Kokam steps forward as supplier of batteries for Alinta’s 30 MW gas/battery hybrid

A new battery system in regional Western Australia is demonstrating how storage can be coupled with gas generation to reduce fuel costs, replace diesel backup, and increase  reliability. The battery technology for the system, at the Newman Power Station, was supplied by Korea’s Kokam.

The 30 MW/11.4 MWh battery that Alinta has coupled to its 178 MW gas-fired Newman Power Plant was completed mid-April. The power electronics and control system was supplied by ABB, which first announced the project’s completion.

Kokam and ABB worked together to integrate the Korean company’s NMC lithium ion technology into the ABB Powerstore solution. ABB also provided transformers, switchgear and its Microgrid Plus automation and control platform.

The Newman generator supplies major iron ore mining facilities in the resource-rich Pilbara region, requiring very high levels of reliability, and necessitating Alinta Energy maintain significant reserve backup diesel generation capacity and fuel.

Kokam’s so-called UHP NMC battery chemistry is well suited to high power applications, as required at the Newman generation facility, due high discharge rate and high power density.

Additional advantages of its technology, claims Kokam, is a long life cycle – up to 10,000 cycles – and improved heat dissipation, likely an attractive feature in the Pilbara.

“The Alinta Energy Newman Battery Storage Project provides an example of how new high power energy storage technologies enable both utility and industrial customers to build hybrid natural gas/battery systems that increase energy reliability, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and boost their bottom lines.” said Ike Hong, vice president of Kokam’s Power Solutions Division in a statement.

Kokam reports that the lithium ion array is the largest to be installed for industrial use in Australia. Industrial applications, along with a range of other services such as “frequency regulation, wind or large solar power system ramp rate control, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), [and] voltage support” all require high discharge rates. Additionally, fast charge and discharge is necessary in supporting operations, such as mining, where the cost of even a momentary loss of power can be extremely costly.

Kokam says that it has supplied batteries to over 50 countries, with a cumulative installed capacity of some 680 MW.