Yarram Circular Economy event – GridEdge report

Recently GridEdge was part of the Yarram Circular Economy event on 23rd May 2021, hosted by Yarram Community Energy. GridEdge in conjunction with Regenerative Resources are working to set up a Renewable Energy Park at the Radial Timbers Sawmill in Yarram with the first stage involving a pyrolysis unit supported by a SoNick battery storage system.

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Renewable Energy Park at Yarram Sawmill

GridEdge is currently involved in a project to create a Renewable Energy Park at the Radial Timbers Sawmill in Yarram.

The project will establish a “Bioenergy Cell” that incorporates the GridEdge SoNick Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and The Pyrotech Energy Mobile Pyroflash Plant Pyrolysis Unit.

Stage 1 of the Renewable Energy Park is to establish a small 2-tonne pyrolysis unit plus SoNick battery storage

Stage 2 will be the installation of 100kW solar & 67.5 kWh battery installation that will be shared with a Yarram community group via a benefit sharing model.

Stage 3 will be the installation a 10-tonne pyrolysis unit plus additional SoNick battery storage

Stage 4 will be the installation of a neighbourhood battery to provide energy for the wider Yarram community.

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Battery safety and fire risk

When installing energy storage batteries more people are becoming aware or the risks associated with batteries that have a possibility of going into thermal runaway.

Over the last few years there have been a number of reports of fires and explosions being caused by lithium ion batteries.

‘Zombie batteries’ causing hundreds of waste fires, experts warn

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Reef HQ Aquarium Townsville – Commercial Case Study using SoNick batteries

Reef HQ aquarium was looking to add energy storage batteries to their recently upgraded PV system. One requirement of the battery storage was for it to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Reef HQ, near the Great Barrier Reef is a large saltwater aquarium with a strong sustainability ethos. The Aquarium is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium and has many impressive exhibits, showcasing rare and extraordinary features of the Great Barrier Reef .

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Emergency energy storage to Protect Yourself from bushfire power outages

During bushfires power is often lost to many areas and sometimes is not returned for days or weeks at a time. At these times communities often have to rely on generators, especially if, as in the devastating 2019-2020 Australian bushfires roads are cut off to complete communities for extended periods of time.

     Emergency Problems

  • Bushfires and other emergencies cause loss of grid electricity
  • No power for communications
  • No power for medical and other health supplies
  • No power for food storage fresh or frozen
  • No power for pumps for clean water
  • Inability to power petrol pumps for fuel for emergency evacuations

     Solution – Earthworker Emergency container

  • Can supply emergency power
  • Uses safe non-flammable SoNick battery technology
  • Can be setup in short period once on site
  • Can be powered by solar, wind or diesel backup
  • Can be configurable to suit application
  • Can be delivered by plane, helicopter, truck or boat.
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Protect Yourself from bushfire power outages

During bushfires power is often lost to many areas and sometimes is not returned for days or weeks at a time. At these times communities often have to rely on generators, especially if, as in the devastating 2019-2020 Australian bushfires roads are cut off to complete communities for extended periods of time.

Strong winds also tend to bring trees down on power lines, again cutting off your power supply

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Not all battery inverters are equal

With the installation of energy storage systems most people look at the battery and concentrate on that but in reality the battery inverter is an integral part of any energy storage system and will dictate much of the energy storage systems operations.

Often when an energy storage system isn’t working properly the fault lies with the inverter and not the battery.

Inverter power is measured in kVA or volt amps.

The battery inverter takes power from the solar PV array (solar inverter or MPPT) and battery which can be of different voltages and converts it to 240V for household of business use.

Solar inverters are designed to work with solar PV arrays and battery inverters are designed to work with energy storage batteries. Hybrid inverters are also coming onto the market that combine both solar PV and battery conversions.

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Salt batteries – the only chemistry UL9540A certified for safety

More and more people are recognising that one of the major issues with energy storage batteries are the dangers with fires and explosions particularly associated with thermal runaway (self-sustaining fires). This has become particularly relevant as people are considering installing the many lithium ion battery technologies in their houses or businesses and are becoming aware of the possibility of the dangers associated with this.

Standards Australia has been working on new installation standards “AS-NZ 5139_2019” which will try and address this issue but there is still a lot of discussion around whether the new installation restrictions are too strict or are really looking at individual battery characteristics correctly and fairly.

International Standard “UL9540A” has been developed to independently examine Fire Risk with Battery Cells and Evaluate Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems.

Salt batteries – the only chemistry UL9540A certified for fire safety
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Questions to ask about installing an energy storage system

Most people that are looking at installing an energy storage system (battery and battery inverter) don’t realise that every installation is different and there is no one size fits all. Installations are very dependent on whether there is already solar PV in place and the current electrical wiring situation at the premises.

With solar PV installations as long as you have suitable roof space you can install a system and the questions that need deciding are finding a reliable supplier / installer, working out the size of the PV system needed according to electricity usage and roof space and the size of the inverter required.

With an energy storage system it is much more complicated. Among the considerations are;

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Medical Centre – Commercial Case Study using SoNick batteries

The medical centre was to be refurbished and part of the upgrade was to install a PV system with battery storage. The difficulty was allocating the space for battery storage that was safe for patients as well as staff. As is usual in a medical centre space is a premium and is used for medical related purposes as a priority.

A space was identified under the stairwell as the only realistic place to house the batteries and inverters. This limited the type of battery storage due to both space and safety requirements. Continue reading “Medical Centre – Commercial Case Study using SoNick batteries”