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Case Studies

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Case Study

A Hybrid, Cost-Effective Oil & Gas Platform Powering System for the North Sea

Location: Danish sector of the North Sea
Year: 2016
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 and TS-MPPT-45 controllers
System size: ~10kW for a 800W continuous load and a 24V, 4800Ah battery bank
Partners include: JCE Energy

JCE Energy’s client sought a cost-effective system to supply power to telecommunications systems, navigation aid systems, bird deterrent systems, foghorns and other applications on its unmanned platform in the Danish North Sea. Operating on an unmanned platform in a remote location at sea, the system had to be fully operational without any human supervision, and sufficiently weatherized to withstand the harsh conditions of the North Sea.

JCE also had to consider the weight of the system to accommodate transportation and loading onto the deck, along with compliance with the Hazardous Location Zone system. JCE engineered a Zone 1 hybrid power system comprising a Zone 2 wind turbine, solar panels and battery enclosures, accompanying Zone 1 battery isolators and a Morningstar controller. This system is fully autonomous, requiring minimal maintenance and generating significant cost savings. As a world leader in the design and manufacture of electrical control systems for hazardous areas, JCE Energy relies on Morningstar to help power critical applications in some of the most remote and harsh environments in the world.

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Solar-Powered Seismic Signal Monitoring Stations

Application: Telecom
Location: Oregon and Washington
Product: Sunsaver MPPT
Partners include: The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Unlike severe weather, which can be tracked and mapped for days and even weeks before landfall, earthquakes appear suddenly and without warning. Advances in technology now allow detecting earthquakes within life-saving seconds before shaking has begun.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) monitors ground motion and generates real-time earthquake information to emergency responders, the press and public. The project has more than 400 stations, making it the second largest seismic network in the United States. Strong-motion instrumentation, especially with real-time digital communications, requires a reliable power source. Because weather hazards often cause widespread power outages, each system must have a backup battery system with enough capacity to operate continuously for four days.

Morningstar’s SunSavers enable many of PNSN’s power supply systems. Its EMC-1 adapter allows monitoring critical data in real-time, alerting technicians of any issues. The EMC also integrates with the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to help PNSN’s engineers plan for maintenance.

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Off Grid Systems for Remote Wellheads Located Offshore Indonesia

Location: Java Sea, Indonesia
Year: 2020
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controllers
System size: 25kW for a 1.6kW continuous load with 24V, 5,500Ah battery banks
Partners include: JCE Energy

Wellhead platforms in the Java Sea play a vital role in oil and gas development, but their remote location in a harsh, hazardous environment requires a more durable and powerful means of generating electricity for critical onboard systems. JCE Energy supplies larger, more powerful solar electric systems including nickel-cadmium batteries, a monitoring and alarm system, power distribution boards, solar panels, and a Morningstar controller suitable for use in Zone 1 hazardous areas. These systems power locally installed instrumentation, telecoms equipment, navigational aids, and process equipment/motors on each platform.

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Deterring Birds in Hazardous Locations in the Middle East

Location: Persian Gulf Coast, Middle East
Year: 2000
Products: SunSaver SS-MPPT-15L controllers
System size: 200W with 12V or 24V, 120Ah battery banks
Partners include: JCE Energy

One of the many hazards unmanned offshore installations face in daily operation is that seabirds like to use them for roosting. Not only does the waste they produce impair the efficiency of solar modules, but it can also cause serious corrosion and continual shutdowns with material failures. The challenge lies in implementing a bird deterrence system that can continually operate without access to a source of power on board. That’s why two decades ago JCE Group successfully certified the world’s first Ex Solar Power Pod (SPP) consisting of a PV module, battery, and solar controller on a steel frame. Capable of powering bird deterrent devices, they are designed to continuously operate in hazardous locations and in the presence of flammable gasses and are ATEX-approved for Zone 1 and 2 areas for use in navigation aids, alarm systems, gas detection, bird scaring, camera surveillance, ship-to-shore communications
and more. The solution’s success prompted JCE to create a dedicated renewable energy division. Today, through JCE Energy, SPPs continue to provide solutions, thriving along with Morningstar controllers in extreme environments including desert, jungle, offshore and sub-zero climates.

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Creating a Sustainable Marine Experience in Greyhope Bay

Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Year: 2020
Product: TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controller
System size: 6kW with a 48V, 900Ah battery bank
Partners include: JCE Energy

Torry Battery is a landmark artillery installation that has overlooked Aberdeen’s Greyhope Bay harbor since 1860. Today, it’s known for its spectacular panoramic views of the city and coast, as well as the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world. Conservationists wanted to renovate the Battery to create an educational marine center for the community with a zerofootprint, sustainable design. Based in the Aberdeen region, JCE Energy stepped in to provide a renewable solution to power the center plus a community space and cafe at the remote site. The system includes shipping containers equipped with rooftop solar arrays to charge batteries inside. Ultimate project goals include replacing the supplemental generator still in place with a wind turbine for a 100% green energy solution.

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Solar Skids Power Sensors in the Chilean Desert

Location: Antofagasta, Chile
Year: 2020
Products: SunSaver SS-MPPT-15L controllers
System size: One 330W solar panel with
50Ah, 24V lithium battery per skid (54 total)
Partners include: Connexa, RELiON

Antofagasta lies between the Pacific coast and Northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. Corrosive salt in the air and harsh desert extremes combined with dangerous gasses and liquids potentially present in industrial applications create a demanding environment for power electronics. A client sought a way of remotely powering sensor systems to monitor liquids in this challenging setting. Logistics posed yet another concern: any solution had to fit in a small pickup truck and be manageable with a two-person installation. Connexa’s team constructed 54 container-loaded skid systems. Each included one solar module, a RELiON lithium battery, a Morningstar SunSaver SS-MPPT-15L charge controller, and a stainless steel enclosure. Connexa specifies SunSaver controllers because they’re approved for use in hazardous locations: Class 1, Division 2. Also, RELiON is a member of Morningstar’s Energy Storage Partner Program, which ensured a reliable, seamless solution.

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Solar Simplifies Shell Oil Rigs with Fewer Emissions

Location: North Sea
Products: Relay DriverTM (RD-1), MeterHubTM (HUB-1),
EIA-485/RS-232 Adapter (RSC-1), Remote Temperature Sensor (RTS),
TriStar TS-MPPT-60 controllers
Year: 2015
System size: Solar installation connected to a 24V battery system
Partners include: Shell, Tideland Signal, Marlec

Shell is working on reducing the net carbon footprint of its energy production, an initiative that includes retrofitting offshore facilities including platforms and NUIs (Normally Unmanned Installations) with solar power. Because NUIs see decades of operational use in the harsh weather of the North Sea, with plenty of snow and cloud cover, remote management is difficult. Instead of continuing with two diesel generators constantly online, in 2015, Shell began to simplify the normally unmanned installation by
removing process equipment that was no longer useful or redundant and retrofitting with solar.

Tideland Signal selected Morningstar TriStars, among other components, for use in its systems designed to meet the European Union’s ATEX-certification for use in hazardous locations. The controllers are ideal for the application, featuring everything necessary to reliably operate in the harsh environment. The solar installation makes it easier to maintain the NUIs with simpler equipment and lower emissions. Now, generators are only used for emergencies.

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Case Study

Solar Powers Offshore Oil Rigs in Southeast Asia

Summary

With challenges accessing offshore unmanned wellhead platforms for maintenance, reliability is key for the assets’ power generation systems. In 2019, Orga BV outfitted eight of PTTEP’s wellhead platforms with solar using a Morningstar TriStar™ to meet space and uptime requirements.

Situation

Offshore unmanned wellhead platforms grace the waters of Southeast Asia. These unmanned automated oil and gas assets are designed for remote operation controlled by onshore teams. Deploying maintenance crews in harsh sea conditions is treacherous and expensive, so reliability is of the utmost importance when it comes to the power generation systems deployed on these assets.

Over the last 20 years, many offshore oil and gas operators have switched to solar-based power generation solutions to minimize maintenance and maximize power availability in the confined space available on these units. As a company with many years of experience in providing highly reliable solar-powered aids to navigation systems, Orga BV has worked with many large oil and gas clients that wanted to make the switch.

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Solar Powers Offshore Satellite Communications in Malaysia

Location: Malaysia/Southeast Asia
Year: 2021
Products: TriStar TS-MPPT-60-48V controllers
System size: 23kW of 320W solar panels with five sets of 48V, 1965Ah battery banks
Partners include: Swift Energy, PTTEP, Honeywell

Coming out of a challenging year with the COVID-19 severely affecting the global economy and causing a significant drop in demand for crude oil, national petroleum exploration and production company PTTEP is glad to get back on track with the installation and start-up of the Pemanis gas facility. The project’s wellheads sit offshore Malaysia’s Kuching shipyard and transmit information in regard to pressure, temperatures, gas metering, etc. back to an operations center on land via satellite.

PTTEP commissioned Swift Energy to provide a solar installation to power remote data gathering on the wellheads. The system included 48V VRLA batteries, 72 320W zone 1 solar panels wired in 48V, and eight Morningstar TriStar controllers. The TriStars include a Modbus interface which gathers data and passes it along to a Honeywell remote terminal unit (RTU) cabinet that transmits back to the operations center. The efficiency and dependability of Morningstar’s MPPT technology, along with its range of online resources to help simplify sizing and easily perform site and cost software analysis, made Morningstar a good choice for this and other Swift Energy projects.