Written by Roy Gerding on 06 November 2018

Datawatt has a lot of knowledge and experience in the energy market, which is why Ecovat has asked us as a partner to think and work on a project for thermal energy storage. Thermal energy is simply explained “stored heat”

For this project we have developed the control cabinet for the control system and delivered Stream webscada for the presentation and control of the process.

An overview of the process for storage of thermal energy

Energy storage

Because water conducts heat, heat can be stored in water. In order to store heat on a large scale, Ecovat has built a large subterranean tank filled with water. The construction of the Ecovat is based on the container-in-container principle, consisting of a concrete outer tank containing a highly insulated inner tank. By means of heat exchangers on the wall, heat can be extracted from or added to the tank. Heat inside the tank can be brought to various temperatures.

Storage of energy is still the missing link in the transition to a 100% renewable energy system. By storing the sustainably generated energy surplus and using it in times of scarcity, renewable energy is used in an optimal way.

The expertise of Datawatt in this area is built up through our membership in the steering committee of Gridstor DNV-G, an organization with the goal to assist stakeholders with sustainable and safe energy storage.

Some examples of other projects concerning the storage of energy are the Windpark Giessenwind project and the rapid charging station (references in Dutch). In these projects the energy is stored in batteries built into containers. For these containers we have, among other things, designed the measuring and control system, so the energy is used or stored at the right place and at the right time.

Control cabinet

We have designed a custom-made control cabinet. Based on a design and construct assignment, Gerrit Janssen drew the cabinet with software from E-plan and Edwin Berger worked on the assembly. System architect Etienne Hilgen and project & lead system engineer Ronald Robbertson wrote the PLC programming and put the installation into operation.

Tailor-made for every situation

The Ecovat control software works on the basis of control and optimization algorithms, by means of which all energy currents in an Ecovat micro grid are optimally controlled. The definition of ‘optimal’ differs per situation. That is why the control software is tailored to each different situation.

The control cabinet is tailor-made

Meanwhile Ecovat has passed the system integration test for the technical installations and the management system. This test included the control cabinet and the webscada Stream solution, that we delivered.

Various business situations were simulated and the management of the technical installations is extensively tested. Joost Verhagen, manager operations at Ecovat, explains: “the integral technical chain test went very smoothly, this gives us confidence for other projects in the future.” Etienne Hilgen, closely involved in the project, completes the story: “The messages are sent between the different interfaces and are visible in the system. It is switched on at the right time and the power consumption is visible on the measurement platform. ”

The project and the optimization of the control strategies are still in full swing. The results can be applied in many possibilities. Involving stakeholders in the development at an early stage makes it possible to develop market-oriented solutions.

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