Defining and implementing adequate operation and maintenance (O&M) tasks, carried out by a qualified professional team with access to the best tools on the market and all this, supported by an experienced company such as E22, are key factors to guarantee the maximum performance of energy storage systems during the useful life of a project.
Ensuring the success of these O&M operations means discovering the formula to apply the knowledge accumulated from years of experience in electrochemical, thermal and hydraulic processes (Flow Batteries), in order to perform the correct or incorrect operation of the plant. But there are other factors that link the control, operation and maintenance process with achieving optimum performance results.
One of the key factors is to have a plant data acquisition system designed with the philosophy of leveraging technology to allow access to and monitoring of information from anywhere in the world. Currently, it is enough to have an internet connection and an internal telecommunications infrastructure in the storage plant to receive and send data without the need for personnel to perform this task in person. Automation also allows the information to be stored in a database for subsequent studies.
In a battery system, there are several monitoring levels to collect the necessary information to optimize its performance. Among them, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) stands out, which is responsible for collecting information from the entire microgrid, including that provided by subsystems such as the EMS (Energy Management System), BMS (Battery Management System), PCS (Power Control System), and LEMS (Local Energy Management System). This system provides the end user with all the information in a single Human Machine Interface (HMI), which can be designed according to the customer’s needs and requirements.
At Energy Storage Solutions (E22), we have a highly specialized technical team with many years of accumulated experience in the sector, trained to design, implement, commission and provide assistance in the operation and maintenance stage of any of these subsystems. Thus, it is a privilege to have a human capital capable of attending to any incident across all of these monitoring and control systems, developed internally at our facilities and with batteries that we manufacture.
Another essential factor for the optimum control and maintenance of electrochemical storage facilities is to provide the plant with a system for processing and interpreting data, issuing reports and managing alarms, both for the technical teams in charge and for customers. At this point, the key is to define precisely what data are needed depending on the reports to be obtained, since the latter will define the cascade of instrumentation systems to be implemented, from the central SCADA to the process level. There is no point in collecting numerous variables if they cannot be interpreted later, or vice versa.
Although technology allows the automation of most operation and maintenance processes, it is essential to have local personnel or specialized subcontractors with the capacity to perform work in the facility itself in the shortest possible time in order to minimize downtime of the asset. These teams undertake predictive maintenance tasks (repairs which are carried out before the asset fails based on the data provided by the monitoring system), preventive maintenance (action is taken on an element periodically to avoid a failure), and corrective maintenance (action is taken on an element once a failure has occurred).
All these processes at the plant level must be carried out according to previously established procedures depending on the particularities of each installation and always executed by personnel with the appropriate training.
Another influencing factor in an optimal O&M process is the establishment of an equipment guarantee management system that allows easy access to information about the equipment to facilitate corrective interventions in the installation and to control the age of the components. Also important, is having warehouses for spare parts and tools in the park itself or in a nearby location to optimize times in the event of breakdowns.
Taking out the necessary insurance policies to cover possible risks is another pillar in the maintenance of an energy storage facility. In this case, a distinction must be made between insurance policies held by the owner of the facility, such as liability insurance for any accident that might be caused to a third party by the mere existence of the facility or property damage (fire, theft, natural catastrophes and even loss of production in the event of prolonged breakdown), and insurance that must be taken out by the company responsible for O&M, such as liability insurance for damage caused by the work carried out by the operation.
In parallel with the progress achieved in all these processes, E22 works every day to find new methods to make the O&M service more efficient, such as 24-hour assistance using tools based on artificial intelligence (AI).