Sparton Resources announces that commissioning of the Zhangbei project’s 8 Megawatt Hour Vanadium Flow Battery was successfully completed in China on January 23. The battery was operated continuously for 10 days at 100% of its design capacity and was shown to be capable of exceeding specifications by approximately 10%.
The final phase involved State Grid North China Company Limited’s smoothing test using State Grid’s proprietary software program and this was completed satisfactorily. The 240 hour test involved daily charging and discharging of the entire unit with 2 megawatts of power and 8 megawatt hours of energy released in each cycle. Power was harnessed from the Zhangbei project’s 200sqkm wind and solar renewable energy installations.
The performance tests were monitored on a 24-hour basis by Sparton engineers and technicians from State Grid to ensure that the battery met design protocols.
This work completed the final phase of the commissioning program.
Both State Grid and Sparton technicians have indicated they are extremely pleased with the program and will prepare comprehensive reports on the test
procedures and results. These will be submitted shortly to State Grid for acceptance, after which State Grid will be invoiced for the next payment.
Funding for the commissioning project has been carried out by VanSpar Mining, a 90.4%-owned Sparton subsidiary. In the past two months, VanSpar has raised C$205,000 in convertible debt which could, if the conversion feature is exercised by all of the current debt holders, reduce Sparton’s ownership in VanSpar to approximately 85% fully diluted.
Funds raised by VanSpar have been advanced to Jiujiang Sparton Vanadium Trade and Tech Co Ltd (JJSP), a Sino Foreign Chinese joint venture company 90%-owned by VanSpar. JJSP has the commissioning contract with the builder of the battery. Additional financing efforts by VanSpar are continuing.
With the test period successfully completed, once acceptance is received from State Grid, a payment, which is expected to be up to RMB 16.44 million (approximately US$2.64 million), will become payable by State Grid to JJSP’s client, the battery builder, under a court-supervised payment process. After certain deductions are approved by the court for payment, expected to be in the range of RMB10.56 million, (approximately US$1.7 million), the balance will be available for payment to JJSP by its client and JJSP will then repay VanSpar.
The commissioning contract further provides for JJSP to continue the service obligations of its client for this battery by providing three years of maintenance on the installation.
The Zhangbei project, launched in May 2010 by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the National Energy Bureau is operated by State Grid. It is about 180km north of Beijing near Zhangjiakou, in Hebei Province. It integrates wind power, solar power, energy storage and smart grid transmission technologies.
Clean power generated by this project supplies a portion of north China’s energy needs. The energy storage equipment installed and being tested on site includes the 8Mw Hour Vanadium Flow Battery commissioned by VanSpar. Zhangbei is China’s largest wind and solar energy electricity generation and storage installation.
Sparton president Lee Barker said, “Since initiating the commissioning project last fall, we have learned a lot about vanadium battery technology. We are very pleased to be working with a very professional and motivated team who successfully executed a difficult and challenging program under fixed time constraints and difficult weather conditions.
“Outside temperatures in the area dropped to as low as -40 C. during the work and the staff maintained an around the clock monitoring program in the battery building to ensure that the work went well. We look forward to cooperating with them on future programs.
“During the commissioning we also received excellent cooperation from State Grid, the largest utility in the world.
“We believe that we have successfully demonstrated the benefits of the vanadium flow battery system for large scale energy storage and distribution and have contributed to China’s national goal of reducing pollution and establishing significantly more renewable energy electricity production.”