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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds In this lecture, we will learn about the off-grid application of battery storage. This application refers to the installation of batteries in remote areas.

Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds In this application, batteries can meet the electricity demand of a wide range of consumers: from individual and standalone households to remote facilities and telecom towers. This application also includes a variety of situations, for example, households without access to electricity or communities. It also could be used to electrify facilities or industries that are based in off-grid areas. In Europe, this application is less common because of the developed grid infrastructure and extensive electrification.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds Batteries installed at off-grid location can provide 3 general groups of services. They can electrify off-grid areas by decoupling electricity generation from the grid. In other words, off-grid battery system provides electricity to consumers with no access to the grid. This service is very important because of the number of people living without access to the electricity which was more than 1 billion in 2017, around 14% of world’s population. The second service of battery storage in the off-grid area is to support development of microgrid. There are several strategic locations such as hospitals or military facilities that would be first to benefit from microgrid. Today, many islands or off-grid areas are powered by diesel generators.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds Microgrid storage systems could be a great substitute for these generators. Finally, battery storage can replace or hybridise the existing diesel generation. This service can power devices and machines that are dependent on diesel generation. Example of such devices are yellow machines utilised in the mining industry. Through the off-grid application of battery storage and coupling it with the renewable power, we can create a reliable and sustainable form of power. This sustainable power could be used to provide electricity to people in rural areas and substitute diesel generators. The technical requirements for the battery technologies that are dedicated to the off-grid application depend on the types and needs of the targeted consumers. Generally speaking, off-grid systems serve fewer and less diverse consumers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 seconds This means that the installed batteries require less diverse characteristics. Off-grid storage systems should keep constantly a balance between supply and demand. Therefore, the installed battery requires a fast response time. Typical variations in terms of supply and demand cover a day period which means batteries at off grid have a daily frequency of use and a long discharge duration, for example, in terms of tens of hours.

Skip to 2 minutes and 55 seconds It is good to know that a wide range of batteries has been utilised for the off-grid application. This includes lead-acid, Li-ion or flow batteries. Now that we have learned about the benefits of off-grid storage systems, let’s discuss what are the main barriers. First and foremost, access to finance is the biggest challenge, because of two reasons. A) Off-grid battery systems are still more capital-intensive than the alternative options such as diesel generators and (B) limited experience and remoteness of off-grid battery systems translate into a higher project risk. Second barrier is that investments in grid extension has remained a priority in remote areas. As a result, in some areas the establishment of individual off-grid systems is, for example, constrained.

Skip to 3 minutes and 46 seconds It is good to mention that in densely populated areas, the cost of electrification through grid is still lower than the cost of off-grid battery systems. But this is changing fast. Battery systems coupled with renewable power sources are becoming more competitive, both in terms of their price and performance. To drive the off-grid application of battery storage several approaches can be taken. Many of these drivers solve the barriers that we just talked about. First of all, access to finance is a key driver. The emergence of new business models such as battery leasing, in which consumers do not buy the battery but only lease it, is for example one approach.

Skip to 4 minutes and 22 seconds Second, deferral of grid extension in remote areas can shift interest to off-grid individual energy systems or mini-grids as an alternative solution. Third, reducing support for diesel or gasoline lead to a higher interest in battery storage options. Note that, in many countries transportation of diesel and gasoline is costly and insecure, as a result, there is a need for support. Finally, similar to other applications, technological innovation is a key enabler as innovation can improve the performance of battery technologies while reducing their cost for the off-grid application. To summarise, in this lecture you learned about the off-grid application of battery storage and its potential services in remote areas. You got an overview of the required technical characteristics of batteries.

Skip to 5 minutes and 12 seconds You also learned about existing barriers and market drivers. Hopefully now you know the cheap and clean technology options are becoming available for providing the whole world with sustainable electricity.

Off-grid battery storage application

In this step, you will learn about the off-grid application of battery storage.

This application targets more remote areas that have no access to the electricity grid. This application of batteries could be used especially to replace diesel generation utilised in remote areas decoupled from the main electricity grid. As usual, drivers and barriers behind this application and the required technical characteristics are explained.

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This video is from the free online course:

Battery Storage Technology: Opportunities and Uses

EIT InnoEnergy