Sustainable manufacturing energy

Friday 25th December 2015
Courtesy: Reemain

Energy consumption can be one of the most critical cost factors in manufacturing, especially for processes requiring a continuous and intensive use of energy in a world of renewable energy peaks and troughs.

IK4-IKERLAN, a Spanish technology centre based in the Basque Country, is busy engineering integrated tools for battery packs used in industry with innovative energy efficiency features. The tools can be used to put in place to control strategies aimed at releasing energy to the process when it is most needed, in step with  price peaks on the market.

The simple principle is  “Battery-based electric energy storage, or ESS, is a key feature in helping to integrate renewables into productive processes,”  explains (right) Bakartxo Egilegor, a researcher specialised in thermal processes.

“The problem we wanted to tackle was the intrinsic variability of renewable sources and the need to adapt energy consumption through intelligent shifts, reducing consumption when energy is at a higher price and thus offering a backup service to part of the factory power supply. This is why we talk of optimised control energy, which if implemented on a large scale, may offer significant reductions in costs”.

Work therefore concentrates on delivering a battery pack sizing tool, the function of which is to optimise the up-front cost of the electrical storage system. “To develop it’ explains Bakartxo - “several variables had to be taken into account, such as the application power profiles,  energy management strategy used by the factory, battery performance and also  ageing of the battery itself, for which specific models have been produced. 

“In the end the tool performs an economic profitability study of the system, and also considers application and cost aspects, as these are important constraints for the sizing of the battery pack”. A simplified version of the sizing tool is being integrated into a more complex software tool engineered by Irish company IES in the REEMAIN project.

Furthermore, IK4-Ikerlan has also designed and developed an innovative compact and scalable battery pack system based on lithium ion technology, which operates under thermal and energy management systems designed to ensure its safe operation and best performance.

“The management systems – says Bakartxo - have been developed bearing  in mind that the solution should be scalable to applications with higher energy demand. For example, the thermal management system is able to keep cells in the range of 20°C to 30°C to maximise their lifetime in environmental temperatures between -15°C and 45°C.”


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