AEP to Conduct Sodium Sulfur Battery Demonstration

December 26, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

American Electric Power (AEP, Columbus, OH) will conduct the first US demonstration to test the combined power quality and peak shaving capabilities of the sodium sulfur (NAS) battery, an advanced electrical energy-storage technology that promises vast improvements over conventional batteries.

The demonstration project is expected to be in service by mid-2002. The cost, performance and benefits of NAS technology will be evaluated during the following two years. AEP, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO, Tokyo, Japan) and NGK Insulators Ltd. (NGK, Nagoya, Japan) finalized an agreement on December 4, 2001, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU sets forth the interests of each party. TEPCO and NGK have successfully developed, tested and demonstrated the NAS battery in Japan for a broad range of applications, and TEPCO will offer commercial NAS battery systems to their commercial and industrial customers beginning in April 2002. NGK has committed to expand to a commercial-scale NAS battery production facility in Japan, with start-up projected by April 2003.

“Power quality has become increasingly important as commercial and industrial customers need uninterrupted power for electronic controls and processes. Even momentary voltage sags or spikes are not acceptable to many customers,” stated Tom Shockley, AEP vice chairman and COO. “Further, with a NAS battery installation sited to serve a local peak load, you get a ‘distributed resource’ to replace some of the peak electricity from a central station generating plant and distribution system. By storing off-peak energy at night, this improves utilization of the utility’s generation and transmission and distribution assets, and yields cost-effective premium power to the utility’s customers.”