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Press Release 2012

Home > Press Release > 2012 > April 17

Demonstrating Megawatt-Class Power Generation/Storage System at Yokohama Works

April 17, 2012
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.

  Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. has developed a megawatt-class electric power generation/storage system consisting of the world’s largest redox flow battery and Japan's largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) units. The Company is currently constructing a facility to test the system on the premises of the Yokohama Works (Sakae-ku Yokohama), planning to start the demonstration in July 2012.

  Amid the current severe energy supply condition, demand for distributed power systems using renewable energy is expected to grow in the future. To respond to the demand, Sumitomo Electric has been working on the research and development of technology for effective power conversion/control and generation/storage. As part of its development, the Company has started testing its micro smart-grid system at the Osaka Works last June. In this system, natural energy sources, including an in-house developed CPV system, and a small redox flow battery are DC-interconnected, and the energy management system (EMS) controls fluctuations in natural energy (ex. solar and wind power) and power consumption by relatively small electric loads (ex. lighting and home appliances). Consequently, the overall system enables the most reliable and efficient power control particularly from general consumers' standpoint.


  Recently, there has also been an increasing expectation for major energy consumers, such as plants and companies, to promote the use of renewable energy and energy saving measures. In view of this situation, the Company has developed a large-scale electric power generation/storage system consisting of a redox flow battery and CPV units. The system with megawatt-level capacity and output power will be tested on the premises of the Yokohama Works with the aim of accelerating the development and commercialization of large power systems and related facilities.


1. Outline of the megawatt-class power generation/storage system


  This system consists of 28 CPV units (maximum total power generation: 200 kW) as energy sources and one redox flow battery (capacity: 1 MW x 5 hours) as a storage facility of CPV-generated power and low-cost electricity provided by power companies during the night, while connected to external commercial power networks. Employing the EMS, this system aims to regulate the amount of electricity provided by power companies using the redox flow battery's charge/discharge control function. The system also aims at systematic use of solar power using the battery to balance the fluctuations in CPV power generation that is susceptible to the weather.


Megawatt-Class Power Generation/Storage System


2. System components


(1) Redox flow battery (1 MW x 5 hours)

  A redox flow battery is a storage battery that comprises a charging/discharging cell section and a tank full of metal ion electrolyte. It charges/discharges through oxidation-reduction of vanadium or other ions.

  The battery features long service life as the electrodes and electrolyte are not subject to deterioration even after repeated charge/discharge operations and is easily maintained as its uses the same electrolyte in both the cathode and anode. It also provides increased safety as it does not require any combustible substances and is operated at ambient temperatures. This battery is suitable for irregular, highly fluctuating charge/discharge operations, enabling accurate monitoring and control of stored electric power. Accordingly, it is an optimal storage battery for efficient use of renewable energy and surplus electricity supplied during the night.


(2) Concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) unit (maximum power generation of a total of 28 units: 200 kW)

  A CPV unit is a photovoltaic system incorporating small-size photovoltaic cells for energy conversion, directing high-intensity sunlight converged by a lens to photovoltaic cells. The power generation efficiency of the CPV panel is about twice that of silicon solar panels currently on the market as CPV cells are made from a special compound semiconductor material. Installed at an elevated position, concentrator panels provide usable space below them. The newly developed CPV unit offers 7.5 times greater output power (7.5 kW/unit), and yet the CPV panels are thinner and lighter than conventional ones.


(3) Energy management system (EMS)

  The EMS monitors the amounts of electric power generated by a total of 28 CPV units, provided via commercial power networks, stored in a redox flow battery, and consumed at an office or plant to manage the electric power flow. Obtained data is sent by optical communication networks to be collectively controlled at the central control server. This system will be used in the demonstration test held at the Yokohama to achieve optimal supply-demand balance (maximum demand control of 1 MW) and power demand control based on preset schedules.



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