Nottinghamshire County Council’s fleet management service, Via East Midlands, has partnered with energy storage start-up Cheesecake Energy Ltd (CEL) to pilot EV charging points for a new fleet of electric buses.
CEL said that the trial, which will be funded by the UK’s government grant system Innovate UK, could be up and running by next spring, and will be used to store excess energy as well as powering the council’s new buses at the Bilsthorpe highways depot site. This will help the council meet five of its Environmental Strategy commitments and ensure the council’s fleets “operate cleaner and more efficiently”, Doug Coutts, Via’s managing director, said.
The company repurposes hardware from automotive and natural gas companies such as disused truck engines to create units that store electricity as heat and high pressure air, which can then be pushed back through the mechanism and converted to electricity when needed.
It claims the technology can cut the cost of energy storage by up to 40% and can be applied to a range of low-emission technologies such as electric vehicle charging and renewable energy production. It is also hoped the investment could help CEL provide work for those already working in the automotive sector as traditional manufacturing facilities wind down their diesel and petrol car production ahead of the UK government's bans on the sale of new fossil fuel-dependant vehicles by 2030.
The partnership was announced a week after Siemens Smart Infrastructure unveiled charging infrastructure for 37 new electric buses at a depot in West London, making it the city’s first to incorporate fully electric bus routes according to the company.
Coutts said the partnership is a good example of how a local authority can find cost-effective ways to transition to net zero-emissions by partnering with local emerging businesses in the green energy sector. “We hope it will inspire others to follow suit.”