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Commissioning and testing of the first Lithium–

Titanate BESS for the Italian Transmission Grid

F. Palone, G. Gemelli, M. Rebolini E. Mocci, A. Necci, M. Pietrucci, A.C. Tortora


Engineering Dept. Storage Lab Dept.
Terna rete Italia S.p.A. Terna Storage S.r.l.
Rome, Italy Rome, Italy
francesco.palone@terna.it

Abstract—Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) represent substation in Europe, already hosting the converter station of
an useful tool for grid support and integration of renewable the only European multi-terminal HVDC link Sa.Co.I., a 2 x
energy sources. Amongst the different technologies, Lithium- 250 Mvar synchronous condenser system [4] and a 1.1 MW
Titanate batteries represent one of the most promising solutions, photovoltaic plant.
due to their very long expected lifetime. The paper deals with the
commissioning and testing of Terna’s Lithium-Titanate, 1MWh,
The main goal of the Storage Lab is to verify the
BESS in Codrongianos substation, both in grid-connected and performance of different electrochemical energy storage
islanded operation. Test results show that round trip efficiency systems, when used in providing grid ancillary services. The
and power accuracy target values are met and that the BESS can test campaign includes factory, laboratory and field test,
effectively be used for black-starting a MV grid. focused on battery performances, dynamic behaviour and
expected life. Furthermore, Storage Lab will host activities to
Index Terms—Lithium Titanate, BESS, energy storage testing. develop Smart Grid applications involving BESS, such as
black start and islanded operation.
I. INTRODUCTION
Phase 2 foresees the installation of further 24 MW of
The electrical system of Sicily and Sardinia has been BESSs, based on the most promising technologies, according
dramatically changed in the last years by a huge development to the results of Phase 1. Due to the lack of an international
of renewable energy sources (RES), whose production standard regarding BESSs, Terna developed detailed testing
sometimes can exceed local load. More in detail, the aggregate procedures, in order to compare results from different battery
windfarm and photovoltaic power plant installed capacity have technologies.
reached 3000 MW (Sicily) and 1700 MW (Sardinia) [1], The paper deals with the field tests, performed by TERNA,
exceeding the typical peak loads and the net transfer capacity on a 1 MW/1MWh BESS manufactured by Toshiba and
from islands network to mainland Italy (600 and 1100 MW commissioned in 2014. This system, equipped with Toshiba's
respectively for Sicily and Sardinia) [2]. SCiB™ (Super Charge ion Battery) 40Ah modules, represents
Distributed generation from RES tends to displace at present time the largest Lithium-Titanate (LTO) battery
conventional thermo-electrical power plants, exacerbating installation in the European ENTSO-E network.
voltage and frequency regulation issues, reducing grid inertia
and short circuit power. II. LTO BESS DESCRIPTION
In order to cope with the integration of RES in those weak LTO batteries are one of the most promising technology for
grids, Terna launched an innovative power-intensive battery MW-size energy storage systems due to their excellent
energy storage systems (BESSs) development plan, in order to performances, inherent safety and long expected lifetime.
ensure the safe and cost-effective management of the HV One drawback of LTO batteries is the relatively low
network. nominal voltage, which is about 30% lower if compared to
The project, approved by the Italian Ministry of Economic other Lithium ions batteries: a lower nominal voltage tends to
Development (MiSE) within the 2012 Defense Plan [3], is reduce specific energy and power of the battery. On the other
divided into two phases: phase 1, called “Storage Lab”, has hand, the intrinsic stability of LTO [5] allows for relaxing
been launched in 2014 with the commissioning of two multi- temperature constraints, thus reducing auxiliary consumption
technology power plants with different storage technologies due to air conditioning, without jeopardizing the expected
from several manufacturers, for an overall 16 MW installed lifetime.
capacity in Sardinia and Sicily. Most notably the Sardinian part Terna’s LTO BESS has a 1 MW / 1 MWh nominal rating,
of Storage lab will be installed in EHV/HV Codrongianos with a 130% / 60 s overload capability, dictated by inverter
substation, which represents one of the most advanced constraints. The 600 V battery racks are connected to the

978-1-4799-7993-6/15/$31.00 ©2015 IEEE


Storage Lab MV (15 kV) network through a MV/LV B. EMC tests
transformer and a specifically designed power conditioning EHV substations are a challenging EMC environment:
system (PCS) [6]. A 40 MVA HV/MV transformer connects severe immunity tests have thus been carried out in order to
the storage lab MV network to the HV (150 kV) Codrongianos verify compliance with IEC 61000-6-5 values instead of IEC
busbar [7]. The main characteristics of the LTO-based BESS 61000-6-4 ones generally used by BESS manufacturers.
are reported in Table I.
IV. PERFORMANCE TESTS
TABLE I. LTO-BASED BESS Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) have been carried out
Parameter Target values separately for battery modules and power converter system,
Rated power 1 MW upon the respective manufacturer facilities.
Site Acceptance Tests (SAT) have been carried out in
Rated energy 1 MWh Codrongianos, in order to verify the rated parameters of the
60 s overload capability 1.3 MW complete BESS, such as:
• Rated energy
a.c. efficiency (including aux losses) >80%
• Rated and overload power capability
Current THD at rated power (MV side) < 3% • Round trip efficiency

Both the battery racks and the PCS, including the MV/LV A. Rated energy tests
transformers, are installed in two 12.2 m long standard (ISO A general but accurate definition of the battery nominal
668) containers, allowing for a rapid installation and possible energy is necessary in order to compare different technologies
future BESS relocation. with different discharge times and profiles. In absence of an
international standard regarding this topic, Terna defined BESS
III. DIELECTRIC AND EMC TESTS rated energy as the discharged energy at the (MV) point of
A. Dielectric tests common coupling (PCC), during a continuous complete
discharge phase.
Single BESS components such as batteries, converter In order to increase measurement accuracy, 0.5 class
bridges and MV/LV transformers, have been tested in order to instrument transformers and class C (EN 50470-3) energy
verify their dielectric strength. meters were installed on the MV switchgear.
In absence of a dedicated standard, TERNA decided to use The following test procedure has been adopted:
the insulation levels of EN 60664-1, reported in table II and III. 1. The BESS is pre-conditioned by executing some
Dielectric tests have been carried out upon manufacturer charging – discharging cycles, until stabilization
facilities, without evidencing abnormalities or failures; of battery temperature
however, the manufacturer included surge arresters on the
2. Three complete charge-discharge cycles are
battery racks in order to fulfill the impulse insulation
performed, according to the manufacturer’s power
requirements.
profile.
3. If the absolute deviation of the three discharged
TABLE II. LIGHTENING IMPULSE INSULATION LEVELS
energy value is below 2% then the test is
Component Rated voltage Insulation level completed. Otherwise:
(line-to-ground ac a. If the absolute deviation exceeds 2% than
rms or dc) other 3 cycles are performed
Batteries Ur≤ 600 V 6 kV b. If the absolute deviation exceed 4% than
and PCS Ur > 600 V 8 kV other 12 cycles are performed
Auxiliary system 230 V 4 kV At the end of the procedure, the mean value of discharged
Control circuits ≤ 50 1.5 kV energy is considered. For the Codrongianos LTO BESS, 3
cycles were sufficient for identifying the rated energy value.
TABLE III. POWER FREQUENCY INSULATION LEVELS
Results are reported in table IV below.

Component Rated voltage Insulation level TABLE IV. RATED ENERGY TEST RESULTS
(line-to-ground ac (50 Hz a.c.)
rms or dc) Cycle Measured energy (MWh)
Batteries and PCS Ur Ur+1200 V #1 0.990
Auxiliary system 230 V 2000 V #2 1.005
Control circuits ≤ 50 500 V #3 1.005
Final value 1.000 ±0.008
Test results show that the 1 MWh target value is met and during both rated power and overload tests. On the contrary,
that a good repeatability can be achieved with the proposed test the PCS has a limited thermal inertia (thermal time constant is
procedure. about 200 s), which limits the overload capability of the BESS,
and thus battery power exploitation, to 1.3 p.u. .
B. Capability and power accuracy tests
Possible future development could be focused on increasing
Due to the substantial battery overload capability, the rated the PCS overload capability, aiming at higher BESS power-to-
power and overload capability of the BESS are limited by the energy ratios.
PCS. The installed PCS has a circular capability, in order to Power accuracy test results are reported in table V; the
provide dynamic reactive power/voltage support to the HV maximum error is about 0.5%, which is in line with the
network. expected measurement error of the installed class 0.5 current
During the capability test, a constant active or reactive (CTs) and voltage (VTs) transformers.
power is used as PCS set point: the tested points are the four
intersections of the circular capability with the P and Q axes; TABLE V. POWER ACCURACY TEST RESULTS
PCS power accuracy is also verified during the capability test
Voltage at P set point Q set point Measured P Measured Q
by comparing the actual power at the MV PCC with the set PCC at PCC at PCC
point. 15 kV 1300 kW 0 kvar 1303 kW - 1 kvar
Notably, the over-excitation test has been carried out with a 15 kV -1300 kW 0 kvar -1305 kW -1 kvar
1.1 p.u. voltage at the PCC, whereas the rated active power and 15 kV 0 kW 1300kVar -2 kW 1303 kvar
under-excitation test has been carried out with a 0.95 p.u. 15 kV 0 kW -1300 kW 1 kW -1306 kvar
voltage, in order to verify the correct operation of the PCS in 16.5 kV 0 kW 1 000 kvar -3 kW 1 005 kvar
14.4 kV 1000 kW 0 kvar 1003 kW -2 kvar
the most critical network conditions.
14.4 kV -1000 kW 0 kvar -1006 kW -3 kvar
The test duration has been set at 600 s for the rated power 14.4 kV 0 kW -1000 kvar -5 kW -1003 kvar
test and 60 s for the overload test.
Fig.1 and Fig.2 show the PCS and battery temperatures
during the rated power and overload test. C. Efficiency tests
70 1400 Efficiency is one of the key parameter for evaluating a
BESS. Lithium batteries, in general, have very high dc
60 1200
efficiency values (up to 95%); nevertheless recent projects
50 1000 evidenced that round trip a.c. efficiency can be hindered by
40 800 auxiliaries consumption [8,9] Auxiliary consumption is mainly
P (kW)
T (°C)

represented by:
30 600
- heat, ventilation and cooling (HVAC)
PCS T
20 400 - control and protection system
10
Battery T
200
HVAC is normally fed by the 400 V ac auxiliary system of
Power Codrongianos station, whereas the control and protection
0 0 systems are fed by the 110 V dc from conventional station
0 50 100 150 200
t (s)
batteries; class C Energy meters have thus been installed on
both ac and dc switchgears.
Fig. 1. PCS and battery temperature during overload capability In order to reduce auxiliary losses, the PCS uses water-to-
test.
air cooling and the thermal insulation on the battery container
70 1200
has been improved, thus reducing air conditioning losses.
As a consequence the tests were focused on both gross (i.e.
60 1000 without auxiliaries) and net efficiency.
50 Three consecutive full charge and discharge cycles (DOD
800
=100%) had been carried out, after a pre-conditioning phase
40
aimed at stabilizing battery temperature within a ±5°C range
P (kW)
T (°C)

600
30 around steady-state value.
20 PCS T
400 As reported in Fig.3, the duration of each cycles is about 3
Battery T 200
hours. Fig.4 shows battery and PCS temperatures during a
10
Power
complete charge-discharge cycle; as evidenced in the capability
0 0 test, the battery temperature is extremely stable around 40°C,
0 250 500 750 whereas the PCS operate between 30°C and 55°.
t (s) During each cycle, the charged and discharged energy, as
Fig. 2. PCS and battery temperature during rated power well as the auxiliary power consumption have been monitored
capability test. using class C energy meters (EN 50470-3) installed at the
PCC; results are reported in Table VI. The gross (ηg) and net
As evidenced in Figs. 1 and 2, the LTO battery itself has a
(ηn) efficiency have thus been evaluated as:
substantial overload capability, being its temperature stable
EMVout EMVout − Eaux , disch V. BLACK START AND ISLANDED OPERATION
ηg = ; ηn = (1) The LTO BESS has also been tested in islanded operation,
EMVin EMVin + Eaux , ch
in order to verify its effectiveness in black – starting a MV
The gross efficiency includes PCS losses, but neglects network. This operation could be useful in the Codrongianos
auxiliary loads; net efficiency also accounts for the auxiliary station for allowing the synchronous condenser start, even in
power (LV) consumption, which is added to the total input case of a black-out, using the whole 20 MW Codrongianos
energy during charge phase and subtracted to the total output Energy Storage System.
energy during the discharging phase. The black start tests were focused on transformer
Results show that efficiency values measured during each energization, which is a challenging task for inverter-based
cycle are very similar, confirming the effectiveness of the pre- systems. A 630 kVA 15/0.4 kV Dyn transformer (z=6%),
conditioning procedure. normally used for feeding the 400 V auxiliary system, has been
Both gross and net efficiency values significantly exceed used for performing the black start test.
the target 80% value. Notably, the difference between ηg and ηn The PCS has been set in voltage / frequency (V/f) control
is less than 3%, due to the reduced auxiliary power mode [6] and connected to the MV busbar; the 630 kVA
consumption. transformer has thus been energized by closing its MV feeder;
Fig. 5 shows the attendant line-to-ground voltages.
TABLE VI. RATED ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY TESTS RESULTS Due to the transformer inrush current, the MV busbar
Charg. Disch. voltage is distorted. However the voltage harmonic content is
Cycle Eaux,ch Eaux,disch ηg ηn
energy Energy limited due to the good regulation performed by the PCS
#1 990 kWh 14.35 kWh 89.2% 86.4% control. 5th harmonic accounts for the most significant
1110 kWh 18.72 kWh contribution, attaining about 500 V, i.e. 5.5% of the
#2 1005 kWh 14.25 kWh 89.3% 86.7%
1125 kWh 18.08 kWh
fundamental component, as evidenced in Fig.6.
#3 1005 kWh 13.95 kWh 89.3% 86.7% Measured phase currents during transformer energization
1125kWh 17.9 kWh are reported in Fig.7; notably, the peak value of inrush current
is only 65A, i.e. 2 p.u., which is considerably less than the
expected value for a 630 kVA transformer (8 ÷ 10 p.u.) due to
1250 100 the limiting effect of the PCS.
1000 90 When the inrush current reaches the peak value of inverter
Power
750 80 rated current (about 70A for the tested 1300 kVA inverter) the
SOC
500 70 PCS limits the current, thus causing a voltage drop and
250
)
60 ) distortion on the MV system.
W (%
k( 0 50 C
P O
S
-250 40 15

-500 30 [kV]

-750 20 10

-1000 10
-1250 0 5
16 900 20 500 24 100 27 700
t (s)

Fig. 3. BESS Power and SOC during efficiency test 0

1250 100 -5

1000 90
Power
750 80 -10
battery T
500 70
PCS T
250 60 -15
0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 [s] 0.45
P (kW)

T (°C)

0 50
Fig. 5. Measured phase voltages during transformer
-250 40 energization.
-500 30
-750 20 This behaviour, typical of V/f operation mode, allows to
-1000 10
perform black start operation without misoperation of
-1250 0
protective relays.
16 900 20 500 24 100 27 700 The test demonstrated that the BESS is able to effectively
t (s)
black start a grid and to perform a direct energization of a
Fig. 4. BESS Power and SOC during efficiency test power transformer up to 63% of its rated power.
600 As expected, during a 1-phase to ground fault, the line to
L1
ground voltages of sound phases increase to 15 kV (1.73 p.u.),
500
) as reported in Fig. 4.
V
( L2 30
eg400
at L3 [kV]
l
o
v300 20
ci
n
o
m
r200 10
a
h
100
0

0
2 3 4 5 h 6 7 8 9 -10

Fig. 6. Harmonic analysis of phase voltages during transformer


-20
energization

80 -30
[A] 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 [s] 0.50
60
Fig. 8. Measured line to ground voltages during 1-phase to
ground fault test;
40

20 In order to keep balanced line to line voltages, the BESS is


thus forced to feed unbalanced (positive and negative) phase
0
currents towards the MV busbar, as reported in Fig. 9.
-20 Zero sequence current cannot be fed by the BESS, due to
the delta winding connection on the MV side of converter
-40
transformer. Ground current thus circulates through the neutral
-60 grounding transformer and grounding resistance.
During the fault duration, the active and reactive power are
-80
0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 [s] 0.45
provided by the BESS, as visible in Fig. 10. Notably, during
Fig. 7. Measured phase current during transformer energization the fault, the BESS asymmetrically delivers power on two
phases only, without alarms or malfunctioning, keeping line-to-
VI. PROTECTION SYSTEM TEST line voltages perfectly balanced, as visible in Fig. 11.
Note that the small current and power fluctuations, at low
Influence of inverter-based generation on MV protection
values, in Figs. 9 and 10 are caused by measurement errors of
system has been extensively studied in the last years, especially
the protection recording system.
because of the large increase in distributed generation from
Protection system test demonstrated that the BESS, when
renewable energy sources. However, protections coordination
used in islanded mode, does not hinder the correct operation of
is still a challenging task, especially when the network is fed
protection relays: single phase to ground faults are promptly
only by inverters, as in case of black start or islanded operation
cleared by the 0-sequence max current relay (50N).
of a BESS.
The PCS correctly fed a dissymmetrical current during fault
In order to allow reliable and prompt protection trip even in
duration, keeping the line-to-line voltages perfectly balanced.
case of islanded operation, TERNA decided to adopt high-
resistance neutral grounding of the MV network in all BESS
10.0
installations. [A]
50N and 59N protection have been installed on the MV 7.5
switchgear in order to cope with single phase faults. 50N
5.0
protections have been set with a very small delay (100 ms) in
order to allow for a selective fault clearing, whereas the 59N 2.5
relay, which performs busbar protection, has been set with a
large delay in order to avoid unselective trips. 0.0

Three phase faults protection is performed using 50/51 and -2.5


27 protective relays.
As the MV BESS network is entirely composed of -5.0

insulated cables, two and three-phase faults are expected to be


-7.5
a very remote event; single-phase to ground faults have thus
been investigated and tested for evaluating BESS protection -10.0
system behaviour. 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 [s] 0.50

Fig. 9. Measured BESS phase currents during 1-phase to ground fault test
10 been verified. Measured PCS power accuracy is about 0.5%,
[kW]
which is in line with the expected measurement error.
-10 BESS overload test showed a substantial overload
capability of LTO batteries, whereas the PCS power output is
-30 limited to 1.3 p.u.; temperature measurements also evidenced
that the thermal time constant of the PCS is about 200 s,
-50
significantly lower than the one of LTO batteries.
The black start capability of the BESS has been validated: a
630 kVA transformer has been directly energized from the PCS
-70
without experiencing excessive voltage drops or distortion.
Finally, correct protection system operation in islanded
-90
0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 [s] 0.50
mode has been verified by means of triggered single phase to
ground faults on one dedicated MV feeder. The PCS was able
Fig. 10. Measured BESS instantaneous power (single phase values) to feed the fault, which was promptly cleared by 50N
during 1-phase to ground fault test.
protection. The testing activity on the first Terna’s LTO BESS
30
will continue with a 24 months performance monitoring phase,
[kV] Fault inception Fault clearing in order to verify the BESS behaviour during normal and
20
atypical network conditions.
10
REFERENCES
0
[1] Terna report “l’Elettricità nelle Regioni”, available online on
http://www.terna.it/default/home_en/electric_system/statistical_
-10
data.aspx
[2] Terna report “Valori dei limiti di transito fra le zone di mercato”
-20 available online on:
http://www.terna.it/default/Home/SISTEMA_ELETTRICO/mer
-30 cato_elettrico/Procedura_valutazione_limiti_e_limiti_transito.as
0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 [s] 0.50
px
Fig. 11. Measured line-to-line voltages during 1-phase to ground [3] Deliberation ARG/elt n. 43/13, 12.01.2013, available online on
fault test www.autorita.energia.it
15
[4] A. Di Giulio, G.M. Giannuzzi, V. Iuliani, F. Palone, M.
[A] Relay pickup Rebolini, R. Zaottini, S. Zunino, “Increased grid performance
10 using synchronous condensers in multi in-feed multi-terminal
HVDC System”, CIGRE 2014 conference paper A1-112, Paris
5 28 Aug. 2014.
[5] N. Takami, H.Inagaki, T. Kishi, Y. Harada, Y. Fujita, K.
0
Hoshina, “Electrochemical Kinetics and Safety of 2-Volt Class
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-5
Relay trip Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 156 (2) A128-A132
(2009).
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[6] M. Andriollo, R. Benato, M. Bressan, S. Dambone Sessa, F.
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-15
0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 [s] 0.50 Conditioning Systems for Stationary Electrochemical Storage”,
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VII. CONCLUSIONS pp. 47-58.
The field tests performed on Terna’s first LTO BESS [8] L. Consiglio, G. Di Lembo C. Noce, P. Eckert A. Rasic, A.
showed that the target performance values are met or even Schuette “Performances of the first electric storage system of
Enel distribuzione”, CIRED 2013 conference, Stockholm, June
exceeded. Most significantly the measured round trip gross
2013
efficiency is 89.2%, and the net efficiency (also including
[9] M. Świerczyński, D. I. Stroe, R. Lærke, A. I. Stan, P. C. Kjær R.
auxiliary losses) is 86.5%.
Teodorescu, S. K. Kær “Field Experience from Li-Ion Bess
This excellent result has been possible due to the reduced Delivering Primary Frequency Regulation in the Danish Energy
auxiliary loads power, namely of the HVAC system, thanks to Market”, 225 ECS meeting proceedings, Orlando, Florida, USA,
the wide temperature operating range of LTO batteries. The 11 - 15 May 2014
BESS rated energy and power values (1MW/1MWh) have also