Inside Blue Nova’s battery-loaded backup power container

Blue Nova Energy recently launched its new production facility in Pretoria, saying that it was its first step towards its goal of producing 200MWh of storage capacity per month in 2022.

That 200MWh will mostly be made up of its Intelligent Energy Storage Systems (iESS) and products from their HV series, Blue Nova stated.

Blue Nova unveiled its MegaBoy iESS in February last year, offering scalable power storage with 50–500kWh in a 3m container, 100–1000kWh in a 6m container and 500–3000 kWh in a 12m container.

The 6m MegaBoy that can store up to 1MWh of electricity offers a maximum power output of 250kW.

For high-demand on-grid applications, clients can scale the system to multiple units to store up to 800MW with an output of 200MWh, while off-grid applications can get up to 80MW storage and power output of 20MWh.

The MegaBoy can draw power from multiple sources, including PV solar arrays, wind turbines, fuel-based generators, and the grid itself.

Blue Nova Energy CEO and co-founder James Verster said the system could be used for load-shedding, load-shifting, peak-shaving, voltage and frequency stabilisation, and power factor correction.

He said that these systems could pay for themselves in the long run by charging during off-peak hours, or from renewable sources like solar power, then using the stored energy during peak times.

The system also helps reduce the load on South Africa’s strained power grid and provides backup power during grid failures.

Blue Nova MegaBoy backup power container

The MegaBoy’s container was designed to be moved and placed in residential, commercial, industrial, and electric vehicle charging applications.

The maximum capacity ensures it is transportable and can be dropped in locations in Africa where access by road is difficult, Verster said.

For operational safety, the container is divided into two compartments: the DC Bus, which holds the batteries, and the AC Bus, where the inverters and control systems are located.

An integrated air conditioning system keeps the battery compartment’s ambient temperature between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. The inverter has a forced-air cooling system and is capable of running at 60-degree ambient temperature.

The system includes built-in fire suppression, access control, and Remote Management and Control for monitoring and control while off-site.

AC section of the Blue Nova MegaBoy backup power container

Blue Nova uses self-developed EMS and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePYO4) batteries which can store up to 1MWh of energy.

These packs use 240 1,250Ah cells placed in series. The batteries can operate in ambient temperatures from –20 to 85 degrees Celsius and have a 25-year lifespan.

Verster said these batteries are used by the US Navy and in two Chinese Nuclear submarines.

For the MegaBoy’s inverter, Blue Nova Energy partnered with Chinese company Kehua Tech — a company that supplies components to Tesla and SMA Solar Technology.

Battery/DC section of the Blue Nova MegaBoy backup power container

Verster said the estimated cost of the MegaBoy would be just over $400 (R6,000) per kWh.

This would amount to around R6 million per unit with a storage capacity of 1MWh.

He said the price per kWh decreases significantly when requirements run into the tens of MWh.

Additional photos taken at Blue Nova Energy’s production facility in Pretoria

Blue Nova Energy facility in Pretoria
Integrated air-conditioning of the Blue Nova MegaBoy backup power container
Blue Nova Energy’s HV systems

Now read: Tesla Powerwall — Price and availability in South Africa

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Inside Blue Nova’s battery-loaded backup power container