Shell Tech Center Demos Microgrid With PV, Storage And Natural Gas

A Black & Veatch-designed microgrid at Shell’s Technology Center in Houston is actively powering part of the campus while serving as a research tool for Shell International Exploration & Production Co. Inc.’s work to explore clean power and distributed energy technologies.

The demonstration microgrid, installed earlier this year, combines 300 kW of ground-mounted solar; a 127 kW natural gas generator; a 250 kW, 1,050 MWh lithium-ion battery; and a 250 kW load bank. The project will soon be expanded to include additional battery energy storage system technologies and electric vehicle chargers.

The system provides clean, resilient energy for a facility on the 200-acre Shell Technology Center Houston (STCH) campus. Home to nearly 2,000 Shell scientists, technologists and engineers, the STCH is the largest of the three Shell technology hubs; the others are in Amsterdam and Bangalore.

“By serving as a platform for hands-on research, the microgrid allows Shell to analyze different scenarios in renewable energy systems integration, providing an elevated level of technology assurance and insight,” says Dustin Rogge, project manager at Black & Veatch. “By enabling the testing, demonstration and development of sustainable power solutions, the microgrid allows Shell to better understand complex distributed energy integration challenges. With this knowledge, Shell can accelerate its development and move solutions quickly to market.”

“This project is an important step in Shell’s efforts to explore and develop new energy technologies as we work towards our goal to power progress together by providing more and cleaner energy solutions,” adds Jon La Follett, energy system integration and storage program lead in Shell’s New Energies Research and Technology Department. “Our New Energies business is working diligently to develop game-changing energy solutions, not just in urban areas like Houston, but in rural and remote areas around the world, from Asia to Africa.”

Paired with the ASSET360 cloud-based data analytics platform, which is available through Black & Veatch’s software subsidiary, Atonix Digital, the microgrid raises STCH’s resilience and reliability by providing critical services during a power outage or other service anomaly. Designed to provide actionable insights about the microgrid’s performance, ASSET360 allows Shell operators to optimize operation based on energy demand, solar production and other conditions.

“The microgrid is already generating value for STCH by providing resilient, renewable power for part of our campus,” La Follett notes. “And by exporting power to the local grid, we are generating economic benefit.”

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