In development collaboration, Fortum, Volvo Cars, and Comsys have created an innovative battery solution that is now being installed at Fortum’s Landafors hydropower plant on the river Ljusnan in Sweden. The solution will also use batteries from plug-in hybrid cars and other batteries to extend the life of the hydropower turbines and the batteries themselves.
The purpose is to improve the ability to offer fast frequency reserve regulation to the power markets. The pilot also aims to find out how much capacity the batteries need to have left to function in this new “second life” role, where response time is so important.
Today the Nordic electricity market is primarily balanced with CO2-free hydropower production, which has the ability to regulate electricity over the course of a few seconds to several months. However, there is sometimes a need in the power system for faster and more flexible regulation than what the hydropower plant’s turbines can handle. This need will become more common as more weather-dependent production, primarily wind power, enters the system. Using batteries that can react in milliseconds, followed up by the turbines’ slower build-up, will improve the hydropower plant’s ability to meet these future demands in the electric grid.
This is Fortum’s second pilot project using batteries as energy storage at its hydropower plant. In Landafors, a number of out-of-service batteries from Volvo Cars plug-in hybrids are used. Even if the batteries no longer have enough capacity to function in a vehicle, they can still be useful in electrical storage. A total of 48 batteries will be connected with a combined storage capacity and power of 1 MW/250 kWh. The solution is developed and built by the power electronics specialist Comsys, a cleantech company in Lund, Sweden.
“Our goal is to use and test a variety of modern battery solutions to improve the functionality of our energy system. It is a high priority for us,” says Toni Kekkinen, Vice President, Hydro power at Fortum’s Generation division.
“This solution of using batteries that no longer serve their original purpose is an important opportunity. Extending the life of these batteries before their material is recycled has major positive effects on both the environment and the economy. It strengthens renewable hydropower’s role in the energy system.”
“Volvo Cars has big ambitions with regards to the circular economy and we are putting great effort in finding new business models that enable us to maximise battery usage over the course of their entire life cycle. This project is in line with those objectives and will offer us new insight about the batteries’ lifespan and how they can be used outside of our cars,” says Susanne Hägglund, Head of Volvo Car Service Business.
To contribute to a sustainable battery value chain and to lower the environmental impact of batteries, Fortum also offers the possibility to recycle lithium-ion batteries and recover the scarce metals by applying low-CO2 recycling technology.