With the rising cost of fossil fuels and the decreasing price of renewable energy technology, hybrid power systems are quickly becoming the preferred solution for sites with no access to mains power. It’s easy to see why as they have the ability to reduce fuel costs, as well as lower pollution and emission levels.
Traditionally organisations working in remote locations will use diesel generating sets (or prime power applications) as the primary energy source. But even though this method provides a reliable and consistent source of energy it is also susceptible to rising fuel costs and large maintenance overheads. However, a hybrid system actually reduces the load on the gen sets, lowering costs and pollution levels whilst maintaining a reliable power supply.
A hybrid power system is a combination of two or more energy sources, one renewable (such as photovoltaic (solar) panels, wind or small hydro turbines) and one traditional (such as diesel gensets). The most common type of hybrid power system is a diesel plus solar arrangement.
Although environmentally speaking to go completely green would be the obvious choice, in reality it is not yet practical. The unstable nature of renewable energy generation would require the inclusion of a large battery storage facility that could guarantee a steady supply when the generation was low. Unfortunately the technology required to achieve this is not yet at a level that could sustain a 100% renewable system.
By installing a hybrid power system the traditional gensets level out the unpredictability of renewable energy supply to maintain steady power. But in order to achieve the best results from a hybrid system it’s important to have controls in place to manage these two energy sources. This is where ComAp Controllers come in.
ComAp Controllers are used to manage the hybrid power system and control the diesel gen set to ensure the load is sufficient. They include a variety of unique functions that are ideal for hybrid applications such as:
ComAp controllers also have a new feature that allows the spinning reserve value to be changed dynamically through analog input so that it always matches the amount of energy generated by the renewables.
For more information contact the IPU Engine Controls Team on 0121 511 0400.