US Marine Corp Showcases Quantum Energy Storage’s Novel Kinetic Energy Storage System for Microgrids
Long duration kinetic energy storage proves its worth at Marine Base
In 2013, the US Marine Corp was awarded $1.7 million from the California Energy Commission for a microgrid demonstration project. Quantum Energy Storage, with its advanced kinetic energy storage system, provides the critical energy storage asset to enable multiple microgrid applications.
The project, which is built upon CleanSpark’s FractalGrid platform, creates a network of smaller microgrids, that services an area of the base including military personnel housing, parking garage lighting, elevators, and a server room, within a larger microgrid that covers the base and can island from the utility grid. Distributed assets include solar PV, diesel generators, batteries and the first test of the innovative kinetic energy storage technology from Quantum Energy Storage.
"This project will evaluate new and emerging technologies in a real-world environment while providing reliable and secure energy to the military base," Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller said at the time of the funding in 2013.
The military base microgrid is testing Quantum Energy’s 60-kilowatt, 120-kilowatt-hour kinetic energy storage system. The system’s long lifetime design, over 50,000 cycles without degradation, can provide storage benefits for over 25 years. This is far longer than battery systems, which degrade over time. In addition, Quantum Energy’s technology encompasses 100% recyclable materials, which is an added benefit compared to batteries that use hazardous chemicals.
Quantum’s kinetic energy storage system is accompanied by its proprietary software platform that monitors and controls the system. In addition, the platform can readily be integrated with other distributed energy resources, including renewable generation from photovoltaic, wind, and tidal sources, and can also control energy flow to and from the grid.
A storage system for all applications
Most kinetic energy storage systems are in the business of providing grid services to utilities on the multi-megawatt scale, primarily frequency regulation, but Quantum Energy sees many other applications for its technology.
For developing countries, Quantum Energy provides its system as backup power during rolling blackouts, and also provides voltage support. It may not necessarily supplant diesel backup, but rather reduce the reliance on diesel as much as 40%.
“Storage has gained increasing traction as isolated communities move to diversify away from conventional generation and reduce costs associated with fuel price uncertainty and transportation logistics,” says Omar Saadeh, senior analyst with GTM Research and author of the recent report, North American Microgrids 2015: Advancing Beyond Local Energy Optimization.
Quantum Energy has been testing its ability to provide long-term backup power at the military base, providing an average of 10 hours of backup power overnight for the microgrid. During the day, it provides power for such things as elevators that draws substantial power, to reduce peaks to its energy system. The storage technology can also provide grid balancing and power factor correction in future applications. For places like islands with high power prices (close to $0.40 cents per kWh), the payback for Quantum Energy’s system is about three to five years when replacing diesel generators.
Quantum Energy Storage Corporation is led by Tien Nguyen, formerly of Qualcomm, CommASIC, and most recently, On-Ramp Wireless. Dr. Hari Dharan, formerly of Ford Motor Company, Space Systems Loral, and a University of California, Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering Professor, is the Chief Technology Officer.