In recent years, the price of electricity and gas in the UK has risen enormously. Households and public institutions are therefore looking for ways to optimize their consumption. Wirral Metropolitan College near Liverpool is one such institution. The college started out as a small art school 160 years ago and now has over 10,000 students per year across four campuses in Wirral.
Like most educational institutions, Wirral Metropolitan College mainly uses energy for heating, hot water provision, and lighting. The college is open 40 weeks ayear from 7 am to 11 pm, but electricity consumption fluctuates greatly over the course of each term.
Consumption is lower in the summer not only because of the outside temperatures, but also because the college is used much less during the holidays, meaning that electricity and heat demand is much lower than in the cold winter months.
To cut heating and electricity costs, the college installed two gaspowered combined heat and power plants (CHP) each rated 65 kW. One of the plants providesheat and electricity around the clock, while the other only runs in winter to meet the increased heating and electricity needs during the day when the students are inclass.
Since the amount of electricity and heat generated during a day does not always meet demand, storage solutions were needed to absorb excess energy and release it again later, aligning consumption and supply more closely with one another. In addition to a thermal phase-change storage unit for excess heat, the college was also looking for a reliable electric battery storage system.
Requirements for an electrical storage solution were:
Scotia Energy, a specialist installer, convinced the college to opt for the top- quality lithium-ion battery storage systems produced by German company TESVOLT and installed the high-voltage TS HV 70 system with an energy capacity of 134.4 kWh and an output of 60 kW in the basement of the college’s Twelve Quays campus. The TESVOLT system has been running alongside the phase change battery ever since, storing energy at times when demand is low and then releasing this excess energy when demand is high.
In addition to the enormous savings in heating and electricity costs (estimated at £ 55,000 per year once the initial investment has been recouped after 6 years), the college and the region also benefit from the storage system in other ways:
• The new system significantly reduces maintenance costs. TESVOLT storage systems have an above-average lifespan of up to 30 years due to their advanced battery management system, with a depth of discharge of 100 % and only 5 W of self-consumption.
• As part of a training programme, STEM students can use the monitoring and control system to access stored or realtime data on plant performance, offering them practical insights into the operation of CHPs and storage systems.
• The system allows its owner to offer profitable grid services by feeding surplus electricity into the grid. TESVOLT battery systems are ideally suited for this as they are not only powerful but also 1C capable, which means that they can be fully charged or discharged in one hour if suitably configured. They can therefore be used to help run powerful equipment or responsively stabilize the public grid.
While the acquisition costs have been significant, in the long run this campus will be able to reduce its energy consumption, CO2 emissions and costs enormously – we expect savings of more than 55,000 pounds per year after a payback period of about 6 years. That‘s remarkable!
George Norrie, Technical Director at Scotia Energy