Solenco Powerbox™

Background

Concept


The missing link for mass uptake of wind and solar PV

The Powerbox is a fully integrated solution for storing excess renewable energy.
It can store all excess energy generated from Solar PV or wind and convert it back into electricity & heat:

Background

How it works


Reversible fuel cell process

Electricity needs are covered by the solar panels during day time and only the surplus is sent to the SPB™ to be stored as hydrogen. When there’s no sunshine, electricity and heat are produced by the SPB™ from the stored hydrogen.

Excess renewable energy is used to generate green hydrogen.
It stores energy
for long term
(from hours to seasons)

It assists the hot water needs for heating and sanitary water.
If production of heat would be higher than requested, heat is stored in a hot water tank

The Powerbox
is a triple- zero-carbon system. Production, storage, and usage
are free of greenhouse gases.

Background

Specifications


The Powerbox has the following integrated components that work seemlessly together and are controlled via a cloud enabled software platform:

  • Electrolyser mode
  • Fuel cell mode
  • Power electronics and AC/DC rectification and conversion
  • Water treatment system
  • Hot water tank and cooling loop
  • Safety system
  • Smart energy software control system

The hydrogen compression and storage is not integrated and is done in gas vessels that are certified for high pressure hydrogen storage.
The Powerbox can be delivered for indoor or outdoor applications.

Solenco Powerbox Specifications Table
Table - Solenco Powerbox Specifications
Solenco Powerbox
Electrolysis Mode 1.0 Nm³ / h
Fuel Cell Mode 5 kW
Output pressure 20 bar
Electrical configuration Monophasic
Outer dimensions (Indoor version) LxWxH 0,82x1,40x1,80(m)

Reversible Process
Power kW


Hydrogen Storage
Energy kWh


Power
Management System


Cloud
Web
Application


Background

Safety & Control


Safety & certification

All the Solenco Power products have a CE declaration and are in conformity with the essential requirements of the following legislation. This conformity was checked in accordance with the following standards

Solenco Powerbox Specifications Table
Table - Solenco Powerbox: directives and standards
Solenco Powerbox
Gas appliance regulation (GAR) - 2016/426/EU
Solenco's hydrogen storage
- Directive -
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) - 2014/30/EU
Low voltage directive (LVD) - 2014/35/EU
Pressure equipment directive (PED) - 2014/68/EU
- Standard -
Safety Systems for unfired pressure equipment - EN764-7
Safety devices for protection against excessive pressure - EN ISO4126-1:2004

Monitoring & control software

The monitoring control platform enables data acquisition, data analytics, remote updates, and maintenance of the installations. Each installation will be connected to the platform through a controller. That controller is the brain of the Solenco Powerbox, where the logic and communication with the different sensors and sub devices is located locally (self-sufficient in case of internet outage). The controller will send data to the platform regarding the performance constantly. This communication between controller and platform will be bidirectional, securing the optimal operation at any time.
While the monitoring platform will remain active, Solenco’s production environment (and Solenco developers) will use all the data acquired to generate updates, using data analytics. The results of that data understanding, together with energy profiles, weather data and user behavior and existing prefab models, will provide information in how to optimize the operation of each installation.

Background

Most frequently asked questions & answers


What is the advantage of the Solenco Powerbox?

Hydrogen-based renewable storage has the following advantages:

  • The storage capacity is unlimited and it is possible with a sufficiently large PV installation to store enough energy in the summer to bridge the winter. Hydrogen can therefore be used as a long-term storage facility to provide buildings with green energy throughout the year
  • The entire system is completely CO 2 -free. No fossil fuel is used anywhere
  • There are no toxic materials in the Powerbox and the lifespan is long
  • The system provides electricity and heat to homes in an efficient manner

Can I be fully autonomous with a Solenco Powerbox?

This is of course possible, but is not really necessary if there is a stable and reliable electricity network. The role of the grid will evolve in the future to smartly share electricity with others. In the future, we will evolve more and more towards a “smart” grid that will coordinate all available (mostly decentralized) devices for production, storage and consumption as closely as possible via smart software. Just think of charging cars when the sun is shining or storing energy when there is a lot of wind at night but little consumption and there are many more examples.

Is a Solenco Powerbox better than a home battery?

The Solenco Powerbox can do what a home battery does for short term energy storage and adds long term (seasonal) storage based on hydrogen. It is a hybrid system that combines the power of batteries (many cycles with little electrical loss and fast response) with the power of hydrogen (very large energy storage in a smaller volume and for a lower price per kWh). Everything is controlled by a smart energy management system.

Batteries only store and supply electricity with a shorter lifetime. The Powerbox provides electricity and heat in an environmentally friendly energy storage technology without toxic components.

Can the Solenco Powerbox heat my building?

The Solenco Powerbox is a so-called µCHP (micro combined heat and power device) that supplies both electricity and heat. In most situations, the Powerbox alone will not provide sufficient heat output to heat up a building completely. That is why a connection with a heating system, eg a heat pump, is recommended. Exact calculations must be made for every situation.

Does the Solenco Powerbox offer a solution for the future capacity tariff?

Since the Powerbox tries to use as little energy from the grid as possible and always use the stored energy first, peak consumption is avoided. The capacity tariff is based on your largest consumption peaks over a period (eg per month) to determine what tariff you will have to pay for your electricity. Due to the Powerbox, these consumption peaks will be considerably lower, provided the installation is correctly dimensioned in relation to consumption.

How big is the Solenco Powerbox and the hydrogen storage?

The ground surface of the Powerbox is the size of a pallet (80 * 120 cm) and is approximately 180 cm high. The storage tanks have a surface area of 1m2 per 600 kWh energy storage.

What is my self-consumption with the Solenco Powerbox?

An average PV installation on a home without energy storage typically has its own consumption (simultaneous consumption) of 30% of the yield of the installation. The surplus is injected into the grid. This percentage naturally depends on the size of the installation and the consumption profile and is different for each situation.

The powerbox system can bring this self-consumption to an average of 80-90% and if the storage is sufficiently large and / or the consumption is very efficient, even up to 100%.

So aren’t there any downsides?

Hydrogen has been used in industry for decades. However, it is not yet common in our daily life and the built environment. We are familiar with natural gas and liquid fossil fuels for heating and transport, but hydrogen is still unknown and therefore new in our daily lives. There is no mass production at the moment, which makes the components relatively expensive. Prices will fall due to increasing volumes.

Hydrogen is stored as a gas under pressure, so safety is an important aspect. The necessary regulations and safety protocols in this area must be respected. The Solenco Powerbox installations are subjected to thorough inspections and certifications before they are put into use.

Do I still need a grid connection for gas and electricity?

A gas connection is not necessary if you heat with a heat pump. An electricity connection is recommended for smart energy sharing and participation in the future smart grid.

How efficient is the Solenco Powerbox?

The energy efficiency is over 90% for generating electricity and heat from hydrogen.

What is the power and how much energy can I store with it?

The Solenco Powerbox has an input and output power of 5 kW nominal. This means that up to 5 kW of electrical power can be converted into hydrogen as input. The output is also 5 kW electrical nominal. Peak output power can go up to 10 kW for a short time. During operation, heat is also released that can be used via a hot water tank to support the building’s heating demand.

The advantage of energy storage based on hydrogen is that power and energy storage are separate and can be dimensioned independently of each other. The storage of energy in this way is only limited by the available storage volume of the gas tanks. 1 kg of hydrogen contains approximately 33.33 kWh of energy. A tank of 1 m3 can store up to 600 kWh of energy under high pressure (300 bar). Several tanks can be connected to a Powerbox.

Does the Solenco Powerbox provide a solution for the rollback counter?

PV solar that cannot be used immediately is converted and stored as hydrogen gas under pressure. This PV energy is therefore not injected into the grid, which makes the Powerbox a solution for using self-generated electricity as well. The investment is still high today, which means that in most cases there is no quick payback time.

When can I buy the Solenco Powerbox?

A limited number of installations are currently being tested in real situations (pilot projects). The Solenco Powerbox is therefore not yet for sale to the general public. You can stay informed of our developments by subscribing to our newsletter on our contact page

What will the price of a Powerbox be?

Currently, this form of energy storage is most interesting in combination with large PV installations, eg for companies and / or for buildings with several residential units. Today, a Powerbox is also an interesting option for project development with communal facilities to increase self-consumption and make it more sustainable. For a typical residential single-family home, the investment is still significant today. Solenco expects that if production volumes increase, prices can fall sharply and become interesting also for single-family homes.