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Are Microgrids Powered By On Site Green Energy The Next Big Thing?

Kategori : ELECTRICITY ENERGY NEWS, ENERGY AGENDA NEWS - Tarih : 04 June 2019

Given the spate of natural disasters and the impact that they have had on delivering electricity, microgrids that encircle specific campuses are gaining in popularity. They offer a Swiss-Army knife of possibilities — everything from greater reliability to cleaner power to economic development. Their future?

 

Consider IIVI Incorporated makes 3D sensing technologies and it wants to reduce its carbon footprint by installing a microgrid at its New Jersey manufacturing facility: It is using a localized grid because the electric utility is unable to supply the amount of power it needs to keep up with its growth.

That is also happening at hospitals, universities and technology companies — enterprises that can’t afford a loss of power for minutes much less several days. Those microgrids are designed to work in unison with distributed energy resources like solar panels and battery storage as well as fuel cells — the types of 21st Century technologies that are not just more reliable but potentially, much cleaner. 

As for IIVI Incorporated, Bloom Energy built it a 2.5 megawatt power system in nine months. Its solid oxide fuel cell technology takes natural gas or a biogas and converts it into electricity. And the company says that its capacity factor — actual output in relation to its nameplate capacity — is 90% compared to about 25% for solar energy and 40% for wind power.

“We are converting the chemical energy from methane in a single step to electricity,” says Asim Hussain, vice president of commercial strategy for Bloom, in an interview. “When you do it in a single step, it is far more efficient. This is not a traditional combustion system. We emit a lot less CO2 and compared to the U.S. grid mix of energy resources, we reduce emissions by 50%.”

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