WEG is the supplier of the complete Utility Scale Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage System for the green hydrogen generation study plant Furnas, installed at the Itumbiara Hydroelectric Power Plant, stated of Goiás and Minas Gerais. 

Counting on an installed capacity of 300kW and 600kWh, BESS (Battery Energy Storage System) is part of the Research and Development (R&D) Project, regulated by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), which will test the storage of seasonal and intermittent energies and their interaction with the National Interconnected System (SIN). 

Named “Development of synergy between hydroelectric and solar sources with seasonal and intermittent energy storage in hydrogen and electrochemical systems – SHSBH2”, this R&D project is the result of a partnership between Furnas and the company Base Energia Sustentável, associated with Unesp (State University of São Paulo); Unicamp (University of Campinas); Senai (National Service for Industrial Learning); Brandenburg University (Germany) – academic institution with experience in hydrogen storage; and PV Solar, a partner company experienced in implementing photovoltaic systems. 

“Participating in a pioneering green hydrogen generation project is a great opportunity to show our expertise to meet the growing market of energy storage by batteries, also in Brazil”, says Manfred Peter Johann, WEG Automation Business Unit Managing Director.

About the hydrogen generation project in Itumbiara: 

The first stage consisted of installing a photovoltaic plant with a capacity to produce 1000 kWp (peak kilowatts, a power unit associated to photovoltaic energy). From this total amount, 200 kWp will come from floating solar plates on the reservoir and 800 kWp from solar plates installed on the ground. Itumbiara HPP was chosen to be the location for the project due to the good rates for solar generation and for allowing an adequate storage reservoir for the installation of floating photovoltaic panels. 

The energy generated by the photovoltaic system feeds an electrolyser that produces hydrogen from a physical-chemical process with water. The hydrogen is then stored in the form of gas, in a tank with a capacity of 900 cubic meters at 27 bar, installed in the plant. For conversion of chemical energy contained in hydrogen into electrical energy a fuel cell is used. The result of the conversion is electricity and water steam. 

In addition to hydrogen, the project also allows research of electrochemical storage into lithium batteries. Used in this project to support the startup of the hydrogen plant and provide energy reserve (backup) for eventual failures, lithium batteries also ensure fast energy supply during load fluctuations. 

Hydrogen storage usually provides longer performance time, but efficiency is still reduced – around 35%, against 97% for batteries. This occurs due to the losses in electrolysis and conversion into electricity. Tests in Itumbiara will evaluate the electrolyser technology, the maintenance cost, the equipment lifetime, the efficiency losses resulting from system wear, the quality of stored energy and the response time when it is interacted with the National Interconnected System, among other aspects. These analyzes can provide essential information for the development of large projects. FURNAS is a pioneer about these studies. 

The energy will be integrated into the National Interconnected System (SIN) through the substation installed at Itumbiara HPP and will be used for supporting hydroelectric power services, such as lighting, ventilation and others.