Generator Bridging, Ramping and Regulation

Power generators install peaking load capacity (spinning reserve) to ensure that variable power demand is met and grid frequency is maintained. To ensure second by second grid balance, generators are kept in idling mode such that they are ready to ramp to meet demand immediately. As more intermittent distributed energy generation resources such as solar and wind enter the grid, the need to maintain more immediately dispatchable peaking resources increases. The result is capital expenditure to install additional generators with associated increased fuel consumption.

Ultracapacitor (supercapacitor) energy storage systems rapidly respond to an increase or decrease in energy generation (or load) to respond to markets or random, unpredictable variations in demand. They provide controlled ramp rates and bridge the time required to bring an alternative energy generation resource online. This mitigates the need for additional idling generators. Should a longer ramp be required or the plant need to support additional ancillary services, the systems can be deployed with batteries or another energy storage technology to further optimize their value.

For short duration bridging, ultracapacitors respond within cycles to provide frequency (active power) support until the generating resource is brought from stopped to full power.

For longer duration ramp and ancillary stacked services, ultracapacitors and batteries are hybridized to optimize storage lifetime.

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  • Response time: Maxwell ultracapacitor systems can be commanded to respond at full power in the cycles timeframe to support generator inrush current and bridge to full power.
  • Long operating life and opex reduction*: Maxwell ultracapacitor systems typically provide a 12 to 15 year lifetime with no replacement cycles. Ultracapacitors are electrostatic devices designed to be repeatedly charged and discharged in full cycles or micro-cycles. Maxwell’s ultracapacitors have demonstrated over 1 million benchmark charge-discharges.
  • Capex reduction: Ultracapacitors are electrostatic devices that do not need to be 1-5x oversized to meet power and daily cycling requirements. In many cases, minimal to no balance of plant cooling is required because the devices have a wider operating temperature window and are not as prone to ESR rise (heating) as batteries.
  • Hybrid systems: Maxwell ultracapacitor systems act as a buffer on the battery to mitigate degradation caused by heating. This preserves battery lifetime and reduces the number of battery replacement cycles.
*Results may vary. Additional terms and conditions, including the limited warranty, apply at the time of purchase. See the warranty details and datasheet for applicable operating and use requirements.

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