Microgrid Built in a Day for VERGE San Francisco

November 4, 2014 By Karen Henry

SFcablecar-Energy-ManageGreenBiz Group’s VERGE San Francisco’s conference and exhibition was powered by a renewable-energy-fueled microgrid that was built in a single day at the city’s historic Palace Hotel. The installation was part of a demonstration of  distributed energy systems.

According to an article on the GreenBiz website, the microgrid included a 100 kW biodiesel backup generator from Caterpillar, a 20 kW gasifier from All Power Labs, 20 kW of battery storage capacity provided by Stem and a grid-interactive electric-vehicle charging station designed by Spirae.

General Motors supplied electric vehicles for test rides during the event. Spirae supplied the control platform for the network.

The backup generator ran in idle mode so that only a small volume of biofuel was required to ramp up in case of a drop in output from other assets. The generator runs on biofuel derived from cooking grease collected from local restaurants, and the gassifer harnesses heat to transform solid biomass such as walnut shells and wood chips into synthetic renewable fuel.

According to Spirae, the system was designed to support about 25 to 35 kW of peak load in the Palace Hotel’s Gold and Grand Ballrooms, depending on when electric vehicles were charging.

The VERGE microgrid is a smaller version of several commercial microgrids that Spirae’s control platform will manage, including a system on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands and another that the company is working on with San Diego Gas & Electric.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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