrial scale. The team has created a disruptive opportunity – electricity super-storage – using patent granted technology in the form of a low-cost, grid-scale rechargeable battery.

With financial support from the UK Government and private investment, in 2014, Cumulus set up a research and development facility in San Francisco, California with laboratory facilities developing grid-connected full-scale prototypes. California is the first state to mandate energy storage, setting a target of 1.3GW of energy storage by 2020.

Having a dual base provides the company an overview of two key markets. The facility in California allows the team to keep up to date with regulatory developments in the epicentre of energy storage innovation, investment and deployment. The business’s manufacturing headquarters at the AMP Technology Centre means the company has first-hand knowledge of the renewables market and smart grid opportunities across Britain and Europe.

Nick Kitchin, Founder and CEO of Cumulus, said: “Our location at the Technology Centre means we can work alongside some of the best minds working in the field and we’ve received a terrific amount of support from both the University of Sheffield and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. It’s fantastic to be located in a place which can facilitate and support our growth – both in terms of physical space and enabling us to develop our product using the newest engineering and manufacturing technologies available, many of which are being pioneered right here at the AMP.”

The company has further expansion plans by spring 2017 ahead of mass market production of the technology within the next two years.