The next step in energy storage: Large capacities for flexible and mobile use

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This “Big Battery Box”, which will be officially launched in the second quarter of 2018, is part of Bredenoord’s Clear Concept strategy. New Business Manager Margien Storm van Leeuwen notes: “We guarantee the power security of our customers. This means that we also have to offer them solutions for the current energy transition and a future with much lower quantities of fossil fuels. To do this, we implement a three-prong approach. We examine the features of a power unit and then consider alternative fuels and energy sources. We also work on more efficient generating techniques. And we are committed to emission reduction.

Ten years of practical experience with energy storage

For comparable reasons, Bredenoord decided about eight years ago to investigate if solar energy could replace the diesel fuel in power generating units. “Solar energy cannot be used without a battery,” says Storm van Leeuwen. “But once we made the connection, we realised that batteries could also greatly enhance the sustainability of non-solar power generating units. This allows us to work toward a cleaner future but also to extend the life of current technology in a responsible and efficient manner.

“An analysis has revealed that most of our customers use their generators with a partial load of 30% or lower. The internal combustion engines used with such units then operate very inefficiently. This is especially the case because power units, unlike car engines, run at a constant speed. Allowing the unit to operate at maximum power for a short period of time and to charge batteries, increases its efficiency. For this reason, we developed the ESaver, a 17 kWh battery system that we combine with 15, 35 and 50 kVA diesel-power generators.

“We were initially very careful with our claims, but have measured fuel and emission savings of up to 95% in various applications. Data has revealed that, with the correct deployment, we have, on average, realised average reductions in fuel consumption and COCO2 emissions of 70% in all the jobs that we have completed since 2012. Over the last five years, this has enabled us to reduce the diesel fuel consumption of our customers by a million liters!”

The ESaver has turned out to be nothing more than the first step in the field of battery design. Now there is also the Smart Power Bank, providing 58 kWh. The added value of this product is that, in addition to diesel generators, it can also be connected to mains power and renewable sources, such as sun and wind. “For example, there are various locations in Africa where the Smart Power Bank is already being used in combination with an off-grid solar plant. It is also used on construction sites in the same way as the ESaver or in combination with previously installed solar panels.

Multi-use mobile energy storage

The battery product line has provided Bredenoord with a significant amount of hard data about the behaviour of mobile energy storage in the field. “How do the batteries respond to all weather conditions and movement? How do they perform best? We are convinced that energy flexibilisation, storage and emittance technology is essential during and subsequent to the energy transition. Uses of the ESaver and Smart Power Bank have already demonstrated this fact. It was therefore only logical for us to take the next step: mobile energy storage for larger capacities.”

This is the Big Battery Box, available starting this spring. This container has power electronics for supplying 600 kWh energy. In the field, it can be charged and discharged in one hour and can be used in different configurations with mains power, a smart grid and various power generating technologies such as wind and solar. The Big Battery Box is easy to move and can therefore be used at various, remote locations. Such capability is not currently available on the market.

The basic structure makes it suitable for a variety of applications: simply as an energy source for on-site work, but also for such applications as grid takeover, energy trading, Frequency Containment Reserve and peak shaving.” Pilots will be operating in the field starting in Summer 2018. “We have developed the first two Big Battery Box containers together with QINOUS, one of our business partners. In collaboration with our customers, we will continue to fine-tune the concept in order to adapt it to the practical situations in various applications and markets.”

Expertise in the right application for each situation

Mobile energy storage is here to stay, but the technology is continuously evolving. As Storm van Leeuwen remarks, “There are many different types of batteries, each with their own application. In the short term, there will simply be no “one size fits all” storage. As a result, each situation must be examined to determine the best match: one customer might need rapid charging, while another situation may allow charging to take a bit longer, but temperature sensitivity is an issue.

“We have knowledge about the entire range of battery solutions and, in combination with our practical experience, can provide advice about the best configuration for our customers in any given situation. Of course, we also look at the total cost of operation, since a solution must be economically viable. But the use of mobile energy storage has many additional advantages: there are fewer emissions, it is quiet, meets strict environmental requirements and can be regarded as a component of recyclable operations. It therefore contributes to corporate social responsibility. If you look at true pricing, then large-capacity mobile energy storage is the next generation power solution.”