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

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

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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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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Accelerating Climate Action

Amongst the G20 countries, Australia’s emission reduction target – a reduction of 26-28% on a 2005 baseline – is unusually weak, nowhere near what is required for us to play our fair share in meeting a 2°C Paris target.

The impacts that we are experiencing now at a ~1°C rise in average temperature are the forerunners of rapidly escalating risks as the temperature rises towards 2°C and beyond. An overview of these risks – worsening extreme weather, damage to natural ecosystems, disproportionate impacts on the poor and vulnerable – is given by the ‘burning embers diagram’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The series reveals a striking trend – as the science of climate impacts advances, severe impacts are now expected at more modest increases in temperature
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Why will I choose energy storage batteries?

 

There are a variety of reasons that people choose to make use of battery storage. In the domestic market the most common ones are to reduce the price they are paying for ever increasing electricity costs by shifting power from their solar panels collected during the day to when it is needed at night.

There are many other people for whom the desire to be energy independent is the driving force, even if they still stay connected to the grid. This may be because of dissatisfaction with treatment from power companies or due to an unreliable supply. Continue reading “Why will I choose energy storage batteries?”