650MW renewable storage pilot faces Golmud climate extremes

Luneng Haixi Multi-mixed Energy Demonstration Project (

Luneng Haixi Multi-mixed Energy Demonstration Project

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL), a China-based manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, has delivered battery storage for China’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS) multi-energy power station as part of the Luneng Haixi Multi-mixed Energy Demonstration Project, the first of its kind in China to integrate wind (400MW), photovoltaic (200MW) and concentrated solar power (50MW) with BESS (100MWh) into one unified system and connect it to the grid.

The plant coordinates three different renewable energy sources, with fluctuating and unstable sources of energy, and is required to respond consistently to fluctuating demand, making its batteries and battery management system crucial to the reliability of the system. CATL, the exclusive battery supplier for the project, overcome the requirements during product design and development stage and took  17 days to test and commission the BESS to the grid.

Huang Shilin, Vice Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of CATL, said, “The station is the first of its kind – a multi-functional, centralised power plant integrated with an electrochemical energy storage system. Its technical reliability and affordability will promote further global deployment of different renewable energy applications.”

The first priority when building an energy storage station is safety, according to CATL. “By selecting reliable materials, CATL minimised the possibility of failure incidents and explosions,” says the company. “Using a three-layer relay protection system, CATL further assures performance of the battery system from damages caused by over-charging/discharging, over-current, mitigate over and under temperature working conditions,” it says.

One of the key challenges of battery storage in extreme climates is thermal management. The Luneng Haixi station is situated in Golmud, Qinghai Province, where the temperature varies from -33.6 to 35.5 degrees Celsius. To ensure 15 years of battery performance, CATL deployed a cooling system using air flow to maintain a consistent cabinet temperature. A battery management unit kicks-in the battery cooling system as soon as it detects thermal concerns, while pre-stored electricity protects the battery from capacity loss or lithium plating caused by charging in cold temperatures.

PV solar plant dotted around Golmud

In addition, the plant has tough structural requirements, as Golmud lies in an active seismic zone, which calls for vibration and shock absorption. CATL carried out rigorous testing and simulation to prove its batteries are able to withstand a potential earthquake of magnitude 8.

According to Dr. Hui Dong, Chief Scientist of China Electric Power Research Institute, the plant is “the world’s first and China’s largest electromechanical energy storage station with virtual synchronous generator.” The plant is expected to generate around 126.25GWh annually, replacing 401,500 tonnes of coal generated electricity.

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