Winds power load balancing: Ultracapacitors help

Winds of change are blowing for clean technology energy storage methods to help balance renewable energy sources coming online. Ultracapacitors can help balance the grid as more wind power comes online.

07/28/2011


Wind power is increasing as traditional energy markets are influenced by regional instabilities and, with recent events in Japan, nuclear power seems less attractive politically in many areas. The wind turbine market also is taking advantage of rapid technology advances. [See article on direct-drive wind turbines.] Manufacturers once struggled to cost-effectively capture consistent wind-generated power, but a shift in energy storage practices has resolved that problem. Ultracapacitors are replacing battery-driven energy storage systems and introducing new efficiencies in the wind turbine market, helping to balance the electricity grid. 

While the rotor blades of a turbine can be adjusted to respond to current conditions, this changeability creates waste in battery-powered systems, which are sized to meet the highest possible power demands. Batteries also struggle under moments of high peak power and perform poorly in low temperatures. With short life spans, batteries force maintenance crews to frequently swap out components under potentially dangerous conditions. 

Ultracapacitors resolve those problems because they:

Have a long life span. Batteries last 2 to 4 years, but ultracapacitor life span is more than 10 years. 

Can withstand extreme temperatures. They operate optimally at a temperature range between -40 C and 65 C, whereas batteries function best at -20 C to 40 C.  

Have impressive cycling capability. A battery can offer only 10,000 to 50,000 cycles compared to an ultracap’s million-plus.

Are dropping in cost. The cost of ultracaps has decreased by 99% in the last 10 years. During the same period of time, battery price fell by only 30% to 40%.

For the above reasons, new wind turbine installations will favor ultracapacitors to control blade pitch, ensure optimum positioning, and capture wind speed for better performance and safety.

Brendan Andrews is vice president of sales and marketing at Ioxus Inc. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineeringhttp://www.controleng.com 

www.ioxus.com

- Posted by Chris Vavra, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Emergency lighting; NFPA 3 and 4; Integrated building systems; Smart lighting, HVAC design
Designing for energy efficiency; Understanding and applying NFPA 101 for mission critical facilities; Integrating commissioning and testing for fire alarm systems; Optimizing unitary pumping solutions
Economics of HVAC systems; NFPA 110-2016; Designing and choosing modular data centers
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me