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Connected Energy wins first order for its second-life BESS


The Hold, a flagship heritage facility for Suffolk which is due to open later this year on the University of Suffolk’s Ipswich Campus, will house the Council’s archive collection and feature a low carbon energy system of which Connected Energy’s E-STOR energy storage system will be a key part. The E-STOR will help optimise energy use and peak loads across a system including PV, EV chargers and critical HVAC, designed to create a controlled climate for the archived materials.

The new 300kW/360kWh E-STOR system includes a range of enhancements building on learning from the systems Connected Energy has installed over the last five years. “Leading the charge on the use of second life batteries meant we had to start developing systems based on a relatively small data set”, commented Connected Energy CEO, Matthew Lumsden. “But having run several systems through various duty cycles over the last few years we are now able to further optimise how the batteries are operated,” he continued.

The new 300kW/360kWh containerised systems, which include 24 second life Renault Kangoo batteries, have benefitted from collaborative support from Renault and Hitachi ABB Power Grids to increase efficiencies on both the power and capacity sides of the system.

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By bringing together a combination of Renault’s battery performance modelling, system performance data and extensive CFD analysis, Connected Energy has been able to significantly reduce the cost of cooling the system whilst at the same time increasing the efficiency and control. This has also resulted in new packaging which provides additional space to facilitate maintenance and house some of Connected Energy’s niche functionality like EV charger integration.

“Second life systems can have different objectives,” commented Lumsden, “the cost of the batteries is lower than for new lithium-ion systems, so the degradation and overall cycle cost is lower. This means that duty cycles that are uneconomic for new systems can be viable for second life systems. The data-based design that has now been undertaken means we can more accurately optimise how the batteries are used within any duty cycle and better manage efficiencies and degradation.”

Connected Energy’s recently announced large 14.4MWh system included in the SmartHubs project will enable it to accumulate more data from around 1000 batteries and enable further system optimisation across its portfolio.

I&C customers are Connected Energy’s target market for the new 300kW/360kWh system, and The Hold project is a good example of how continuing changes in the regulatory and market environments are causing I&C customers’ requirements to vary. The new generation of E-STOR is also designed to facilitate easier integration with on-site systems.

Suffolk County Council is a strategic partner in the Suffolk Sustainability Institute and will work with both the University of Suffolk and Connected Energy to help deliver common objectives in clean technology, energy efficiency, technology innovation and decarbonisation.

This work builds on Suffolk County Council’s own knowledge base on the operation of energy storage systems across its estate. It is also a significant move in driving down our carbon emissions, as the council aims to lead by example and be a net zero organisation by 2030, following our climate emergency declaration in 2019.

Cllr Paul West, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Heritage at Suffolk County Council

As part of The Hold project Connected Energy will be working with the University of Suffolk on a knowledge exchange partnership which will support research and innovation activities across both organisations. The collaboration will allow access to the battery storage system for teaching and research purposes as well as projects to translate University science into practice.

Justine Oakes, the University of Suffolk Sustainability Manager and Research and Business Lead for the Suffolk Sustainability Institute (SSI) stated, “this on-going partnership will provide compelling research and curriculum engagement opportunities; supporting pragmatic academic study in smart tech renewables and a deeper understanding of the role innovative technologies have to play in addressing the energy transition pathway to zero carbon through energy storage infrastructure. We are delighted to be collaborating with Connected Energy and Suffolk County Council in this living laboratory research space.”

The Hold is expected to attract thousands of visitors each year, seeking to research local history, find out about their families, or to take part in events and activities. The £20m project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Suffolk County Council, and the University of Suffolk, with the generous support of several other organisations and charities. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Hold will now have a phased opening later this year.

Connected Energy is leading the recently announced SmartHubs consortium in West Sussex. SmartHubs will create and demonstrate an innovative low-carbon energy system of the future in. It will introduce new ways of generating and storing low-carbon heat, electricity and energy for transport and demonstrate how these can be integrated to balance energy supply and demand and deliver cost and carbon benefits for project partners, including businesses and residents.

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