Augmenting building demand response capabilities with intelligent controls and on-site, safe and ultra-low cost Zn-MnO2 batteries

(1) ELECTRICITY SUPPLY: Reducing grid stress and high peak generation cost and emissions by extending buildings’ DR capabilities. (2) BUILDING OPERATORS: Reducing costs by exploiting tariff arbitrage. (3) BUILDING OCCUPANTS: Improving comfort and productivity by limiting need for actual curtailments.

The project aims to develop solutions to provide better energy storage, reduce grid stress, and improve energy efficiency. Novel high performance/low cost batteries can enhance demand response (DR) capabilities of modern Building Automation Systems (BAS). New York-based Urban Electric Power developed rechargeable grid-scale battery systems based on safe and ultra-low cost Zn-MnO2 chemistry used in household batteries. These batteries decrease peak loads in urban areas and, in conjunction with Siemens’ Smart Energy Box, controls optimal system operation, adding a DR brain to more traditional BAS. Columbia University and CUNY provide expertise in regional tariffs and optimal storage dispatch algorithms towards minimized building ownership cost. NY-BEST provides independent testing and advisory, including the context of new REV rules that promote adoption of distributed energy resources in New York City. Currently, large scale applications of cyber physical systems such as BAS can already provide significant DR. However, benefits from a smarter and more stable grid are ultimately limited by the need to maintain utility and comfort for building occupants. Adding battery storage to such a system alleviates these constraints, thus providing more synergies for smarter grids and integration of renewable energy. Future project plans include pilot demonstrations of the technology in New York City buildings such as large office buildings, mix-used university buildings, and public schools.

Acknowledgments: The team gratefully acknowledges financial support by NYSERDA and NSF.

Team Information: Urban Electric Power (UEP); Siemens Corporate Technology; Columbia University; City University of New York; NY-BEST, We are an academic/private sector mixed team bringing together core expertise in advanced battery technology (UEP), building automation systems (Siemens), and storage dispatch algorithms (Columbia).

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