Welsh energy company Infinite Renewables unveiled a multi-technology energy centre at the UK’s Royal Mint in Wales on Wednesday. It comprises a GS Yuasa dual-chemistry battery energy storage system (BESS), a 2 MW solar farm, two wind turbines and a combined heat and power (CHP) unit.
Senior Technical Coordinator Peter Stevenson of GS Yuasa Battery Europe said its hybrid BESS comprises 1,120 50Ah LIM50EL lithium-ion cells and 240 1000Ah SLR1000 lead-acid cells. This is its sixth dual-chemistry project and combines the fast response of the lithium-ion batteries with the endurance of lead-acid, housed in two separate containers. It is the first system used in conjunction with a CHP plant, he said.
HIT Power supplied the four HiT Power-PS100 100 kWh parallel bi-directional power inverters.
Stevenson said the CHP will mostly draw on the lithium-ion batteries. When they discharge to 20%, the lead-acid batteries’ current rises rapidly to complement.
Infinite director Iestyn Morgan said at the system presentation that the thinking for battery use had changed in the last few weeks. Originally, it was about power shifting but now is about energy distribution.
The centre will provide about 75% of the Royal Mint’s energy needs and will have the capability to supply a microgrid linked with neighbouring businesses. The energy centre is not allowed to connect to the national grid.
The fire suppression in the lithium-ion container consists of a simple overhead sprinkler. “We don’t expect to use it,” Stevenson told BEST. “These systems can cause more problems than they are worth.” He said a fire in the US last year was caused by a fire suppression system. A thermal management air extraction fan motor overheated and triggered the sprinkler system, which sprayed water over the batteries and caused the BMS to malfunction, leading to a secondary lithium fire.
GS Yuasa designs and manufactures its own BMS units in Japan. This is because if there are BMS-related fires, it is the cell manufacturer’s name that goes public, not the BMS manufacturer’s, he said. The BESS was assembled at its plant in Ebbw Vale, Wales.
The Royal Mint’s energy centre is part of the Generation Storage Supply project and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Albion Community Power.
Photo: Peter Stevenson of GS Yuasa Battery Europe showing its sixth dual-chemistry project