Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
US petroleum giant ConocoPhillips says it will install a 4MW battery storage array at its Darwin LNG plant to enable it to switch off one of the gas turbines that power the facility and cut its fuel and emissions by around 20 per cent.
The Texas-based Conoco says it will be the world’s first LNG plant to install a battery to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption from the gas turbines that power such energy-hungry plants, which liquefy natural gas for export, and the company sees it as a template for other LNG facilities to follow.
The Darwin LNG plant – which opened in 2006/07 and was the first in the Northern Territory – currently uses five 4MW gas turbines, with one running as “spinning reserve”, or backup in case of a failure elsewhere, and one kept in reserve for ship loading procedures. The addition of the 4MW lithium-ion battery – the provider is apparently not yet settled – means that one turbine can be closed down and the remaining three turbines can be run at maximum efficiency.
The company did not provide the storage capacity in terms of megawatt hours, but a fact sheet sent to Renew Economy indicated that the battery may be deployed in 1MW units with 30 minutes of storage each, pointing to a 4MW/2MWh configuration. That makes sense because the battery will likely work in a similar vein to the Newman battery at the Alinta gas fired power station in the Pilbara mining region of Western Australia, where it has removed the need for back-up turbines to run all the time, and has significantly reduced costs and fuel consumption.
That 35MW/11.4MWh Kokam lithium-ion battery, located next to its 178MW Mt Newman gas-fired generator, has also challenged conventional thinking by showing that a battery can provide sufficient inertia to the local grid in the absence of thermal generator.
ConocoPhillips says the addition of the battery array will allow it to add renewables to the Darwin LNG power plant – which is off grid – to further reduce fuel costs and emissions. This will likely focus on solar PV given the resources in the area.