Eaton launches Wadeville Microgrid with used car batteries for storage

The energy company Eaton has put into operation a microgrid that supplies its factory and its campus in Wadeville, Gauteng, with used lithium-ion electric car batteries as a storage component.

The batteries come from Nissan Leaf electric vehicles Europe, and have left about 4.5 years of operation. The batteries are converted and integrated into Eaton's xStorage energy storage system, which also controls the variability of the power sources.

The 375 kVA microgrid consists of two connections to the Ekurhuleni network of the state-owned power company Eskom, a 200 kW photovoltaic roof system, a backup generator and the storage system.

"The Microgrid is a demonstration of our commitment to developing sustainable energy access in the region and increasing our resilience, providing greater energy independence, supporting grid stability and reducing energy costs." Eaton Africa MD Seydou Kane said.

Eaton Chairman and CEO Craig Arnold who also addressed local Eaton employees before launch, spoke on the supporting role that the company wanted to play in communities and on the continent

The Microgrid Built by local staff (with the exception of the storage arrays that were used as (1965, 2009) "Microgrid technology is increasingly being seen as a solution to counter energy poverty," said Kane, adding that infrastructure aging and grid reliability are still ongoing Problems across the region and improved network reliability will improve business continuity, minimize business losses, and improve economic growth, "he explained.

Eaton Africa Operations Manager Eugén Ranft emphasized the importance of the storage system being used to manage the significant variability of the on-roof solar system and provide energy until the generator is turned on during a power interruption.

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Eaton Africa Senior Technician Nico Archer demonstrates the use of the xStorage system at the launch earlier this month and the setting of the parameters of the microgrid so that no more than 50kW of power was consumed. The rooftop solar system, which was available in the two demonstrations, between 40 kW and 180 kW, and the memory field made the difference to keep the total load during the day.

The company charges the storage system during low tariff periods, such as at night. The storage is at the heart of the system, which leverages Power Xpert's power management system and architecture to provide stability and resilience to the plant. The Power Xpert combines hardware, software and communication elements to unify different power components into a unified system.

The Wadeville plant employs 400 people and produces energy management solutions for industry and commerce.

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