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Comment Sustainability

Oilon to supply heat pumps for China’s largest battery farm

By Gerald Ondrey |

Oilon Group Oy (Lahti, Finland) is to supply industrial heat pumps for a battery farm in Dalian, North-Eastern China. The electricity storage facility is currently under construction and will go online during 2021. Oilon’s heat pump system will be used to cool the batteries of the facility and feed their waste heat into the city’s district heating network.

“It is exciting to be involved in this giant project that will reduce local CO2 emissions and help to integrate more renewable energy. We expect strong growth in China and international heat-pump markets, says Ville Pekkola, CEO of Oilon China.

The battery farm will be the largest in China and one of the largest in the world. Its peak power capacity is 200 MW and electricity storage capacity 800 MWh. It will serve as a fast-reacting reserve capacity for wind power. In practice, this means that electricity from the batteries can be extracted when there is no wind. Adding this kind of flexibility to the grid will help integrate more wind energy. 

The battery farm will also curtail the peaking power requirements in the area by about eight percent. In China, peaking power is typically produced with fossil fuels, hence, reducing it is an efficient way to cut CO2 emissions.

Oilon will deliver the heat pump system to Dalian Henliu Energy Storage Power Station Company Ltd. It includes eight containerized Oilon ChillHeat P-series high-temperature heat pumps. The system will take care of cooling the large vanadium batteries of the storage facility. In addition, they will produce district heating for Dalian Thermal Group, the local district heating company.

The delivery will be a continuation to the first phase, where Oilon was selected as the heat pump supplier. The criteria included efficiency and reliability. Oilon’s ChillHeat technology, when used for both district heating and cooling, can reach an overall efficiency (COPtot) of 10.

Oilon’s heat pumps are used in numerous projects both in Finland and internationally. They are particularly suitable for producing district heating due to their capability to produce temperatures as high as 120°C.

“China’s largest battery farm is a great example of how China’s government is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060. Battery farms bring much-needed flexibility to the Chinese power grid where the capacity of variable wind and solar energy is growing rapidly. Storing electricity is key to increasing clean energy overall. Similar battery farms will be needed everywhere. This means an immense potential for heat pumps,” Pekkola says.

The Dalian battery farm consists of large vanadium redox-flow batteries. The energy storage capability is based on ion reactions of the electrolyte solution flowing inside the batteries. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, vanadium batteries are free of fire safety issues and are also long-lived. They can be charged more than 20 000 times without reducing the storage capacity, and they allow charging and discharging at the same time.

Vanadium batteries are being used increasingly in grid-connected energy storage facilities around the world. The Dalian battery farm is a demonstration project approved by the Chinese government to test the functionality of vanadium batteries connected to the power grid.

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