Next-level sustainability

Since their debut in 2022, Atlas Copco’s Zenergize battery energy storage systems have provided clean power without compromising on efficiency or the environment.

According to the 2023 Clean Energy Australia report, battery storage is expected to grow significantly as an essential part of the world’s ongoing energy transition.

A battery energy storage system, also known as BESS, is used in off-grid applications and can boost the limited grid available by efficiently storing and delivering energy to match the load demand.

To match growing demand for these systems, original equipment manufacturer, also known as OEM, Atlas Copco introduced its Zenergize range in 2022.

BESS units in the Zenergize range are powered by lithium-ion, also known as li-ion, phosphate batteries and are 70 per cent more compact than traditional alternatives – making transportation and usability easier.

The Zenergize range can run in conjunction with diesel generators, solar or wind.

“There are many different types of lithium that can be used, but lithium-ion phosphate is considered the safest,” Atlas CEA general sales manager Kevin Ennis told Australian Mining.

Atlas Copco’s BESS units can deliver more than 12 hours of power with a single charge. They can also be charged from very low to full in fewer than 60 minutes, helping to ensure operators don’t experience unnecessary downtime.

Zenergize units can be used as stand-alone sources of power or in conjunction with other sources such as diesel, solar, mains power and wind.

If operated alone, the Zenergize system will generate zero greenhouse gas emissions, while any emissions reduced by up to 50 per cent when operated in hybrid mode alongside a generator.

“They can offset the diesel generators, so (operators) aren’t running them as much,” Ennis said.

Units in the Zenergize range can replace a generator when noise levels are a concern or when fumes from diesel are not allowed.

“Where we’re seeing a big niche now is, where a generator would be used 24–7, these batteries supplement the generator, so the site is run from the battery and the generator feeds the battery,” Ennis said.

Customers who purchase a Zenergize unit are able to choose a size best suited for their specific operations.

As part of the range’s expansion, Atlas Copco announced five new models in July. The additions include a medium-sized ZBC 300-300 unit, a line of four smaller battery-based storage systems – the ZPB 45-60, ZBP 45-75, ZBP 15-60 – and the ZBP 2000 with two flexible solar panels.

“The range has changed to suit the market,” Ennis said. “A far larger model has been introduced. It’s a 1000-kilowatt (kW) machine, which means it can run at 1000kW for one hour. When it comes to portable products that can be shipped in 20-foot containers, we’re currently not aware of any competitive brands that currently stock anything that matches this size.

“We’ve diversified the sizes that we believe are required in the market, so we have a 45kW, 100kW, 250kW, 500kW, and now the 1000kW.”

Anyone who invests in a Zenergize BESS unit will be investing in quality and longevity. The range offers 40,000 hours of uninterrupted operation and an overload capability of 150 per cent – leading to low total cost of ownership and maintenance.

“At one site, it was calculated they were saving about $1200 a week in diesel on only a 45kW unit,” Ennis said “Not only are these units being used more than diesel generators, but you’d go from 18 services a year to under three, so you don’t have all those service costs. It’s a massive difference; a game-changer.”

In Australia, servicing for the Zenergize BESS units is carried out by Atlas CEA – Atlas Copco’s Australian distributor – with trained technicians available to help customers if any difficulties arise.

“Atlas Copco is putting a lot of their focus on battery technology and hybrid technology,” Ennis said. “It’s an exciting time for Atlas CEA.”

This feature appeared in the November 2023 issue of Australian Mining.

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