Hybrid Microgrid: Reducing Diesel

Hybrid Microgrids

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In many remote microgrid applications, a diesel genset is the go-to solution to provide continuous power. Generators operate most efficiently near their maximum output, but their efficiency decreases, and fuel use per kWh increases, as
the load drops. In situations where the genset is oversized relative to the average load, often because peak demand is much higher than the average demand, the generator will frequently operate at sub-optimal efficiencies, burning unnecessary diesel fuel.

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The world’s economies are electrifying at an impressive rate. Between 2000 and 2008, the world electricity produced per capita has increased by over 30% percent. Much of this electricity, particularly in developing economies, has traditionally come from generators burning diesel fuel. This trend is beginning to change, however, as electricity users shift away from diesel and towards renewable energy. In addition to the environmental benefits of renewable power sources, recent cost- downs in solar panels and other renewable system components are further encouraging this trend. Hybrid microgrid systems that combine diesel generators with solar photovoltaic generation and batteries are a leading solution in this space because they can greatly reduce diesel costs, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), and the environmental impact of energy generation.

Aquion Energy’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries are designed to meet the needs of this growing energy demand. These safe, reliable, and cost-effective batteries are optimal for stationary, long duration, daily cycling microgrid applications. In a microgrid, energy storage provides two main benefits. First, storage increases the amount of solar energy that can be used in the system. Without storage, the system can only use solar when the sun is available. Secondly, storage increases the efficiency of diesel gensets by allowing them to run at peak output, rather than simply following the load. Taken together, storage reduces the fuel use of both traditional stand-alone genset systems and hybrid solar/diesel systems.

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