The importance of energy storage seems to grow year by year. Both the green transition and security of supply are on the agenda. Enico Oy has developed a portable energy storage system, for which Lumikko has designed and manufactured an integrated cooling system.
One of the innovators in energy storage is Lumikko’s customer, Enico Oy, founded in 2019. Its electric energy storage solution is based on lithium-ion batteries – similar to those used in electric cars. Enico’s CEO Marko Lähteenmäki says that energy storage goes hand in hand with the green transition:
– In order for the power grid to work, electricity consumption and production must be balanced. The green transition requires a “flexibility tool” that can store renewable energy when it is produced and feed it back when there is a need. That tool is energy storage, Lähteenmäki says.
In addition to storing and optimizing renewable energy, energy storage has many other benefits.
– The storage can be used for many different purposes simultaneously. You can capture cheap night electricity and use or sell it to the grid during the day when the electricity price is high, Lähteenmäki says.
There are numerous applications for portable energy storage, from large construction sites to electric car charging stations. Enico’s storage systems are inherently scalable and modular, and capacity can be increased up to hundreds of megawatts.
– Our average unit capacity is about 500 kilowatt hours, which corresponds to the battery capacity of just over five powerful electric cars.
Cooling is essential in energy storage
When electric energy is stored and converted, the efficiency is not 100 percent, but there is inevitably waste. It is practically heat that must be dissipated or recovered either by air or liquid. Lumikko has designed and manufactured a liquid cooling solution for Enico’s energy storage systems.
– I would see that in the future, energy storage cooling will focus on the liquid-cooled side. Its efficiency is better when compared to air cooling. In liquid cooling, we can continue to increase efficiency and optimize space utilization inside the energy storage container, as no air space is required for cooling. Thermal management is both more accurate and easier in liquid cooling, says Ville Saikkonen, who leads Lumikko’s product development and projects.
Customized solutions require solution orientation and careful information gathering
Enico’s background team had previous experience working with Lumikko. Therefore, the company knew that Lumikko would have the necessary expertise to tailor the cooling solution.
– It was clear to us that we needed an integrated cooling system for our storage. We didn’t even consider the option of buying a bulk product from the market, which could possibly fit in there by modifying our own equipment, Lähteenmäki says.
When the cooling solution needs to fit into a limited space, mechanical design and component selection play a big role. Lumikko knows how to find and implement functional solutions for challenging places where space is exceptionally scarce.
– We have had a functional mechanical design ourselves, and its coordination with Lumikko’s mechanical design has been effortless. I appreciate Lumikko’s basic idea: no matter what customer it is, they make a cooling solution that adapts to their needs. It is a very solution-oriented approach, Lähteenmäki says.
The key to customizing the solution is to accurately determine the initial data. This requires cooperation and active information exchange with the customer.
– An important part of our expertise is that we ask the right questions at the beginning of the project. Experience also gives us the ability to anticipate potential problem areas well in advance, Saikkonen says.
Future guarantor of maintenance security?
Energy storage technology can be used to promote and maintain the energy self-sufficiency and security of supply of society. Their importance is growing and growing.
– Energy storage can potentially play a big role in securing the operation of various sized targets: cities, municipalities, defense properties and critical infrastructure. In addition, there is electrifying transport – building the necessary charging infrastructure is not possible in the big picture without energy storage, Lähteenmäki sums up.
– In these devices, extremely important is their dependability and reliability, if they are relied on to manage the peaks of the main grid. You have to be able to trust that there is no risk of overheating, for example, when there is a need for energy charging. In the future, there may also be new requirements for the equipment, such as extreme conditions and the mobility of the storage. The industry is in turmoil, and cooling solutions are being developed alongside energy storage, Saikkonen says.
Lumikko offers support for the entire life cycle of the equipment in addition to the design and manufacture of the cooling solution. This is valued at Enico.
– We usually get to offer 10-year maintenance contracts for our own equipment. In the end, we are as good as our partner network and its involvement. It is essential that the partner walks the same path with us now and in the future, Lähteenmäki concludes.
Enico Oy has developed a portable energy storage system, for which Lumikko has designed and manufactured an integrated cooling system.