A Black & Veatch-designed microgrid at Shell’s Technology Center in Houston, Texas, is actively powering part of the campus while serving as a critical research tool for Shell International Exploration & Production’s work to explore the next generation of clean power and distributed energy technologies.
The microgrid, which incorporates solar photovoltaic panels, a natural gas reciprocating engine and an advanced battery storage system, was installed earlier this year and provides clean, resilient energy for a facility on the 200-acre Shell Technology Center Houston (STCH) campus. Home to nearly 2,000 Shell scientists, technologists and engineers, the STCH is the largest of the three Shell technology hubs; the others are in Amsterdam and Bangalore.
Microgrids are integrated systems of multiple power generation sources and electric loads. When operated under a consolidated control with a sustainable energy management system, microgrid systems can produce and distribute electricity and operate independently from the larger power grid, increasing resilience and reliability.
Paired with the ASSET360 cloud-based data analytics platform, which is available through Black & Veatch’s software subsidiary Atonix Digital, the microgrid raises STCH’s resilience and reliability by providing critical services during a power outage or other service anomaly. Designed to provide actionable insights about the microgrid’s performance, ASSET360 allows Shell operators to optimize operation based on energy demand, solar production and other conditions.
The system combines 300 kW of ground-mounted solar, a 127-kW natural gas generator, a 250-kW, 1,050 MWh lithium ion battery and a 250-kW load bank. In early 2019, the microgrid will be expanded to include additional battery energy storage system technologies and electric vehicle chargers.