Lithium power packs have advanced dramatically in recent years.
The power storage plants are part of strategic plans to improve the resilience and security of the electricity supply used to support the national grid. Following a successful 10MW pilot plant in Ireland commissioned in 2016, the design was scaled up to 60MW and is being rolled out in three locations in England, all cooled by CIAT's high efficiency packaged heat pump systems.
Effective cooling of the batteries is critical during charging and discharging to maintain efficiency, optimum operation and to prolong working life. The lithium power plants are fitted with a bespoke air connection system to ensure rapid and efficient coupling between the units and the power station air intakes on site. The facilities will each include 12 CIAT Vectios reversible heat pump packaged air conditioning units, model IPJ-0090, with a combined cooling capacity of 340kW.
The compact CIAT air-to-air horizontal-design systems supply large volumes of cool air within a consistent temperature and humidity range. Treated air is ducted into the power station’s cold aisle at a temperature of 17.3 degrees Celsius and 96 percent relative humidity (RH), mixing with present latent air before being drawn over the batteries by on-board fans, before being returned to the air conditioning units at 29 degrees Celsius and 50 percent RH.
CIAT UK worked with Belfast-based distributor Aircon Sales and Service and the Balance of Plant contractor Scotts Electrical Services to ensure the precise cooling needs of the project were met.
Ian McFerran, managing director, Aircon Sales and Service, said: “The battery-based power stations are a revolutionary approach to providing stability and resilience to the national grid. For example, in the event of a lightning strike or cable fault, they connect to the grid in milliseconds to ensure a stable supply. They also provide the essential capacity to store power generated from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, until it is needed.”
Gordon Nixon, managing director, Scotts Electrical Services, said: “Maintaining the batteries within their design parameters is vital to ensure they work efficiently and effectively throughout their design life cycle. The CIAT Vectios units are based on high quality engineering with an efficient design using reliable cooling technology, which provides an ideal solution for our critical application.”