Firefly Hybrid Power Ltd
We are an innovative cleantech company headquartered in the UK. Our hybrid solutions have been used to power festivals, construction sites and telecoms infrastructure since 2007. With being one of the core components of a hybrid power system, we recognise that the battery technology must be carefully selected for use in our systems. Firefly Hybrid Power carry out extensive R&D on all battery types, and select the most appropriate medium to ensure that performance and longevity is guaranteed. Firefly Hybrid Power utilise AGM technology for lead acid storage systems. AGM provides electrical storage in the form of a; robust, well-proven, cost effective and sealed medium. This is my first blog entry for Firefly and I am hugely excited to be involved with Firefly, particularly working with Firefly Communities. This really is my ideal project, allocating direct funding into projects that have the highest beneficial impact on the world.
AGM systems are relatively straightforward in their construction and maintenance and don’t normally require any sophisticated level of management.
Lithium battery systems offers significantly improved performance, when compared with lead acid battery systems. Lithium technology boasts superior cyclic life, where typical cyclic life can range from 4,000 – 6,000 cycles. Another core feature of lithium-based systems is the ability for the vast majority of the cell’s capacity to be fully utilised, irrespective of discharge rate; whereas AGM starts to see a drop in available capacity as the batteries start to be heavily loaded. The opposite is also true, where lithium systems can generally be charged at a quicker rate when compared with AGM, which normally results in more efficient use of charging sources.
Relative to AGM, lithium provides a more energy dense package and can result in significant weight reductions. A Battery Management System (BMS) is required for lithium storage to ensure cells are appropriately, charged/discharged, balanced and maintained.
Lithium based systems continue to increase in popularity and are widespread in their application. Making the choice between a lithium and AGM system will ultimately depend on the view between CAPEX and OPEX. In short, Lithium currently has a higher cost attached to the initial acquisition but sees much reduced O&M as cells do not normally require replacement. AGM systems currently have a lower cost associated with them but will normally require cell replacement after a few years of typical use.
We have developed and successfully implemented our own control software & hardware, tailored to suit effective control of our hybrid systems. We have fine-tuned our software & hardware solutions over the years and developed them to be flexible and dynamically adjusted to suit virtually any application.
Through years of experience, we recognised that there were and still are, issues surrounding how someone interacts with a hybrid power system. Some found issue with configuring parameters to fine tune their application, some found that it was hard to gauge system performance and stats and others found it challenging being able clearly identify the core function of how to setup a hybrid system.
Through careful development and delivery of a uniquely developed graphical user interface, we have worked to minimise uncertainty and maximise ease of hybrid integration. The user interface is designed to allow for ease of; initial commissioning, performance assessment, reporting, configuration, O&M activities & decommissioning.
Another result of centralising control means that users are able to create custom logic/alarming/reporting sequences. This ensures that a user is given the best tools available for effective integration of hybrid equipment. The controller features unique compression method allowing data to be efficiently stored and uploaded to our Glow RFM cloud platform, using minimal levels of data. Our control system is flexible in how it connects to the internet, whether it be via 3G/4G networks or hardwired.