Esstalion Technologies (Sony & Hydro-Quebec JV) To Begin Testing 1.2 MWh Battery Energy Storage System


Hydro-Québec has energy under control

Hydro-Québec has energy under control

Large-capacity energy storage system prototype

Large-capacity energy storage system prototype

Esstalion Technologie, a JV established by Sony Corporation and Hydro-Québec about year ago to research and develop large-scale energy storage systems for power grids, is now entering the testing phase.

This summer Esstalion will do an experimental launch of its first 1.2 MW / 1.2 MWh ESS to help meet electricity demand during peak consumption periods and facilitate the integration of renewable energy onto the grid.

With Hydro-Québec li-ion technology, and Sony as the battery cell manufacturer, count Esstalion as another option in the rapidly expanding ESS market.

“The prototype is made up of a container measuring 16.2 metres (53 feet) that consists of 576 battery modules, an inverter to convert the current, a transformer to adjust the storage system voltage to that of the grid, and control and protection equipment. The battery modules are manufactured by Sony and use Hydro-Québec’s lithium iron phosphate technology.

Using a container will allow the storage system to be moved by truck for quick on-site deployment.

Testing begins this summer

Tests will be carried out in summer 2015 to analyze storage system performance during charging and power and energy injection onto the grid.

Initially, testing will be done on the low-voltage network of the Esstalion Technologies laboratory, set up at Hydro-Québec’s research institute in Varennes, Québec. Trials will then be conducted on a 25-kV distribution test line at the research institute.

This is a milestone for this joint venture, set up by Sony Corporation and Hydro-Québec in June 2014.”

Category: Battery TechGeneral

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27 responses to "Esstalion Technologies (Sony & Hydro-Quebec JV) To Begin Testing 1.2 MWh Battery Energy Storage System"
  1. finecadmin says:

    Oh wait, what was that about making hydrogen with “surplus” electricity?

    Chalk up another Japanese company that can do arithmetic.

    1. Mikael says:

      1,2 MWh could store 0,064 seconds of Canadian electricity generation.

      You would only need 16 of these to store a full second of generation. 😉

      You were saying what about arithmetic?

      1. przemo_li says:

        It’s testing system. Most probably just big enough to beeing usefull for proving idea. Its unlikely this JV would like to invest in anything bigger then that, just for one of its research centers.

        In fact You will find cars that coudl drink that power in one hour or so 😉

        1. Mikael says:

          True. But it still illustrates the ridiculousness of thinking that battery storage will be an important factor for countries grids.
          But it will definitely have a role in keeping the stability and reduce spikes until real back-up kicks in.

    2. Three Electrics says:

      It’s still on:

      Japan itself wants to put fuel cell storage directly into residences in addition to grids, however, for better resilience against earthquakes. Fuel cells take up less space than batteries which is a boon for cramped Japan.

  2. Ambulator says:

    There is an erroneous 1.2 kWh mention in the body of the story. If it weren’t for the the 1.2 MWh in the title I would have thought you were talking about capacitors instead of batteries.

    1. Mark Kane says:

      1.2 kWh was wrong. Thanks.

  3. Bill Howland says:

    Yeah, too bad the writers don’t understand that 1,200 kwh storage is puny.

    The downtown telephone central offices, and major cell telephone central locations all have roughly 2000 kwh of battery storage, to keep the 5000 amps of 48 volt equipment running for 8 hours in case the emergency generator has problems starting. (In other words, they have 8 hours to fix the trouble).

    Modern design in the telecoms industry supposedly is to use 15 minute UPS’s and more generators for redundancy, but I didn’t see anything wrong with the old method since it gave people time to fix a problem and you had more than 15 minutes to react, and in a sophisticated installation, think about what you had to do next. And the cost of the batteries was less than the cost of the added ups’s and added generators.

    But this is just silly telephones.

    I’ve already mentioned in the past the storage installations orders of magnitude bigger than these articles mention as was used from the World War I era up until around the 1940’s in almost all large downtown areas in the States. They don’t do it now, since the AC Network protector was far less costly than Battery Substion Buildings.. But prior to that, during an outage the ENTIRE DOWNTOWN would run on batteries.

    There is really nothing to see here.

    The big impact that Solar and wind are having on conventional power plants is the quick change in loading is causing accelerated wear in those plants. That is the big expensive issue. But its not sexy so we don’t hear about it.

    Its the base loading vs Peaking Plant issue, that youll never hear about here.

    1. sven says:

      It’s the first time I’m hearing about it. Thanks for the info.

  4. Someone out there says:

    I don’t see why a hydro plant would use battery storage. Normally hydro plants themselves are used to balance the grid demands.

    Solar and especially wind farms however, those are the ones that would really benefit from battery storage

    1. SimonAVEQ says:

      During winter, Quebec gets peak demand for electric heating that far surpasses our production for local markets, which means we need to import electricity from neighbouring states at higher rates.

      (I mention “local markets” because we still honour our exporting contracts to neighbouring states at a low rate.)

      The battery containers placed strategically would allow to balance demand without the need to import that foreign electricity at higher rates.

      We do also have wind farms in Quebec.

      1. sven says:

        A 1,000 MW power transmission line will soon bring Quebec’s hydro electricity 330 miles to NYC. Merci Quebec! 😀

      2. Bill Howland says:

        1200 kwh storage for the whole thing? So assuming you use 12,000 kwh for the winter months I’m assuming they are going to install TEN of these units in every backyard.

        1. mustang_sallad says:

          Something like this would support the grid at the distribution level, where you are dealing with peaks and troughs on a daily cycle. Batteries like this would charge and discharge on a daily basis, so no, we’re not talking about something that needs enough capacity to charge up enough to last all winter long. One of these for 100 houses would go a long way towards reducing peak demand.

        2. arne-nl says:

          Why on earth would you want/need to store an entire winter worth of electricity? These ‘scenarios’ help no one.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            I just mentioned that to show the silliness of the argument.

            Ok 1 per 100 houses? Where do you plan on putting one of these things for every 100 houses? Have you considered the decrease in property taxes these things would prevent? Or the paying of property taxes if this were a real utility, not to mention the construction costs.

            Now lets see: 100 houses having 20 kw (68,260 BTU/Hour) heating demand on a cold day. I have a relatively small furnace in a relatively tight, energy efficient home (at least that is what NYSERDA officially told me), that at 2200 square feet, has a furnace with an output of 80,000 btu/hour. So 68,260 is for an even smaller house, so 20 kw heating load for an all electric house is very realistic, – not to mention the other electric heating loads such as heating up the VERY COLD incoming water.

            At 20kw per house (remember, we’re not talking about other electric heating loads, just space heating), That would use up the ENTIRE storage in 36 minutes, assuming 100% efficiency and 0 losses. But the homes are still cold. Ok, so you say, we’re only doing this to provide juice for 10% of the homes’ heating. Ok then the thing is dead in 6 hours. Meanwhile its still cold outside… Then what do you do?

            It would be nice if people thought through their statements before they made them.

            Most people just speak in generalities so no one else can use their numbers and embarrass them since they don’t ever offer any specifics to begin with. At least the 1 in 100 dude gave a small specific.

            The best and most cost effective ‘buffering’ device for hydropower is and has always been Pumped water storage.

            Even the water utilities in most places use this concept, since they refill the areas’ water towers overnight during low electric rates so that they can let the tanks drain throughout the day when they don’t otherwise provide sufficient pumping.

            1. Djoni says:

              Is this include you’re own assumption?
              There’s probably not a sufficient explanation for the purpose of this thing, so all the wrong scenario are assume.
              This is no way something to provide backup power or emergency supply because, as many point out, it’s a very tiny capacity relative to the total load, but instead it would probably a very good job of filtering spike and voltage fluctuation, including frequency and phasing balance.
              And it does indeed provide a solution for “peak” demand.
              It’s just something to shave off a bit off pressure on the grid, and that will help improve it’s reliabilty and in some way’s avoiding blackout.
              Tiny doesn’t mean inneficient in any way.

            2. mustang_sallad says:

              Bill – I’ve built and deployed similar sized batteries, and work with utilities in addressing issues that batteries like these can address. Don’t pretend to know everything about the world with some basic knowledge of household wiring.

              Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that utilities need to sustain peak output all day long. Sure, some parts of the grid might have very long and sustained loads near their maximum capacity, but it’s much more common to have utility assets that are sized to handle loads that only last a small portion of the day, and are under-utilized at other times of day. 6 hours is right in line with common peak loads for certain utilities.

              Sure pumped hydro is great, but if you’re worried about putting a 50ft container in an alley every couple city blocks, I’d love to see where you propose to put a pumped hydro reservoir. Gravitational energy is not very dense, you need a lot of height and a lot of mass!

              Have a look at the DOE’s Energy Storage Exchange website, you’ll find that the wonderful world of stationary batteries is taking off, and apparently leaving you behind! (Note that 3 of the 4 pre-defined duration options for the filters are less than 4 hours)

              1. Djoni says:

                Very interesting link, mustang_sallad.

              2. Bill Howland says:

                Well they’re not leaving me behind. As I’ve explained several times, this is just a minor revisiting of a technology used 100 years ago except this time much much smaller scale.

                But there are different ways to skin a cat, and power electronics tend to make the job easier, but its not the cure all end all that some people here seem to think it is. Its just not that big of an issue compared to the real problems of electric generation/distribution. THe investor owned and publicly owned cooperatives aren’t overly concerned.

                Its rather like this overhyped hydrogen cars thing where such a big deal and hype is made over 300 cars per year. Meanwhile almost nothing on the plug-in-prius.

                I’ve seen more plug-in-prius’s than hydrogen cars, since i’ve seen exactly zero.

                The electric industry *IS* concerned about the issue of intermittent renuable power causing damage on their formerly base load plants due to heat fatigue. But yours truly has been the only one to mention that.

                “Voltage Support” and “power factor correction” are most economically handled with synchronous converters, which are sometimes realized by partially shutting down older power stations and leaving the former generator to just spin by itself.

                There are places for batteries… But 1200 kwh isn’t going to have much of an effect on the scheme of things, unless you mean in arbitrarily chosen articles on the subject.

                1. Bill Howland says:

                  correction: Synchronous Condensors.

              3. Bill Howland says:

                Just because you’ve sold batteries don’t pretend to know anything about the electric industry.

                The current trend in vogue seems to be supplying many batteries to the UPS industry, as an adjunct to providing ‘clean power’ for data centers.

              4. Bill Howland says:

                If you look at the ‘pumped storage’ projects that have been in use for decades you’ll see they’re in the 3 GW or larger range.

                Most of the battery or flywheel storage projects are 1/1000th the size or 3 orders of magnitude smaller. THese things have their place, but it doesn’t negate what I’ve already said.

              5. mustang_sallad says:

                Maybe the big distinction we’re getting at here is whether you have a single large source of storage, or many smaller storage systems addressing more localized constraints – you can fit a couple containers of batteries next to a substation, you most definitely cannot do the same with a pumped hydro reservoir.

  5. arne-nl says:

    Many commenters here are poo-pooing the size of this thing. 0.062 seconds of generation? As if batteries will ever need to supply 100% of Canadian demand.

    If you have a diverse portfolio of generating sources (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass), you have pretty much round-the-clock electricity. You’d need the batterieso only for short time spans.

    The purpose of these things is also to allow energy companies to defer the increase in the capacity of power lines. By adding storage, the power line doesn’t have to be sized for peak demand or (in case of a high penetration of renewables) peak generation.

    This is just a step along the road to be able to increase the amount of renewables. Never meant to be the holy grail of anything.