Tuesday, 20 February 2018 11:49

Redflow ‘simplifies’ design of large-scale batteries

By
Simon Hackett, Redflow Simon Hackett, Redflow

Australian-listed battery company Redflow has redesigned its Large Scale Battery reference platform to incorporate plug-and-play Victron battery inverter/chargers.

Redflow (ASX:RFX) says the simplified redesign makes it easier for installers to deploy its batteries in large-scale energy storage systems.

The first redesigned LSB is now deployed at the Base64 office of company founder and tech entrepreneur Simon Hackett.

The design incorporates six 12-kilowatt Victron Quattro 48/15000 battery inverter/chargers with 45 Redflow ZBM2 batteries and Redflow says that by implementing the improved design, the Base64 LSB will deliver an energy storage capacity of 450 kilowatt-hours.

The LSB Reference Platform is a container-sized deployment of Redflow batteries, which can operate as a single ‘virtual” battery to assist Redflow system integrators with designing and deploying larger energy storage systems.

Redflow  says Base64 installed its original LSB in 2016, running it for about a year before undertaking the redesign process in conjunction with Redflow.

The redesigned LSB is installed at the back of Base64’s western carpark, beneath a tree-like mounting system that "floats" a 50 kilowatt peak array of solar panels above staff and visitor cars. Base64 has an additional 20kWp of solar panels installed elsewhere in the precinct.

Base64 managing director Simon Hackett, who is a non-executive director of Redflow, described the Base64 energy system as a “fantastic learning experience”. “The system is built around a Redflow ZBM2 LSB battery system, which is charged by energy harvested from our solar array.”

“Although we initially purchased a large industrial AC inverter with the LSB, it lacked the monitoring, logging or control systems to let it interact with our on-site solar. While we could charge and discharge our large battery ‘manually’, we couldn’t integrate it with the building, without an expensive consulting project to develop a bespoke third-party control system.”

Hackett said the solution appeared after he gained deep experience using Victron Energy inverter/charger systems. “All of the energy system control, management and data logging technology we needed comes ‘out of the box’ with the Victron Energy CCGX controller unit,” he said.

“Industrial scale systems are still in the dark ages in terms of the stuff that Victron Energy has ‘nailed’. Victron supplies great, easy to use, easy to understand, effective and powerful out-of-the-box energy system control software and hardware. It also comes with an excellent integrated web-accessible portal for remote data logging, analysis and remote site system control.

“So, we pulled the LSB apart and rebuilt it using Victron Energy products and control systems to deliver a fantastic operational result, with optimal use of the solar energy to drive the building, charge the batteries, and support the building load at night — just like at home, but on a large scale — without facing a huge software development cost for just the old proprietary inverter system.

“It’s very satisfying to run an office in the middle of a major city that typically uses very little grid energy, is resilient to grid faults, and even exports solar energy to the grid.

“Using Victron plug-and-play systems has turned out far cheaper and better than bespoke software would have. It also creates a signature example of a large-scale Victron Energy deployment running a substantial multi-building site. I hope this redesigned LSB inspires members of the global Victron Energy installation community to consider using Redflow battery technology at this sort of scale.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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