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Hybrid power offers the answers

Blogs | 19th October 2015
Diesel generators became the answer to providing electrical power in remote areas in the developing world.

But the costs of diesel have soared, and with concerns over carbon emissions they can still meet the challenge but not as effectively especially where the grid supplies are unreliable.

For more remote sites, especially those operating in war zones or in humanitarian aid projects for example, the refueling and periodic maintenance of the generators can be both hazardous and difficult to accomplish, resulting in significant further operating costs.

The alternative hybrid power system incorporating rechargeable battery technology holds the key and is rapidly becoming the power source of choice.

Rather than using the diesel generator as the primary power source, the hybrid system relies on the battery as its primary source of power, with the genset providing the recharging current.

The main advantage of this hybrid system is the reduction in operating costs of 50 to 85 per cent combined with a reduction in carbon emissions of 48 to 80 per cent, depending on site load, compared with continuous generator operation.

The combination of this consistency of supply, coupled with the attractive reduction in emissions, offers a compelling answer to many of the power issues associated with difficult-to-access locations.

The hybrid system is configured so that the controller monitors the available power sources and then brings them into operation to maximise availability.

If present, the wind turbine or solar panels are set as the primary source of energy and are monitored to ensure availability.

In the absence of sufficient energy from the primary source of supply, the batteries are used as the primary source of power and are monitored to ensure that they only reach a specific amount of discharge before recharging to ensure consistency.

If power from a local grid is available at any time it is monitored and utilised as the supply to the site load, prolonging the battery discharge time and reducing the daily fuel consumption.

All in all, it’s win-win. As the pressure on the reduction of carbon emissions continues – and the demand for tier 4 equipment in London for example continues to rise with new guidance – the hybrid technology is making inroads to challenges not previously possible.