Established under a memorandum of understanding with Neath Port Talbot Council, the FLEXIS Demonstration Area spans 50 square kilometres of Neath Port Talbot, a region characterised by its industrial heritage and the UK’s largest point source of CO2 emissions. Work carried out at the Demonstration Area will bring together academia and industry to deliver low carbon energy solutions, facilitated by ties with Neath Port Talbot Council, industrial partners and world leading academic institutions.
The mission of the Demonstration Area is to de-risk decarbonisation by running near commercial scale demonstrations. By showcasing what is possible with real-world, low-carbon energy systems, the demonstration area will prove new technology and business models to be investible and scalable. With the climate emergency looming, and goals to become carbon neutral before 2050, reducing commercial risk is an important step in speeding up the adoption of low carbon energy solutions.
Port Talbot is uniquely situated to provide opportunities for energy systems research and development in a real-world setting, centred around a living town. The area comprises a distinctive landscape of traditional and innovative producers and consumers, including industrial, commercial and residential use cases such as homes, a national motorway corridor and steelworks. The site also contains a high density of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy generation, from small scale to grid scale deployments.
FLEXIS will build a multi vector energy model of the Demonstration Area, or ‘Digital Twin’, providing unprecedented insight into how low carbon energy systems perform and integrate within a real-world scenario. This will provide an exciting opportunity to improve resource efficiencies, increase the flexibility of energy networks, reduce CO2 emissions, and support regional development by attracting new research and innovation funding to Wales.
Research currently underway at the demonstration area includes electric vehicle charging solutions, analysis of local electrical grid constraints, use of energy positive buildings as power stations, and research into public perceptions and understanding of low carbon energy solutions. Opportunities for research and investment are currently available, including: alternative fuels, energy storage, multi-vector energy integration, transportation, energy flexibility, and energy reliability and resilience.