Utility and National Lab to Develop Battery Storage System

The electric utility in Detroit will work the U.S. Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratory to test a prototype for a transportable Advanced Battery Energy Storage System (ABESS).

DETROIT, Michigan – Detroit Edison, the principal subsidiary of DTE Energy Co., says the device has the potential to improve reliability for customers and meet increasing demand for high-quality, low-cost electricity. “Utilities will need to consider opportunities to modify their distributed resources as well as their transmission and distribution systems,” says vice president Ron May. “The DOE has recognized the potential for utility energy storage and supports programs to develop advanced battery systems.” Detroit Edison will provide the electric utility distribution circuit to test the ABESS as a load leveling and power quality device. In operation, the battery system will be discharged during the day and charged at night. The ABESS consists of a 200 kW zinc-bromine battery that can store 400 kWh. The unit is manufactured by ZBB Technologies of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and includes a power conditioning system manufactured by Inverpower Controls of Burlington, Ontario. ABESS can improve management of the electrical grid by charging when energy costs are low, and feeding energy to the grid whenever there is a peak load. The power conditioning system contains an inverter that changes power from AC to DC and back again, while controlling the battery charge and discharge and providing voltage stability. The zinc-bromine battery has attractive advantages for utility storage applications because it has up to four times the energy storage capacity compared to lead acid batteries. It is constructed of plastic, it requires less space and it can be completely discharged without damage. The best application is a two to six-hour discharge. The prototype is also very mobile, and the ABESS team designed the system to be housed on a trailer of 40-by-8 feet, so one battery system can be used in multiple areas. Detroit Edison is an investor-owned electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in southeastern Michigan. DTE Energy will merge with Michigan Consolidated Gas, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan, and the proposed company would be the largest energy utility in the state.

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