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National Grid is installing Alcad Vantex rechargeable nickel-based batteries in a programme to upgrade the DC power backup systems at some of its gas compressor stations.

The Vantex batteries, developed to ensure maximum reliability and optimum total cost of ownership (TCO) in stationary industrial installations, will support vital control and safety functions at the compressor stations in the event of a loss of mains power.

National Grid has 25 compressor stations in Britain that boost gas pressure up to 85 bar to increase transmission capacity and move gas through the pipelines.

They are driven either by industrial gas turbines fuelled by gas taken from the pipeline or by electrical compressors.

The programme to upgrade the DC backup power systems at the compressor stations is focussing on three main types of battery systems: fire and gas detection; switchgear control; and emergency power.

The first two systems are supported by 24V batteries, while a 110V battery provides the emergency power.

One of the main contractors for the upgrade programme is PE Systems.

National Grid based its decision to select Alcad batteries on previous good service received from the company.

The first compressor station to have been fitted with the Alcad Vantex batteries is in Scotland.

The next site to be upgraded will be in the east of England.

Alcad is supplying and installing the Vantex batteries complete with battery stands.

According to Alcad, Vantex batteries feature the same robust construction and electrochemistry that has enabled the company’s nickel-based batteries to establish a track record for reliability and long life.

Vantex batteries are designed to deliver exceptional performance, low-maintenance requirements and long service life, even at operating temperatures of up to 40C.

The cells are assembled in blocks of up to six cells to facilitate transportation and are delivered ready filled with electrolyte to make installation fast and simple.

When filled, Vantex batteries can be stored for up to two years in normal conditions.

A key feature of the Vantex is its ability to deliver a high level of gas recombination (around 90 per cent) and low gas-emission levels.

This low-maintenance concept means that the Vantex battery may require just one topping-up operation throughout its entire service life.

In addition, Vantex offers very good chargeability, reaching more than 95 per cent of its capacity in less than 15 hours using single-level low-voltage charging.

Vantex is available in a wide range of capacities, from 15 to 1,700Ah, with a choice of L-type plates for relatively long discharge periods, or M type plates to sustain loads from between 30 minutes to three hours.

The battery’s robust nickel-based construction and engineered electrolyte ensures a long and predictable service life, in contrast to VRLA batteries, which can suffer from sudden-death failure, especially in high temperatures.

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