The rise of hybrid power systems

July 17th, 2019

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.

But what is a hybrid power system?

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.

ComAp’s new Cloud Forecasting System is a complementary extension of ComAp´s hybrid microgrid controller InteliSys NTC Hybrid, which significantly increases the efficiency of the site operation while maintaining the high reliability and safety of power supply provision. Watch this short animation to learn more:

But why choose a hybrid power system over 100% renewable?

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.

Why do I need a ComAp Controller?

ComAp’s InteliSysNTC Hybrid controller is used to manage the hybrid power system and control the diesel gen set to ensure the load is sufficient.It includes a variety of unique functions that are ideal for hybrid applications such as:

  • An efficiency mode that allows the InteliSysNTC Hybrid to automatically select the most efficient combination of generators to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Through modbus RTU and TCP communication, the ComAp controller is able to communicate with 3rd party renewable part controllers.
  • Peak shaving function allows to you to save some extra fuel by starting the gensets automatically only in case of peak load.
  • Built in PLC can significantly save time during commissioning.
  • ComAp comes with remote communication, vital for operators of power plants in remote locations.

For more information contact the ComAp Engine Controls Team on 0121 511 0400.