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31 July 2023

TALENT project overview

After 46 months of hard work, the TALENT project is coming to an end. Over almost 4 years, remarkable results have been achieved. Among them, a number of Key Exploitable Results have been identified:

1. Intelligent Battery module easily scalable for different targeted applications:

Isolated power converter integrated into a battery module that allows for boosting the module voltage from 48/400V, including the isolation and the control system (iBatt). This module can be connected in series or in parallel for a variety of applications, allowing the active balancing among the different modules.

2. Intelligent modular power converters (iPEC):

Basic construction units of different power converter topologies. The underpinning idea is to embed the digital control system together with the needed power electronics, driving circuits and sensing capabilities.

3. 1.5 kV three-port, modular two-level power electronics for hybrid PV and storage system based on new IGBT devices:

Three-port power electronics system with a DC-DC section rated at hundreds of kW and a DC-AC section rated at few MWs. The system is modular to allow scalability in power at minimum cost and make use of novel IGBT devices with blocking voltage of 2-2.2kV. Those devices enable reliable operation of low-cost two-level power electronics architectures with 1.5 kV PV panels and 1.5 kV battery stacks.

4. High Voltage Inverter for High Voltage Battery System:

High voltage inverter that allows to switch from DC to AC. It can be used for every type of battery system with the 99% of efficiency. Efficiency is gained from the lower current in the AC site. It is able to work with a battery input voltage up to 3,000 V and an output voltage in the range of 1,500 V.

5. Stationary Battery Digital Twin (light and full version):

Virtual model of a physical battery that enables the estimation of battery’s status and performance during its life cycle in near real-time. It is extended with the data exchange API and integrated with the virtual power plant platform cyber NOC. The digital twin tool enables optimization of the battery flexibility, as well as optimized operation and maintenance of the physical battery assets and thus minimizing ageing and loss of capacity.

6. Distributed Hybrid Energy Management System (DHEMS) compatible with the VPP: TALENT control architecture consists of several components:

VPP, Local DHEMS and Cloud DHEMS. The VPP solution (CyberNoc) enables the cloud control of distributed energy assets and has a role of a market aggregator. The Local DHEMS is in charge of the local management of a power generation site that integrates different kinds of assets. The Cloud DHEMS is an optional controller in the TALENT architecture and is applied in case the plants’ owners want to implement their own proprietary dispatching strategy for their plants but participate in a VPP as a single unit.

7. 2kV power chip (IGBT and FWDi): 

New 2000V voltage class semiconductor enabling the user to design and build-up 1.5 kV three-port and two-level modular power electronics for hybrid PV and storage systems based on new IGBT devices.

8. Active building concept: power electronics and control solution:

Different power conversion stages are included to accommodate energy storage and distributed generation to the grid. Galvanic isolation is considered at the energy storage and PV ports, still allowing the loads (homes) to be connected by a non-isolated port.

The work achieved by TALENT partners along the last months of the project can be summarized below:

The battery set-up for the district case was successfully finalized by our partner CEGASA. This battery represents a powerful and innovative system that can be an interesting option in the market for future integration of Lithium-Ion batteries in stationary applications.  More research and development (out of the scope of TALENT project) will allow to increase its capabilities allowing it to be more flexible and competitive. The presented prototype has been introduced in a relevant environment with the capability of demanding and introducing power in the system. The implementation of GaN HEMT technology in the iBatt contributes to reducing volume and cost to the system, adding all the flexibility of the iBatt concept. However, it does not come without challenges, like reliability or stock market changes, since it is a new technology that is growing faster in the power converter field, being a promising technology that could substitute the actual MOSFETs in power systems.

The high voltage Inverter for High Voltage Battery Systems has been implemented and characterized by our partner CEA. A scientific article has been published in the European power electronics conference EPE 2022 in the framework of the TALENT project. This article focuses on a study of the layout of the busbar, which by construction allows the lowest possible parasitic inductance.

The validation in relevant environments for the project pilots has been focused on:

1. The tests being performed in La Plana hybrid plant, for the demonstration of the control capabilities of the DHEMS and the virtual power plant (VPP). To carry out the validation, a test plan has been defined and performed in two different scenarios based on the TALENT control architecture:

  • Scenario 1: Two power plants, each managed by a Local DHEMS system. The two Local DHEMS systems are managed by the VPP.
  • Scenario 2: Two power plants, each managed by a Local DHEMS. The two Local DHEMS systems are managed by the technical aggregator, the Cloud DHEMS, which is managed by the VPP.

The results of these validation tests have been used to calculate a number of key performance indicators (KPI) shown in D6.6. Validation results analysis, conclusions and recommendations.

2. The validation of the power electronics architecture for district and larger systems. A specific bench has been built to ensure a proper validation of the high voltage inverter for the high voltage battery systems.

Our partner CIRCE, in charge of the overall validation plan for TALENT project, has been carefully checking the correct accomplishment of these validation tests, collecting relevant KPIs from the partners in charge, and including all the relevant descriptions and information in D6.6 Validation results analysis, conclusions and recommendations.

As regards the cost assessment and exploitation strategy, the 5 tasks dealing with these topics have been successfully finished:

A cost-benefit analysis of the integration of TALENT batteries, according to different use cases, has been performed by our partner Deloitte. The first two correspond with the Multi homes and District use cases of TALENT project. Additional ones for a hospital, a single home, an office, and a school have been added.

This cost-benefit assessment is based on cash-flow models, where the initial investment or CAPEX, the yearly operation and maintenance expenses or OPEX, and the economic savings derived from the self-consumption, the sale of electricity surpluses to the grid, or the use of batteries are evaluated. These cash flow models have been used to estimate the profitability of the use of batteries in these systems, calculating different economic ratios, such as the Internal Rate of Return (IRR), the payback or the Net Present Value (NPV). Besides, these cash flow models include the inflation, based on the estimates of Gross domestic product deflator offered by the International Monetary Fund.

This analysis has been carried out using two different tools, developed in MATLAB and Microsoft Excel. Among these tools, Deloitte has developed an algorithm which can optimize the use of the energy storage device, deciding, for each hour and based on the electricity prices, the electricity production of the solar PV plant, the level of consumption, and the level of electricity stored in the battery, whether the electricity should be stored, consumed, or sold to the grid.

Our partner RINA has carried out the assessment studies to investigate impacts of the TALENT battery solution in the cases of the multi-home, district area, and utility area. D7.2 Potential impact of the novel power electronics architecture and iSaaS in the grid and environment  presents the results of load flow, short circuit, frequency and voltage control, fault ride through (FRT), and black start studies to determine the impacts of the TALENT technologies in the cases of the multi-home, district, and the utility area. Also, the impact of the TALENT batteries has been studied on the integration of renewable generation sources. Through frequency and voltage control, and FRT studies, the transient behaviours of the TALENT solution has been analyzed to determine whether the addition of this solution helps or not in the reduction of the effect of disturbances in the grid. battery solution in the cases of the multi-home, district area, and utility area.

RINA has performed as well an assessment of the environmental performances of the new power electronic devices developed for the three use cases in TALENT project. The methodology applied is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), i.e. a standardized method which allows for a quantification of environmental burdens associated with all the considered life cycle phases of a product or a system. In order to perform the assessment, a data collection was setup to define all the input/output flows characterizing the production of power electronics (manufacturing), their exercise over a selected lifetime (use) and their disposal (end-of-life). For the purpose of the assessment, the analysis has been comparative, i.e. a standard scenario (SoA) and the Innovative (TALENT) configuration, per each of the use case, have been compared in terms of environmental performances, being constant the “service” provided (functional unit) to the end-user.

As regards the exploitation strategy of TALENT partners, RINA has elaborated a Plan for Use and Exploitation of Foreground, where a proper exploitation strategy supported by a lean approach to market outreach and reliable routes to market is proposed, to make sure that TALENT outcomes are tangible and sustainable once the project and the funding are over. The key exploitable results have been identified and characterized, together with relevant business models. In particular, nine key exploitable results have been identified and analyzed. Moreover, following the dedicated Workshop, a prioritization has been conducted to identify the most promising results under a business perspective. Of the five most promising KERs identified, a further Business Model (using the business model canvas methodology) and Technological Readiness Level roadmap analysis has been carried out, including the assessment of preliminary budget estimation to identify the financial gap to TALENT commercialization. Finally, a second Exploitation Workshop has been carried out in order to share the results of the task.

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