Welcome to the new look ChargeSync website and many thanks for everyone's hard work in making it come to life.
Here in my first blog post I wanted to tell people a bit about ChargeSync, who we are, what we've been doing, and how we got to where we are today.
Firstly, I should introduce myself. I'm Matthew Hunt and, together with my colleague Harry Breach, we are the Co founders of ChargeSync. We set the company up in early 2013.
At the time we shared a vision of a new world where batteries were cheap enough to be plentifully deployed across the land and coordinated and optimised to support the grid during tight periods, while charging during off peak periods. We investigated the economics of batteries and embedded generation, deciding that if we looked at this the right way things could fly. The renewable build out and lack of flexible plant on the system also suggested to us that the additional controllable flexibility that batteries could bring would be valuable to the system. Where better to put the batteries than at the point of use, in the previously static domestic household. Turning inflexible and uncontrolled demand into flexible and synchronised demand, without controlling when you do your washing was, and is, our goal.
The patenting process is a lengthy one with many twists and turns, but in July of 2013 we filed for patent protection for the process of coordinating and optimisting embedded batteries. The patent has survived examination in the UK and Europe, but remains pending.
Back then our discussions with potential investors were mainly met with furrowed brows and "if that would work wouldn't everybody be doing it ?" These days people rightly treat battery storage with less scepticism. Although the market is a more crowded space than the lonely one we once inhabited.
In November of 2014 we were awarded a Smart grant from Innovate UK and in January 2015, we began the process of raising money against our seed EIS fund.
Since then, having initially built a prototype device with a car battery in the garage, we've worked with a fantastic power electronics design house north of the border (Supply Design). As I write we are close to delivering our first prototype device. Watch this space.
Development of our optimisation and coordination software using Microsoft Azure has progressed very well. Azure is a fantastic platform for projects which need to scale as businesses grow. Personally I think the future for Azure and Microsoft is very bright.
Returning to the changing competetive landscape for storage. We feel that ChargeSync has a different outlook on energy storage to other participants. Here, our backgrounds are mostly in energy trading, this means our vision of energy storage is based on an economic deployment of batteries and not as a second subsidy for solar.
In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes made in recent years has been the enormous subsidy pumped into renewables at tax payers' expense. Not because I don't believe that renewables are the future, I do, but because gorging the industry on subsidy has created so many bad news stories for consumers which threaten the further evolution of the market. Subsidy should and could be used effectively to bring new technology to market, or to bridge a defined gap to economic operation. The energy storage industry needs to avoid subsidy and the mistakes of solar and wind (to the extent that, in my mind, the lobbies need to be completely separate). But this means that a stale market which has been moulded by the incumbents for too long needs a revolution. A revolution which reduces the cost of entry for new businesses in the energy sector (we will write more on this in the future). As an industry we need to embrace this change and not be afraid. Change is good. Change is coming to a fuse box near you.