Ireland’s First Combined Ultracapacitor & Battery Energy Storage Facility

By Roy L Hales​

Ireland intends to achieve 40% renewable energy by 2020. This is an ambitious goal, considering most of this electricity comes from large scale wind farms. “The challenge is that it is an island grid, with only limited connection to the UK,” said Klaus Harder, Business Development Manager atFREQCON GmbH. Some winter nights the Irish grid will have to take 75% of its electricity from renewable sources. This calls for additional services and FREQCON deployed Ireland’s first ­combined ultracapacitor & battery energy storage facility for the Tallaght Smart Grid Testbed in South Dublin County.

Klaus Harder, Business Development Manager at FREQCON GmbH

Klaus Harder, Business Development Manager at FREQCON GmbH

“This 300 KW/ 150 kWh system was developed to demonstrate that a combination of lithium-ion batteries, Maxwell Technologiesultracapacitors and FREQCON power converters can deliver what is needed. For us, this is a good foot in the door to the Irish market and we’re getting a lot of interest from people who want to look into this space,” said Harder.

Though this is a trial run in Ireland, one of FREQCON’s recent contracts was a 5MW/ 10MWh facility in China.

Around 90% of their business is in Asia. Most of this is in China or South Korea. One of their clients is China’s leading wind turbine developer, Goldwind.

FREQCON was one of Maxwell’s first customers, 15 years ago. They first used the San Diego company’s ultracapacitors for pitch control in wind turbines.

“We have been promoting the grid energy storage applications in the past years,” said Wolfgang Beez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Maxwell.

Ultracapacitors respond much faster than battery storage, discharging in fractions of a second and with more immediate power. This makes them invaluable in grid applications like Ireland, where large amounts of wind energy is being fed into the grid. However batteries produce and store energy through a chemical reaction, rather than storing it in an electric field, which means they have more capacity.

Wolfgang Beez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Maxwell Technologies

Wolfgang Beez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Maxwell Technologies

“You combine two complementary technologies to provide a service that neither would be able to do as efficiently and by combining them you come up with a very cost efficient fast frequency response system and also provide back up power with the batteries,” said Beez.

Harder said the project fits with Tallaght’s goal to become a smart city. One of the key elements of this concept is the deployment of embedded renewable power generation in combination with energy storage and demand side management.

“Ireland’s goal is to reach 40% and even higher renewable penetration after 2020,” said Harder.