Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL), a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries based in China, has equipped the world’s first multi-mixed power plant (with several power sources) and the largest in China with a batteries-based energy storage system.
The power plant, located in Golmud, is equipped with a battery energy storage system (BESS), as part of the Luneng Haixi Multi-mixed Energy Demonstration Project. It is the first of its kind in China that integrates wind power (400MW), photovoltaic (200MW), concentrated solar energy (50MW) and energy storage system (ESS) (100MWh) in a single system in the electricity network.
The power plant coordinates three different types of renewable energy, with fluctuating and particularly unstable energy sources, and must meet consistently the fluctuating demand, which means that its batteries and battery management system are crucial for the reliability of the system as a whole. CATL, the battery supplier for the project, exceeded the requirements during the design and development phase of the product and it took them 17 days to test and launch the BESS on the network.
Huang Shilin, vice president and director of Strategy at CATL, states: “The plant is the first of its kind: a multifunctional, centralized and integrated electric power plant with an electrochemical energy storage system. Its technical reliability and affordability will lead to greater global deployment of different renewable energy applications“.
Security measures in the energy storage station
The first priority when building an energy storage station is safety. By selecting reliable materials, CATL minimizes the potencial of a failure incident and a second explosion with damage. In addition, CATL follows the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) design method to identify risks and implement risk mitigation plans in the early stages of product development, manufacturing and management, in order to guarantee the safe operation of the battery system with well-designed cells, modules, cabinets and control systems. Using a three-layer relay protection system, CATL also guarantees the performance of the battery system by protecting it against damage caused by overload / underload, overcurrent, and attenuates operating conditions above or below the temperature.
According to Dr. Hui Dong, Scientific Director of the China Electric Power Research Institute, the plant is “the first electromechanical energy storage plant in the world and the largest in China, with a virtual synchronous generator“.
One of the main challenges in terms of safety and performance that CATL and the sector face is thermal management. The plant is installed in Golmud, where the temperature ranges from -33.6 to 35.5 degrees Celsius. To ensure 15 years of battery operation, CATL has implemented a cooling system that uses air ducts and airflow designs to maintain a constant temperature. A battery management unit will activate the battery cooling system as soon as it detects thermal problems, while the previously stored electricity protects the battery from capacity loss or from lithium plating caused by low temperatures charging.
On the other hand, the project has highly demanding structural requirements, given that Golmud is located in an active seismic zone, which requires damping of vibrations and tremors. CATL’s state-of-the-art testing and validation center carried out rigorous tests and simulations to prove that its batteries could withstand potential magnitude 8 earthquakes.
According to Dr. Hui Dong, Scientific Director of the China Electric Power Research Institute, the plant is “the first electromechanical energy storage center in the world and the largest in China, with a virtual synchronous generator“. With the power plant´s planned electricity generation of 126,250MWh (401,500 tons of energy generated from coal) per year, the project is expected to be a good showcase for different applications of new energies, and is expected to help establish standards and smart grid applications around the world.