This project had a goal of demonstrating and assessing the energy security, energy efficiency and reliability benefits realized from the integration of a 1 Mega Volt Amp (MVA), 250kW, 576 kWh, Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at a US Department of Defense (DoD) base of operations. This BESS unit was based upon the Sodium Metal Halide technology which was being produced in Schenectady, NY by the General Electric Company.
The objectives of the demonstration program were:
The team lead by PDE Total Energy Solutions (PDE), designed, built, and tested the BESS at the Dynapower facility in Burlington, VT. The installation of the BESS unit at the Marine Corp Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) base was delayed several times due to panel failures in the solar field and other infrastructure upgrade projects, some of which also required utility interconnection agreements.
Eventually a mutual decision was made by ESTCP, MCAGCC and PDE to pre-maturely terminate this project before the final demonstration, due to:
The key technology demonstrated was the Sodium Metal-Halide battery system, which was marketed by GE as the Durathon™ product line. This battery technology featured robust packaging that was insensitive to ambient temperatures, it had benign failure modes, and long cycle life. The major limitation on the technology was the pricing and performance was not competitive with recent developments in Lithium-ion based solutions. There were only two manufactures of the Sodium Metal-Halide (also known as Sodium-Nickel Chloride).
The performance of the system was never evaluated at the DoD base, but the technology was tested at the Dynapower facility in Burlington, VT before shipment to base. Most of the operating modes were verified prior to shipment to the MCAGCC.
The effectiveness of the BESS to meet the objectives are summarized here.
No transition or future implementation of the technology will occur due to GE no longer supporting the battery technology.
The inverter was specifically designed for the Durathon prototype battery used on this project and it has been determined the cost to reconfigure the unit is more costly than procuring a new unit. The inverter will be removed from site and trucked to a government facility for scrapping or redeployment.
The Durathon battery will also be removed from site and trucked to a government facility. It was determined that the batteries were not warranted, nor did support from GE existing to energize the battery. It is in PDE's opinion the batteries should be recycled due to lack of appropriate personnel who need to perform pre-energization safety checks and procedures.
The Microgrid controller GE was to integrate to the U90 has also been abandoned in lieu of a new control system, thus all control equipment onsite will be turned over to the base personnel.
It should be noted that when installing experimental equipment on an active base the following challenges were encountered: