First Lithium-Ion battery technology at the UK’s largest high-temperature incinerator

Veolia, is now using advanced lithium-ion battery technology at Ellesmere Port

At its Ellesmere Port site global resource management company, Veolia, is now using using advanced lithium-ion battery technology to improve the energy and environmental performance of its dedicated High Temperature Incinerator, HTI.

One of the most technically advanced in Europe, and the largest of its type in the UK, Veolia’s HTI facility is optimising energy efficiency and balancing the national grid with the latest cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology. By proving the capabilities on this type of site for the first time, it highlights the potential future advantages for a range of energy intensive industries.

Heavy industry dominates the town of Ellesmere Port in the otherwise leafy county of Cheshire. Not far from the city of Liverpool, it is home to a major car factory, chemical facilities and one of the UK’s main oil refineries. Along with a major shopping outlet and a significant number of homes, these large energy users all put stress on the local electricity network, part of the UK’s National Grid. Veolia also contributes to the energy picture with its High Temperature Incinerator (HTI) in the town.

Treating 100,000 metric tons of hazardous waste at 1,200°C, it securely disposes of everything from laboratory waste through contaminated electrical equipment to all sorts of liquids and gases. But this comes at the cost of high energy use, potentially placing a further burden on local electricity resources.

Saving costs and securing the grid

The technology provides cost savings by charging the battery during low cost off-peak times and using the stored electricity when peak electricity rates apply. Because of its unique reaction speed, and fast acting controls, it provides continuous stability for the National Grid by adjusting power flows at each millisecond to balance the surplus or lack of energy on the network.

Based on the latest lithium-ion technology, the battery unit is capable of delivering 500kW/385kWh, equivalent to the energy required to power 1,000 homes or the output from 100,000 standard AA size batteries. Also, it provides a safeguard to the plant to maintain the essential load in the event of a power outage, and has the potential to export power to the grid.

Frequency control: a source of revenue

The technology is also able to sell its storage capacity to National Grid to help it balance the system frequency. It has an obligation to control the frequency of the grid at 50 Hz, plus or minus 1%. It needs to manage the circumstances that could lead to frequency variations in UK supply, which disrupt the balance between production and consumption and therefore the stability of the grid. The battery is able to help it do this, along with lots of other suppliers.

Additionally, there are times when we can sell electricity back to the grid, but helping it meet its frequency obligations is a more likely source of revenue.” In the future, the rise of renewable energy will further boost the potential of this solution. The British government has recently committed to phasing out coal power by 2025. Inherently more intermittent than fossil fuels, renewables require much more complex grid control systems.

Commenting on this project, Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at Veolia UK and Ireland said:

“This innovative project will help support the national ambition to decentralise, decarbonise and digitalise the grid whilst supporting overloaded grid networks. As a working test-bed it has proved how the technology can help similar industries significantly improve their energy costs. On a wider scale the installation also shows how Veolia can leverage flexibility in power consumption and generation to generate extra savings, and give industry greater energy security as we transition to more renewable energy.”

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