Ultracapacitors unscramble the power grid on Eigg

Ultracapacitors unscramble the power grid on Eigg

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Its SkelGrid fast response ultracapacitor energy storage and uninterruptible power system will be used alongside a flywheel from Kinetic Traction in a demand response system for Eigg’s microgrid.

“We have been able to showcase the performance of the flywheel and ultracapacitors on the Isle of Eigg micro-grid, we believe this combination of flywheel and ultra-capacitor in a frequency regulation application is truly a world first,” said Andrew Goodwin, Chief Technical Officer of Kinetic Traction. “We have been working closely with Eigg Electric since the flywheel was successfully installed in 2014. The island offers a unique opportunity to showcase new technology because of the high penetration of renewable energy and remote location with no grid connection.  The microgrid is known worldwide for having a diverse mix of renewable energy and the addition of fast responding ultracapacitors and flywheels makes it the most advanced Islanded microgrid in the world.”  

The lead-acid batteries that provide backup for the microgrid suffer from whiplash effects and are sensitive to high depth of discharge, which  reduces the lifetime of the battery array and needs a larger array that is costly to replace.  The idea with the fast response units is to preserve the battery charge and avoid rapid charge-discharge cycles on the batteries by moderating the peaks and troughs of the power demand. This results in a much longer battery life as the power variations are handled by the ultracapacitors, making use of the fast response. This avoids a voltage drop proportional to demand intensity and this would result in a voltage variation on Eigg’s microgrid that could make client systems shutdown. 

The flywheels and ultracapacitors of Eigg work together in ensuring that all the peaks and troughs can be taken care of before the batteries start discharging. 

“We are delighted to be working with Kinetic Traction and Skeleton Technologies to implement graphene-based ultra-capacitor energy storage onto our advanced microgrid,” said Robert Wallace from Eigg Electric.

“We have been using the flywheel technology to support small dips in our power grid for many years already and the addition of ultra-capacitors is another improvement that will prolong the life of our batteries and increase the speed of response of the electricity grid during disturbances.

Skeleton has used the 3D graphene sponge technology in its ultracapacitors in the Skelgrid a backup system that can deliver power quickly. “Today, the Isle of Eigg boasts the first ever electricity grid running totally from renewable energy.  Many still think this is not possible, Eigg and its inhabitants are proving them wrong every single day,” said Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Skeleton.

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