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Environmental Advantages of Using Hybrid Energy Systems

POWRBANK MAX in Hybrid Energy System (solar panels and wind turbines)

In January 2024, the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide reached a new record high with a global average of 422.16 parts per million (ppm). This is more than 150% higher than pre-industrialization levels (around 280 ppm). The buildings and construction sector plays a major role in these emissions, accounting for a staggering 37% of global CO2 emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. To reduce its environmental impact, the construction industry is putting new building energy codes in place and using more sustainable materials and power solutions to decarbonize the building process. Collectively, these efforts create a healthier environment and more energy-efficient building process.

One of these sustainable, innovative technologies is Hybrid Energy Systems (HES). By effectively managing energy, HES can play a vital role in decarbonization efforts for other key carbon-emitting industries such as transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture. The rapidly evolving energy sector is focusing not only on cost-saving measures but also on environmental responsibility. HES offers a promising solution with significant environmental advantages that can help us transition to a more sustainable future.

Understanding Hybrid Energy Systems

Hybrid Energy Systems combine different energy sources with energy storage to create a single energy solution that provides continuous and reliable power. These intelligent systems leverage the strengths of different approaches, providing both short-term, high-power bursts and long-term energy reserves. HES can significantly improve the system’s:

  • Reliability: Ensure a continuous energy supply by mitigating fluctuations from renewable sources like wind or solar and having power in reserve.
  • Efficiency: Optimize energy use by saving surplus power and discharging it during peak demand periods.
  • Emission Reduction: Minimize carbon emissions and environmental impact by integrating battery energy storage to storage excess energy and reduce generator runtime.
  • Scalability: Meet the needs of various industries, from small to large-scale applications, making it a versatile solution that can be adapted to a wide range of needs.
  • Resilience: Enhance the system stability by providing backup power during outages or when traditional generation facilities are disrupted.

Hybrid Energy Systems in Action

What are common Hybrid Energy Systems (HES) and how do they work?

Battery Energy Storage with Solar Power

When you hear “Hybrid Power”, one of the intuitive pairings that comes to mind is the combination of energy storage with solar energy. This Hybrid Energy System offers clean energy and reliability, reducing reliance on fossil fuel-based sources.

  • Power Generation: This pairing harnesses the power of the sun for clean energy generation. Solar panels convert sunlight to electricity, either powering your equipment directly and/or charging the battery energy storage system.
  • Storage and Discharge: Excess solar power is stored within the battery energy storage system. This energy stored can serve as the main source of power, or as a reserve for nighttime use, peak demand periods, or periods of low solar production, ensuring a consistent power supply.

Battery Energy Storage with Wind Power

This type of Hybrid Energy System is similar to the solar power and battery energy storage pairing but instead harnesses wind power using wind turbines. The advantage of renewables like wind power lies in their clean energy, but they can be unpredictable. Strong one minute, calm the next.

  • Power Generation: Wind turbines capture the kinetic energy of wind, transforming it into electricity. This electricity can directly power devices or be used to charge the battery storage system.
  • Storage and Discharge: When wind power generation exceeds demand, batteries store the surplus energy. This stored clean energy power loads during periods of low wind, balancing fluctuations in wind power generation and stabilizing the power supply.

Battery Energy Storage with Diesel Generator

Another common Hybrid Power System is battery energy storage coupled with a diesel generator. Serving as a temporary power solution to construction, events, disaster relief, agriculture, and more, this hybrid system is accessible to many industries. This pairing reduces generator runtime, lowers diesel fuel consumption and associated cost, and significantly cuts down on CO2 emissions.

  • Power Generation: The diesel generator supplies electricity to the site, directing any surplus power to charge the battery energy storage system.
  • Storage and Discharge: The battery energy storage system works in connection with the diesel generator. During times of low demand, excess energy is stored in the battery system. When the battery is fully charged, the generator is shut off and stored energy powers the load. This reduces reliance on the generator, cuts fuel consumption, and lowers CO2 emissions.

What are the environmental advantages of using Hybrid Energy Systems (HES)?

Reduced CO2 Emissions and Diesel Usage

When used in connection with a diesel generator, battery energy storage systems like the POWRBANK can reduce fuel usage and the associated CO2 emissions up to 80%. When used with renewable sources, a HES can create a 100% zero emission solution.

Improved Air Quality

Fossil fuel combustion releases pollutants that degrade air quality. As fossil fuels are utilized less frequently with HES, emissions of harmful air pollutants are also substantially minimized, leading to cleaner air and improved community health.

Reduced Noise Pollution

Traditional generators used in many industries contribute to noise pollution. HES stored energy can be utilized during nighttime when noise regulations are stricter, reducing the need for traditional generators and minimizing noise pollution.

Reduced Reliance on Diesel Refueling

When used with diesel generators, HES can significantly reduce the amount of diesel fuel required. This also means fewer refueling trips are needed, reducing emissions from the trucks that deliver fuel to the genset.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency

Temporary power applications often experience periods of low energy demand, resulting in wasted energy during off-peak hours. HES addresses this issue by storing excess energy for periods of high demand, optimizing energy consumption, and reducing overall costs.

Increased Renewable Energy Integration

Hybrid Energy Systems play an important role in overcoming the intermittency challenges of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. When renewable energy generation exceeds current demand, HES efficiently stores the excess energy. During periods of high demand or low renewable source output, the stored energy is discharged, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, and contributing to a significant decrease in carbon emissions.

Real-World Examples of Hybrid Energy Systems

Silent Power Solution for Concrete Contractor

A concrete contractor needed to cure concrete overnight in freezing temperatures with a noise ordinance in place that prohibited the company from using generators at night. For a silent temporary power solution, POWRBANK Battery Energy Storage was brought in to provide uninterrupted power throughout the night. The system worked by charging during the day and providing power at night, allowing the concrete curing to proceed as planned and eliminating the need for noisy diesel generators. A project that ran for a week saved more than 4,500 kg of carbon emissions, comparable to offsetting nearly 8 months’ worth of electricity use for a typical home. Read more.

Portable Power System for Agriculture

Milton CAT used a POWR2 POWRBANK to provide a sustainable off-grid power system for irrigating crops at CSS Farms. Traditionally, a diesel generator was used, producing emissions, whereas POWR2’s POWRBANK Battery Energy Storage combined with a solar trailer provided clean energy. Solar power charged the battery and the  POWRBANK powered the irrigation system. Running this hybrid power for 6 hours daily can have the same environmental impact as taking a car off the road for over 4,000 miles. Read more.

Temporary Power Solution for Construction Sites

Kennard’s Hire, an equipment rental company, helped a construction sites become more sustainable by adding POWRBANK Battery Energy Storage coupled with a diesel generator. This reduced diesel consumption, resulting in significant cost savings, and cutting 143 tons of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to the emissions from driving a car around the Earth at the equator approximately 72 times. Read more.