Energy storage (ES) software: The key to Smart Grid success

-December 12, 2012

I recently spoke to John Jung, CEO of Greensmith Energy Management Systems, a leading provider of intelligent, distributed energy storage control systems. I wanted to understand the key benefits of his “battery agnostic” approach to distributed energy storage

Jung commented that Greensmith is not just a battery seller. Their solutions will work with any battery the customer chooses. Jung’s company has these unique characteristics:

  1. They are computer-oriented, as opposed to battery oriented companies
  2. They are value-driven by energy storage, understand the customers overall needs and can provide an innovative turn-key energy storage solution for multi-functional applications including integration of renewable generation onto the grid, shifting load from peak to off-peak hours, and improving power quality to maintain grid stability.
  3. They look at and plan a system for the customer that takes into account what the grid will look like in 5 years, with multi-layered software.

Jung has also said, “Energy storage can be computerized to use real-time information, connect to and optimize other grid systems and assets, and behave as an intelligent device or network of devices. Instead of thinking about energy storage as batteries in a box, it might be more productive for the industry to visualize energy storage as an intelligent computer that contains batteries and inverters“

We discussed the analogy of analog vs. digital power as a difference between the standard solutions for ES based on just better batteries (analog) vs. Greensmith’s computerized and software –centric approach (digital).

Greensmith solutions will manage the many thousands of energy storage systems customers may have out there; provide fleet management by orchestrating with versatile management of all the ES blocks with a versatile solution; provide a resilient network that can take out 100 failed ES and still work up to the customer’s expectations.

The company holds several patents in the areas of intelligent control, integration and storage of electricity, which enable the electric power industry to efficiently leverage existing resources and facilitate the deployment of renewable energy sources.

Their proprietary control software and Battery Operating System (BOS3) technology enable distributed energy system deployments with centralized operations through an online user portal or via machine-to-machine integration. All of Greensmith's turn-key DESS units include the latest BOS3 communication technology and software. In addition, each DESS unit is configurable, modular, and scalable from residential to commercial to utility scale deployments.

The Greensmith Battery Operating System Gen III (BOS3) includes the following firmware:

  • Battery Management System (BMS) which monitors, balances and protects battery cells.
  • Power Management which controls power input and output on demand, both real power and reactive power.
  • Energy Management which supports DESS applications such as peak shaving, renewable integration and load following.
  • Remote Communication which supports TCP/IP based remote control interfaces such as Modbus and Web Services.

BOS3 is built on an open information architecture modeled after the “Open Automation Demand Response Standard” approved by the Department of Energy.  This event-based asset management architecture easily integrates into any utility framework.  Average installation time is under three hours.

End-users have access to the BOS3 software through an online web-portal interface. This interface provides users with central control and highly flexible distributed deployment, tailoring DESS groups to specific applications (i.e. frequency regulation, PV load following) while still retaining the ability to centrally control any or all of the units.

A unique set of algorithms run the software package for each end-user application (i.e. frequency regulation, PV load following).  See more about the turn-key software packages available here.

The BOS3 also supports extended logic for customizable application solutions.

Power Vault Distributed Energy Storage Systems include the following components:

  • Battery pack – Greensmith utilizes “battery agnostic” technology, enabling selection of battery specs and manufacturer.
  • Power Converstion System – A bi-directional inverter which can also control real and reactive power at fully rated KVA.
  • Greensmith’s Standard Battery Trays – Each tray holds sixteen battery cells and the BMS electronics. All trays are individually swappable for maintenance purposes.
  • Power Vault storage unit – battery racks each containing eight battery trays, stringed together to form a Power Vault unit.
  • DESS Control Unit – hardware which provides controls, battery sensing, and remote communication support.
  • AC Power Measurement – provides inputs to control operations such as PV firming and load following.
  • 3G Wireless Communication Module  – An optional component that connects Power Vault units to the Internet or utility WAN from locations where wired connectivity is unavailable.
  • Fire Suppression System – This is an additional level of protection beyond the BOS3 battery protection mechanism.
  • Shipping Containers – Modified 20 Foot and 40 Foot Standard Shipping Containers house all of the above components. They are modified to comply with NEMA3R requirements and have an added ventilation system.


Greensmith units are configurable, modular, and scalable from residential to commercial to utility scale deployments

Greensmith units are often installed alongside distributed grid assets. For example, three Greensmith installations include both smart EV charging stations and rooftop solar photovoltaic load following. Their suite of control and communication software integrates with an entire network of ancillary devices for the smart grid, an evolving system that can change with the smart grid ecosystem.

Battery-agnostic architecture

Greensmith maintains a battery-agnostic architecture which allows the company to offer multiple battery options to its customers today, and new options in the future as battery technologies continue to advance. The company's growth is due, in part, to its ability to design systems around applications, as opposed to competitor approaches which tend to develop capabilities around the functionality of one specific battery.  This unique approach allows Greensmith to offer effective solutions to customers as well as a high level of flexibility, with solutions that typically rapidly install and take commands in an installation process of only 3 hours. Its battery-agnosticism also allows Greensmith to keep pace with the rapidly changing battery marketplace as technologies and cost structures change.

Martin Rowe recently covered the company in “The Connecting Edge”

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