Maxwell Technologies, Inc. recently announced that FREQCON GmbH, a German developer and distributor of renewable energy systems, has deployed an energy storage system for the Tallaght Smart Grid Testbed in Ireland that uses Maxwell ultracapacitors and lithium-ion batteries to support grid stability in both residential and industrial settings. Freqcon’s Microgrid Stabilizer addresses the electricity intermittency challenges that accompany high renewable energy penetration.
As Ireland works toward its goal of 40 percent renewable energy generation by 2020, the Tallaght Smart Grid Testbed, run by the South Dublin County Council and the Micro Electricity Generation Association (MEGA), will demonstrate how energy storage can minimize electricity distribution issues and grid instability. With multiple sources of energy generation, the grid network in Ireland must deal with voltage and frequency issues before distributing the electricity to end users.
The testbed uses Freqcon’s Microgrid Stabilizer for voltage and frequency stabilization, with a combination of lithium-ion batteries and ultracapacitors for active power support in the grid’s distributed network. The Maxwell ultracapacitors perform fast functions such as frequency response, while the batteries are used for peak shifting and operating reserve.
Norbert Hennchen, CEO of Freqcon, said, “The market for grid-tied energy storage systems is growing, and fast frequency response is a valuable system service to the grid. Ultracapacitors are the ideal technology to do this. Based on our long-standing relationship with Maxwell and our experience with ultracapacitors in pitch systems for wind turbines, we’re bringing this technology to the space of grid stabilization.”
Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, ultracapacitors store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40 degrees Celsius to +65 degrees Celsius), operate reliably through 1 million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock and vibration. Maxwell offers ultracapacitor cells ranging in capacitance from one to 3,400 farads and multi-cell modules ranging from 12 to 160 volts.
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