Battery Storage Technology
With being one of the core components of a hybrid power system, we recognise that the battery technology must be carefully selected for use in our systems. Firefly Hybrid Power carry out extensive R&D on all battery types, and select the most appropriate medium to ensure that performance and longevity is guaranteed.
Firefly Hybrid Power utilise AGM technology for lead acid storage systems. AGM provides electrical storage in the form of a; robust, well-proven, cost effective and sealed medium. These battery systems can be used in many applications & environments.
AGM systems are relatively straightforward in their construction and maintenance and don’t normally require any sophisticated level of management.
Lithium battery systems offers significantly improved performance, when compared with lead acid battery systems. Lithium technology boasts superior cyclic life, where typical cyclic life can range from 4,000 – 6,000 cycles. Another core feature of lithium-based systems is the ability for the vast majority of the cell’s capacity to be fully utilised, irrespective of discharge rate; whereas AGM starts to see a drop in available capacity as the batteries start to be heavily loaded. The opposite is also true, where lithium systems can generally be charged at a quicker rate when compared with AGM, which normally results in more efficient use of charging sources.
Relative to AGM, lithium provides a more energy dense package and can result in significant weight reductions. A Battery Management System (BMS) is required for lithium storage to ensure cells are appropriately, charged/discharged, balanced and maintained.
Choosing what is right for your application
Lithium based systems continue to increase in popularity and are widespread in their application. Making the choice between a lithium and AGM system will ultimately depend on the view between CAPEX and OPEX. In short, Lithium currently has a higher cost attached to the initial acquisition but sees much reduced O&M as cells do not normally require replacement. AGM systems currently have a lower cost associated with them but will normally require cell replacement after a few years of typical use.
Monitoring & Control Technology
We have developed and successfully implemented our own control software & hardware, tailored to suit effective control of our hybrid systems. We have fine-tuned our software & hardware solutions over the years and developed them to be flexible and dynamically adjusted to suit virtually any application.
Through years of experience, we recognised that there were and still are, issues surrounding how someone interacts with a hybrid power system. Some found issue with configuring parameters to fine tune their application, some found that it was hard to gauge system performance and stats and others found it challenging being able clearly identify the core function of how to setup a hybrid system.
Through careful development and delivery of a uniquely developed graphical user interface, we have worked to minimise uncertainty and maximise ease of hybrid integration. The user interface is designed to allow for ease of; initial commissioning, performance assessment, reporting, configuration, O&M activities & decommissioning.
At the heart of the system is our custom developed controller whose core function is to bring every component together so that all aspects of the system can effectively logged, monitored & controlled via a single device. Our controller enables the high resolution collection & processing of datasets from all connected devices, regardless of role, manufacturer or communication protocol. By ensuring we can communicate with every device within a hybrid system, a user is now able to have full visibility of all connected subsystem parts thus significantly enhancing accuracy of system performance.
Another result of centralising control means that users are able to create custom logic/alarming/reporting sequences. This ensures that a user is given the best tools available for effective integration of hybrid equipment. The controller features unique compression method allowing data to be efficiently stored and uploaded to our Glow RFM cloud platform, using minimal levels of data. Our control system is flexible in how it connects to the internet, whether it be via 3G/4G networks or hardwired.
Our Switch hardware allows a user to experience a truly smart distribution system where they can control individual sockets by monitor socket level energy consumption and set custom logic sequences to when certain sockets should be active or not. Our Switch ensures that the internal environment of the system is adequately controlled to ensure optimum working temperature is maintained. Generator control is also handled through switch and can manage multiple generators, to suit the users application.
Intelligent Battery Management System (BMS)
Lithium systems benefit from ‘active’ battery management systems, where the system is carefully monitored, controlled and balanced at cell level. Our custom BMS software allows for full efficient automated management of not only energy in and our of the battery bank itself but also between cells. Our active system allows for full visibility, at cell level, of how the battery is performing and provides safety mechanisms to drastically reduce effect of any cell level fault.
Almost identical in principle to our active system, our passive systems offer a more cost effective and simplified approach to lithium cell management. The core difference is that passive does not balance cells by transferring excess energy within the string to other deficient cells, it simply ‘burns off’ excess. As with the active system, our passive system ensures that users have full visibility at cell level whilst ensuring the safety of the bank.
Intelligent lead-acid management
Although AGM typically requires less attention than a lithium system, our battery management system extends to AGM where we can effectively monitor string level energy flows, ensuring that any inconsistencies are swiftly brought to a user’s attention. Providing the ability so monitor AGM systems at string level and subsequent notification of out of the ordinary behaviour, drastically reduces O&M costs by catching potential issues before they cascade.
Battery Care Module (BCM)
Our custom designed and built Battery Care Module delivers enhanced protection for your AGM system. We ensure that if a system has reached a critical condition due to external issue, we can prevent internal issue by protecting the battery from over discharge. Our BCM also ensures that danger and premature component failure due to arcing when switching energised DC components, is vastly reduced thus promoting operator safety and equipment life.
Fleet Management Technology
We understand the importance of asset management at Firefly Hybrid Power. Our experience shows that systems that are monitored are much less likely to have significant operational issues, therefore we have designed our management technology around the customisable, early alerting of component level issues to enable appropriate action.
Glow RFM is Firefly Hybrid Power’s proprietary purpose-built platform for the effective fleet management of hybrid systems. Glow provides an advanced, user-friendly, multi-access platform that enables users to easily group installations, set up custom reporting, offer tiered access to systems and implements a feature set, facilitating enhance O&M activities.