KEMA Opens Lab to Test Energy Storage Performance

Dutch energy consulting firm KEMA in February opened a new laboratory in Chalfont, Pa., to test and verify emerging utility-scale energy storage systems. The facility, KEMA says, will be the first in the U.S. to offer “comprehensive” testing of performance, interoperability, and integration of energy storage systems. It will use a utility grid interconnection to test large-scale systems up to 2 MW. Testing will also be enabled for developers looking to verify smaller projects, using single-component cells or stack levels, and to study various applications such as renewable integration, peak shaving, and frequency regulation (Figure 5).

5. Testing energy storage. KEMA in February opened what it calls a “comprehensive” facility that will test performance, interoperability, and integration of energy storage systems. The laboratory in Chalfont, Pa., will use a utility grid interconnection to test systems up to 2 MW. This image shows a single-component cell test. Courtesy: KEMA

Advances in energy storage technologies (see p. 30, “Energy Storage Enables Just-in-Time Generation”) have been made on several levels, though “much work is yet to be done in developing policies and standards for energy storage devices and applications,” as KEMA’s president, Hugo Van Nispen, said in a recent statement. The new lab, which cost more than $1 million to build and commission, was developed primarily to confirm essential specifications for developers pioneering the application of new concepts so that “they can be confident in their investments,” Nispen said. Several technologies are already lined up for testing, including lithium ion and sodium sulfur batteries, flywheels, and inverters, KEMA told POWER.

KEMA’s lab joins a handful of other facilities around the world looking to push out promising energy storage technologies. More are in the pipeline: In northern China’s Hubei Province, the State Grid Corp. of China is building its National Wind Power Integration Research and Test Center, a facility that will use 30 wind turbines rated at 78 MW, 640 kW of solar photovoltaic capacity, and 2.5 MW of energy storage. The storage component will include a 1-MWh redox battery energy storage system (sized at a rated power 500-kW pulse capability) recently installed by Maryland-based Prudent Energy.

—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.