Sumitomo Electric Starts Up Megawatt-Class, Concentrating Solar / Flow Battery Facility in Japan.
Sumitomo Electric Industries has completed the first phase of a megawatt-class electric power generation/storage system on the premises of its Yokohama Works and has started operation. The system consists of the world's largest redox flow battery and Japan's largest concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) units.
The system when when complete will consist of 28 units of CPV for a maximum total power generation of 200 kW. (Currently the facility has 15 CPV units installed for about 100kW of power.) Each CPV panel has twice the power generation efficiency of a silicon solar panel currently on the market.
A redox flow battery (capacity: 1 MW x 5 hours) is connected to the CPV array to be a storage facility for the electric power generated by the CPV units. A redox flow battery is a storage battery that comprises a charging/discharging cell section and a tank full of metal ion electrolyte. It charges/discharges through the oxidation-reduction reaction of vanadium or other ions. The battery features a long service life with the electrodes and electrolyte that are not subject to deterioration even after repeated charge/discharge operations and is easily maintained because it uses the same electrolyte in both the cathode and the anode. It also provides increased safety as it does not require any combustible substances and operates at ambient temperatures
Connected to external commercial power networks, the system can also store electricity provided by power companies during the night. This system employs an energy management system (EMS), which monitors the amount of CPV-generated electric power, battery storage and power consumption, and stores the measurement data in the central server.
(1) The system levels power consumption (maximum demand control of 1 MW), thereby contributing to the alleviation of the acute power shortage in Japan.
(2) The system enables stable power supply based on plans by combining a redox flow battery with solar power generators. This improvement will enhance the value of solar power generation, which is susceptible to the weather, and accelerates the introduction of the natural power source.
(3) The system controls the amount of electric power discharged from the battery according to electric loads so as to stabilize the consumption of electric power, which will minimize the dependence on power generation plants.
(4) The system balances fluctuations in solar power generation by charging/discharging the battery, thereby reducing dependence on thermal power generation and increasing the size of connected solar power generators.
For the introduction of unstable renewable energy such as solar and wind power, the use of a redox flow battery helps stable power supply, and thus, contributes to the alleviation of power shortages.
Meanwhile, Sumitomo Electric also plans to start the demonstration test of a factory energy management system (FEMS), which combines the existing gas engine power generators with the redox flow battery and CPV units to form an optimal management system that controls the entire energy flow in the Yokohama Works.
Sumitomo Electric is planning to put these systems into practical use, particularly for major power consumers such as industrial plants and commercial facilities, with the aim of promoting the use of renewable energy sources and effective use of energy. With a plan for the commercialization during the fiscal year 2013 (ended March 2014), the Company continues to work on cost reduction and other improvements for the system. (7/23/2012)
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July 29, 2012 – Vol. 17 No.19