Toronto Hydro introduces urban community energy storage project

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A consortium led by eCAMION Inc. with Toronto Hydro, the University of Toronto, and Dow Kokam has unveiled an energy storage system installed directly into an urban community.

Located at the Roding Arena and Community Centre in North York, this community energy storage (CES) system will allow Toronto Hydro to monitor this technology, and help validate its benefits to Toronto's electrical grid.

The project is funded by the project consortium and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

Toronto's infrastructure is aging, including the electrical assets that power the city. Much of this infrastructure was installed in the '40s, '50s and '60s. As the city continues to grow, the electrical grid must also move forward in its technology. It is expected the CES project will offer many benefits in the short term to the grid, and even more in the long term.

This unit will provide 250 kWh/500kW of storage and is very compact; it only requires a small pad mount, a bit larger than a normal Toronto Hydro transformer. Fully charged the CES system could provide electricity to a typical community centre, a light industrial complex or small residential street.

Each consortium partner plays a key role in this project: Toronto Hydro provides the local distribution system, connection and opportunity to modernize an aging grid. eCAMION is the project lead and has designed and integrated the storage system to include thermal management communications and control.

Dow Kokam LLC has developed the Advanced Energy Lithium-Polymer NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) cells and cell chemistry. The University of Toronto is managing the CPPM (control, protection and power management) technology and building algorithms that will integrate the 'brains' of the system.

CES differs from other energy storage systems installed at a transmission or distribution station. Those at a station level provide system support to the station, whereas CES systems are installed at the customer level, offering more direct benefit in reliable electrical supply.

Just three of the battery cells in the CES unit can power a fridge for one hour. These cells are placed in eCAMION battery modules. The entire CES system at the Roding Arena and Community Centre is comprised of 48 eCAMION battery modules, capable of powering a house for 9 days.

In future, this storage unit can be used to help alleviate stress on the grid during peak times and also provide power to connected homes in the event of a power interruption from the station. As well, this CES system is smarter than others. It comes equipped with 'brains' that can independently monitor grid conditions and respond appropriately by taking in electricity during off-peak times, or releasing energy if needed.

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