CN Rood installs Energy Storage Testbed in South Africa

At the end of March 2023, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) inaugurated an Indoor Energy Storage Testbed in South Africa. The testbed will assess the performance and reliability of lithium-ion batteries, as expressed in their storage capacity, lifetime and depth of discharge. CSIR said it was grateful for the cooperation and scientific support it received  from VITO who supervised the project. The project was set-up with financial support from the Government of Flanders. VITO launched a tender for the procurement of the Indoor Battery Testbed equipment based on the needs and preferences of CSIR. The equipment was supplied, installed and tested by VITO & CN Rood during the final site acceptance test (SAT) in March 2023. In the next phase, VITO will continue to support CSIR with dedicated trainings and the testbed is expected to be fully operational in May 2023.


Growing demand for lithium-ion batteries

CSIR Energy Storage Testbed project leader Renesh Thakoordeen: “We are excited to announce the opening of our new Energy Storage Testbed facility, which will provide a critical service to technology developers and importers looking to enter the market with high-quality renewable energy technologies. With the growing demand for solar and battery systems, it is more important than ever to ensure that these technologies meet the necessary standards for safe and effective use. Our testbed will play a key role in addressing the intermittency challenge of renewable energy, and setting standards for lithium-ion batteries in South Africa. We look forward to the impact this facility will have on the renewable energy and energy storage industry, both in South Africa and Sub-Saharan countries.”


One partner for testbed infrastructure

CSIR and VITO started their intense collaboration in late 2020, thanks to the Flemish government’s financial support for the indoor energy storage testbed. The project funding allowed CSIR to invest in high-tech equipment for battery testing in South Africa. To set up and install the test facility, VITO issued a tender, based on the needs and preferences of CSIR. One partner had to take the responsibility to supply, install and commission all test facilities. The tender was won by CN Rood.

King Phillippe (right) with interim Chairman of the CSIR Board Prof. Arnold van Zyl attending a demonstration by CSIR Energy Storage Testbed Project Leader Renesh Thakoordeen.


Battery tester and climate chamber

For testing the Lithium Ion batteries, CN Rood chose the Chroma regenerative battery pack test system model 17020 . The highly accurate sources and measurements ensures that the test quality is suitable to perform repetitive and reliable tests which is crucial for battery modules / packs, for both incoming and outgoing inspections as well as capacity, performance, production and qualification testing. The tester communicates with the battery’s Battery Management System via CAN bus. In this way, performance and reliability can be measured. The battery tester consists of 32 channels with 2.5 kW per channel and 0-200 volts. The channels can all be connected in parallel to get high power. In addition, CN Rood has installed a Weiss TempEvent T1000/40/3 climate chamber. With this climatic chamber, batteries can also be tested at high temperatures (+60°C) and low temperatures (-20°C). Again, the Chroma Battery tester can be used to read out the Battery Management and check the battery behavior.


Testing batteries at high voltages

The Indoor Energy Testbed is ready to run and a further extension of the Testbed is already in preparation. CN Rood will supply two bi-directional Delta power supplies (SM500-CP-90). These power supplies will make it possible to test batteries up to 1000 volts. Batteries that we are increasingly seeing in, for example, electric vehicles. Besides the Hioki memory HiLOGGER 8423 will be installed for the data acquisition. This HiLOGGER acquires up to 600 channels of data with 10 ms sampling interval.


For more information, please contact CN Rood.