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Maxwell Technologies Broadcasts from DistribuTECH 2018: Ultracapacitor Energy Storage for the Grid (VIDEO)

Maxwell Technologies Broadcasts from DistribuTECH 2018: Ultracapacitor Energy Storage for the Grid (VIDEO)

| Maxwell Technologies

DistribuTECH is the annual gathering of the major players in the utility industry, and Maxwell Technologies attended to join the discussion on energy storage solutions for the grid.

The global grid network faces a variety of challenges, including aging infrastructure, the complexity of intermittent renewable resources coming onto the grid, and the emerging distributed model for energy generation. Watch Maxwell’s Facebook Live video below for an introduction to ultracapacitor (supercapacitor) energy storage and the technology’s flexibility in addressing multiple grid applications.

Read the Full Transcript


Interviewer:
Good morning everyone. We are Maxwell Technologies and we are live at DistribuTECH 2018 in San Antonio Texas. I'm going to walk you through the entrance of the convention center and take you to booth 2518 to show you the Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitor products for the group.

Here we are in at the main hall for the San Antonio Convention Center, Maxwell Technologies you can see in the back is the booth 2518. So let me pan around the Convention Center a little bit so you can see our other friends and partners on the show floor.

This is our fourth year exhibiting at the show. In case you and our audience are just getting to know us, Maxwell Technologies was founded in 1965 and is a global leader in ultracapacitor energy storage with more than 50 million ultracapacitor devices, modules and systems deployed worldwide. We are excited to spend a few minutes speaking with some of our grid energy storage experts to share how Maxwell is supporting great customers to address the key power issues that our electricity grid is facing today.

Let me introduce some members of our team. We have Dr. Kim McGrath, Senior Director Technical Marketing and Business Development and Jan Ernst, Key Account Manager for grid products. First off, Jan, can you briefly describe what an ultracapacitor energy storage device is and how is it different from a battery.

Jan Ernst:
Good morning. Ultracapacitor devices are energy storage devices like batteries are as well. The big difference between batteries and ultracapacitors are the way how they store the energy. Ultracapacitors store the energy in an electrostatic charge and discharge process while batteries do it in an electrochemical process. This is the reason why ultracapacitors are not prone to degradation of chemistry like in most batteries it is the case. Ultracapacitors are used for high power, fast response applications. They operate in a very wide temperature range. The normal cycles that ultracapacitors can do are up to one million cycles, which is also the big difference to batteries with their electrochemistry. They normally can only run couple of thousand cycles.

That makes ultracapacitors very a long life and reliable product, you can operate them perfectly for grid applications as stand-alone depending on the application. You can also operate them in hybrid systems together with batteries to extend your overall lifetime of the application.

Interviewer:
So Kim, what are the key challenges facing the grid today?

Dr. Kim McGrath:
It is exciting times in the grid. Some of the key themes and mega trends that we see in the industry today is number one, the energy generation mix is changing locally. We have a lot of intermittent renewable resources coming on to the grid such as solar and wind. We are decommissioning some traditional generating resources, coal for example. So that's creating a lot of disruptions in the grid. Obviously, there is a need globally to reduce emissions, ensure that plants are operating more efficiently so that is a key player as well. Thinking about the grid infrastructure and what's happening right now is you have more of these different generating resources. We have a more distributed model of energy generation so essentially, the grid as it's designed right now didn't anticipate all of these key changes. The grid was designed over a century ago so energy storage is certainly a part of the solution that our customers need to really resolve some of these issues for integration of renewables in achieving energy generation mix as well as improving plant efficiency.

Interviewer:
How do ultracapacitors address these challenges?

Dr. Kim McGrath:
As Jan mentioned, ultracapacitors are high-power, fast responding devices and there's a key set of applications that our customers such as utilities, project developers, commercial industrial customers, microgrid developers need to tackle these challenges. When we think about high-power, fast responding applications, we think about things like frequency response. The grid has to maintain its frequency 60 Hz, 50 Hz in other places. There's renewable generation elements so being able to smooth the rapid power fluctuations caused by wind and solar energy, there's obviously peak power mitigation, peak power reduction using the ultracapacitor systems so essentially being able to ride through any voltage sag, any power flicker, facilities which can disrupt manufacturing operations that can cause a lot of damages. And finally, when it comes to traditional power plants, obviously we don't want to keep these huge plants idling and running inefficiently for very long periods of time. We can use the ultracapacitor system to fast bridge or fast ramp these power plants such that we can either take some generators offline to be more efficient or we can keep them operating in a more optimal fuel consumption rate.

Interviewer:
Great, thank you. So Jan, in that context, what are the specific advantages in utilizing ultracapacitors in grid energy storage plants?

Jan Ernst:
Yes, as Kim just mentioned, there are situations on the grid where high power and fast response is required. If you have this kind of application, ultracapacitors are super attractive from the economic standpoint in terms of CapEx and OpEx. So we're talking about the high cycle life up to one million cycles. The very long lifetime up to 15 years, we are talking about a really low requirement of maintenance and the smallest footprint of storage to provide power for a short time. This is actually the point where ultracapacitors come to the most efficient system. Also that we're talking about the wide operating range makes it almost not necessary to cool the system which reduces the system complexity tremendously. Especially when we're talking about situations where you have high power but also energy content in the application. It could be a perfect fit for grid applications to combine ultracapacitors with any kind of battery systems in a hybrid storage application that would mean that you take away the stress from the battery, which with high transience would normally cause a thermal event, and this is served by the ultracapacitors while the battery can do the energy content where the capacitors would normally have to be oversized to run the long way with energy. The combination of both systems actually makes the most benefit for ultracapacitors in grid solutions.

Interviewer:
Great, thank you very much. So Jan, can you tell us a bit about Maxwell's grid energy storage products.

Jan Ernst:
Yes, we're very proud to present two different type of products that we have designed especially for grid applications. The reason why we did that is that we want to actually scale up as much capacitors as possible in the lean and simple, easy to integrate way for certain grid applications. I want to start actually with our Open Cell Pack product, which contains 24 of our standard core technology cells. It is actually designed for mid to large-scale systems in the kilowatt range to the lower megawatt range. You can integrate it easily in direct systems into any scale depending on the voltage or the power demand what you have for the application. We have an advanced monitoring system and balancing system on the self-pack itself so you have CAN communication and actually you have the full visibility of the system behavior and the key parameters what they require.

Now when we're talking about super large scale projects in the grid, we are talking about our 125-volt product which contains 48 cells and that even allows full scale 19 inch racks and you can scale them up to large systems to fulfill requirements for the multi megawatts applications. The chance for data integration into large PLC systems with all the standard process…even enabled it for utility grid operation.

Interviewer:
Kim on that last note, how do we typically work with customers?

Dr. Kim McGrath:
As Jan mentioned these are highly scalable systems. Whether it be a generation point, transmission, sub-transmission, distribution, behind the meter application, this unit scales to appropriately address the services that our customers need to deliver in their energy storage system. What we like to do is engage with the customer very early on the project development cycle such that we can ensure that these ultracapacitor systems are appropriately sized to meet the project need. As Jan mentioned also, we can either have this as stand-alone type systems where we take many of these, place them into a larger scale like a cargo container, or we can also work on the design where we place these side by side with battery systems for a situation where we want to deliver stacked services to the customer handling both high power applications and long duration storage applications. We engage really early on, we've got an amazing team of electrical, mechanical engineers as well as project modelers who can take a very close look at how these systems react on local grid networks. Essentially, it's a partnership with the customer to ensure that we develop the absolutely most appropriate solution for the project. I encourage anyone interested to learn more, please reach out to us.

Interviewer:
Thank you Kim and thank you Jan for your time today. As Kim said, if you'd like to get in touch with us to discuss any of the solutions featured today, please contact a member of our team or send us an email at contactus@maxwell.com and mention you saw us on Facebook live. Be sure to visit Maxwell.com, follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog for the latest in ultracapacitor energy storage. Thank you for joining today.


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