July 3, 2019
Binghamton U partners to develop warehouse energy solutions
Faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York will develop and demonstrate a new energy storage process and solution for warehouse energy management. The solution will use solar panels, a stationary energy storage system and lithium-ion batteries on forklifts that will reduce energy costs for warehouse owners.
Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the project will allow researchers to work with The Raymond Corporation, a manufacturer of electric forklift trucks and intralogistics solutions, to develop an economically viable storage demonstration project. The project is designed to demonstrate why a behind-the-meter storage system and controllable forklift charging can be beneficial for warehouse owners and the utility grid. Ziang (John) Zhang, principal investigator, and Pritam Das, co-principal investigator, both assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, will work closely with Raymond engineers to manage the energy generation, storage and consumption of lithium-ion batteries in their forklift trucks, according to a report by Bing U News.
“We are honored to be selected by NYSERDA to support its clean energy initiative with research that includes a solar power system (photovoltaic), a stationary energy storage system, and several forklift battery chargers,” said Zhang. “We believe this partnership with Raymond can give the industry an example of what future warehouse energy systems look like and how it can benefit all parties involved.”
Electric forklift trucks are traditionally powered by lead-acid batteries, which can have an extended recharge time of up to eight hours. In many high-use warehouses, several of these shifts may overlap where each forklift truck may have two or three batteries utilized per truck – one in use, one on recharge, and one cooling down in storage. Lithium-ion batteries provide great benefits to Raymond’s customers, but the fast-charging feature may cause significant energy demands to warehouse owners during peak times, which is why this project was developed.
The proposed solution can turn warehouses into a controllable energy hub which can be optimized to support the power grid during normal and peak grid conditions. Binghamton University will work with New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) to estimate the grid benefit/impact of the proposed system. Preliminary analysis includes an estimation of how the system impacts the efficiency of the local circuit. “Controllable distributed energy resources, such as battery storage, will play a significant role in managing the electricity grid in the future. We are excited to be working with Binghamton University and The Raymond Corporation on this exciting project,” said Carl Taylor, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E.