Saturday, 1 November 2014

Researchers Evaluating Powerful Batteries for Modular Grid Energy Storage

Grid Energy Storage
TransPower’s GridSaver, which is the largest grid energy storage system, is currently being analyzed at Sandia’s Energy Storage Test Pad, located in Albuquerque. The laboratory-based characterization of the Gridsaver has been started by the Sandia National Laboratories. According to David Rosewater, Project lead, the laboratory is currently investigating the frequency regulation of the system; they are investigating as to which grid operator will be required for the moment-to-moment difference management between demand and the electrical supply.

The data that will be generated after the characterization of a large system like that of Gridsaver will help in improving the operational performance, technology identification and gaps in the research. They will be able to provide feedbacks to the manufacturers so that they improve the performance of system, safety and reliability.

There are other tests which will help Sandia’s to validate the energy storage and their characterization protocols. This has been developed by national laboratories and industry, according to the preset standards for measurement and energy storage performance. According to Rosewater, carrying out independent evaluation will enable to the industry to receive feedbacks so that they can improve performance, standardize metrics for reporting and characterizing and safety.

Electricity, utility and transmission providers and regulators often want to ensure that their equipment is proven reliable and safe before they can be allowed to operate on the electric grid. Although they are concerned with the safety, integrators and energy storage manufacturers are time and again unable to provide the necessary logistics which can enable long term monitoring and testing of the equipments.

According to Rosewater, although the industries need these standards, they are deprived of the same. They are hoping this protocol will provide them with information will help them to compare lead-acid battery, flow battery, flywheel and lithium-ion systems. Sandia’s Energy Storage Test Pad and Energy Storage Analysis Laboratory test have been able to prove the specifications given by the manufacturers’ concerning energy storage devices through application-specific cycle testing and characterization.

These systems will help the users to evaluate the system parameters which include the performance specifications, storage device efficiency, balance and reliability of the plant operation.

According to the Rosewater, the job of the operators has become more difficult since the state, national and local policies are pushing for a cleaner and much more accurate electric grid for a significant increase in the variable renewable generation. He says that Storage will help in mitigating that variability as to when the storage is reliable, safe, cost-effective and sustainable.

According to energy storage program manager in the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Imre Gyuk, development of an energy storage system required complex incorporation of many components further than just battery. This includes sophisticated power controls and electronics.

Mainly for communications. Sandia’s is focusing on assessing the complete system. Currently there are 4 challenges that have been identified by the office namely, validated reliability, the cost of energy storage technologies, safety documentation and a regulatory environment for acceptance of the industry.

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