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What Is An Energy Storage System Made Up Of?

What Is An Energy Storage System Made Up Of?

By Vanessa Peng

Energy storage systems is gaining traction in the sustainable movement and more companies are taking notice. Wood Mackenzie’s US Energy Storage Monitor report found 476 megawatts of storage were deployed in Quarter 3 of 2020, which was an increase of 240% from Quarter 2 of 2020.

Energy storage is a method of saving energy for later use, i.e. during peak times. Some forms of energy storage you may have heard about include thermal energy storage, flywheel energy storage, and the one you’ve probably heard about the most – battery storage, the focus of this article.

Energy storage systems are most commonly paired with solar energy. Solar is the most readily available source for battery storage, other sources include wind, pumped hydro, among other renewable sources. Having energy storage technology on a site allows you to save money on electricity and lowers your dependence on the power grid.

While most people may have heard of energy storage, not many know what a system is made up of. Let’s delve deeper into the components of a battery energy storage system.

These are the components you’ll normally see:

  • The Battery
  • The Battery Management System (BMS)
  • The Power Conditioning System (PCS) or Hybrid Converter
  • The Energy Management System (EMS)

The Battery

The battery consists of individual battery cells that are connected together. The connected cells are then assembled into a tray. Oftentimes, the trays are stacked together to form a battery rack.

The battery cells are put together in a frame to form a module. The modules are formed into a tray, which is packaged with its own Battery Management System (BMS). Trays are sometimes combined to form battery racks.

Most energy storage systems use lithium ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries are rechargeable. Each battery cell houses a positive and negative terminal.  When a battery is connected to a charger, the lithium ions move in the opposite direction toward the negative terminal, restoring the battery. When the lithium loses electrons in the negative terminal, the batteries are being used.

The Battery Management System (BMS)

The job of the BMS is to protect the battery from damage, it regulates the cells so they operate within the proper ranges for its state of charge, voltage, current, and temperature. The BMS continuously monitors individual battery cells, battery modules, and racks. It records vital information, like internal cell temperatures. It may trigger the HVAC system to ensure the battery is at its optimal temperature. The BMS prevents catastrophic events like fires and explosions. 

The Power Conditioning System (PCS)

The Power Conditioning System (PCS) acts as an inverter to produce electricity that can be used in buildings. You may be familiar with solar PV inverters. The PCS is the same concept except solar PV inverters can only operate in one direction, while the PCS can operate in two directions. That means power can flow from DC to AC or vice-versa. The PCS controls the flow of energy, but also optimizes the performance of the system. 

The Energy Management System (EMS)

The Energy Management System (EMS) monitors the energy storage system’s dispatch activity. The EMS controls how and when to dispatch based on factors like demand-charge management or energy arbitrage. The EMS knows when the system can be used most effectively to meet economic concerns. 

The EMS collects all the performance data of the energy storage system. This is usually where users can access performance information regarding their system.

To learn how a battery system can benefit your business and how battery technology works!

An energy storage solution is a very robust and hardworking machine. Through its various parts it is able to store renewable energy for later use. A battery storage system gives businesses the opportunity to be less reliant on their utility provider and the electric grid. Not only that, facilities will add peak shaving, the security of emergency backup power, and be able to decrease their on-peak kW demand costs.

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