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Investigations into the lifetime of gas meter batteries in the Netherlands


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At 2020 there will be about seven million smart gas meters installed in the Netherlands, using batteries that are supposed to last for about 20 years. The long lifetime of the batteries is crucial, because an operation to replace them would be on a large scale and therefore expensive. Distribution System Operators (DSO’s) have to be able to rely on a lengthy lifetime. The Dutch DSO’s Netherlands (within Netbeheer Nederland), joined forces to carry out a unique study of the predicted and actual battery lifetime. In this study, batteries were examined from gas meters that had already been operating for 4-5 years. The results were promising: after 4-5 years: the actual (practical) lifetime of the batteries examined turned out to be in line with the predicted (theoretical) values.

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Investigations into the lifetime of gas meter batteries in the Netherlands

  1. 1. METERING.COM ISSUE 2 | 2013 Breaking Through the Connectivity Barrier Advanced PLC Modem SoC EV8000 Series AMI gas and water • Smart metering in UK • Batteries Smart Energy International
  2. 2. METERING.COM METERING.COM ISSUE - 2 | 2013 METERING INTERNATIONAL C O N T E N T S ISSUE 2 | 2013 AMI & SMARt MEtERInG 18 AMI trends and developments in gas and water utilities 20 Smart gas metering in Europe - an untapped opportunity? 24 Towards meter reading interoperability at American Water 28 Lessons from the island: Smart metering in Great Britain 30 Interoperability – top down or bottom up? 68 Global water meter market update: Back to the basics By Joseph Turgeon By Daniella Muallem Issue 2 2013 By David Hughes By Richard St Clair By Nigel Orchard By Nicole Tuggle Breaking Through the Connectivity Barrier PREPAyMEnt Prepayment: The energy conservation impact in US By Cindy O’Dwyer EV8000 Series 58 Advanced PLC Modem SoC BUSInESS / FInAncE / REGULAtoRy 34 70 Understanding declining water sales and utility revenues 72 EnVerv provides advanced PLC SoC solution for AMI and energy management applications. These are developed on the belief that every node in the network needs to be connected reliably and with enough robust bit rates to account for today’s applications and tomorrow’s feature rich ones. Getting ready to roll in Britain – smart procurement strategies Developing a heat metering specification. ASTM International Technical Committee E44.25 partners with global metering industry By John Peters By Janice A. Beecher and Thomas Chesnutt By Christine DeJong BILLInG & cUStoMER SERvIcE 76 Payment transactions and claims management in the German energy industry: Deteriorating payment behaviour and increasing influence of smart metering By trend:research SMART ENERGY MEtER DAtA 66 Considerations in implementing a meter data analytics solution 38 By Mary Rich and Irshad James The European supergrid is inevitable By Ana Aguado Cornago European supergrid MEtER tESt & FIELD SERvIcE 82 42 mSure – a new technique for ensuring stable high accuracy over the lifetime of an electric meter By JED Hurwitz coMPonEntS 78 Investigations into the lifetime of gas meter batteries in the Netherlands 87 46 AES Eletropaulo’s smart grid program 52 Global EV outlook: Assessment of electric vehicle progress 56 powers smart grid evolution By Livia Rosu and John Egan Will any disaster wake America up to its water problem? By Vincent Caprio WorldView 4 Editorial 14 Water is your business 4 Current Affairs 12 Association news SWAN – activities in the water industry 16 Brazil’s path to smart electric grids 88 Index to Advertisers By Michael Deane By André Pepitone da Nóbrega By Maria Tereza Moyses Travassos Vellano and Paulo Roberto de Souza Pimentel By Electric Vehicles Initiative REGULARS Latin America By Dan Waddle By Horst Reuning and Machiel Joosse LASt WoRD Global EV Alliance Smart Grid Alliance for the Americas: Support to rural utilities Published by:
  3. 3. CURRENT AFFAIRS CURRENT AFFAIRS CURRENT AFFAIRS CURRENT AFFAIRS CURRENT AFFAIRS CURRENT AFFAIRS CURRENT AFFAIRS editoriaL Looking towards the utiLity of the future We make no apologies for once again focussing strongly on water in this issue. While water is obviously a resource with different characteristics to energy, the challenges faced by water utilities – conceptually at least – are very similar to those of their counterparts in energy, such as reducing losses, accurately billing, securing revenue, and building customer relationships – all of which contribute to the making of a more operationally efficient, financially secure and sustainable utility. These challenges are leading to the increasing deployment of advanced metering infrastructure in water utilities, and with it increasingly moves towards smarter water networks (p. 12, 14, 18, 24). Another issue that has been attracting much discussion of late is the future of utilities in a scenario where consumers are being encouraged to conserve resources by reducing demand, leading to flat or declining sales and consequently utility revenues (p.70). Undoubtedly greater operational efficiencies are able to offset at least part of such losses but water utilities may also need to look to developing alternative sources of revenue, such as alternative end uses of water or the offer of efficiency services or equipment. Similar trends are being observed for energy utilities and a new study from Ernst & Young1, released just as this issue was going to press, observes an emergence of ancillary services markets – for example home energy management services, secure home services, mobility services – and finds that this is one of the key growth opportunities for power companies. According to this report, success will depend on learning lessons from other sectors such as banking and telecoms, as well as on the acquisition of the necessary competencies and skills. Without doubt the utility of the future will be different to that of today, but those that are successful will have “a robust forward view,” according to the Ernst & Young report. Such companies are more outward looking and market focussed, respond smartly to change, understand what drives costs and value, and engage closely with stakeholders. Jonathan Spencer Jones Editor 1. Business Pulse. Exploring dual perspectives on the top 10 risks and opportunities in 2013 and beyond. Ernst & Young 2013. C M Y renewabLe energy, aMi top sMart grid driver and technoLogy gLobaLLy Renewable energy standards and targets are the top motivating drivers for smart grids globally, while advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is the top technology priority, according to a recent study from the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN). The other top motivating drivers in order are: • System efficiency improvements • Reliability improvements • Enabling customer choice and participation • Enabling new products, services, and markets. The other top technology priorities are: • Large-size variable renewable energy sources integration • Demand response • Wind • Distributed energy resources. The study, ‘Smart grid drivers and technologies by country, economies, and continent’, was based on a survey of the then (September 2012) 22 ISGAN participants. It forms part of the initiative to develop a global smart grid inventory. When broken down by economies the picture change, somewhat, particularly for the developing economy participants. In this case the top driver is reliability improvements, and the top technology priority is condition-based monitoring and maintenance. Similarly there are also differences when broken down by continent. System efficiency improvement is the only driver of priority and AMI is the only technology of priority to all continents. steering coMMittee to deveLop sMart grid roadMap in phiLippines The Philippines Department of Energy has created an inter-agency steering committee to develop a national smart grid policy framework and roadmap. The members of the committee include the DOE, which will also serve as chair, National Power Corporation (NPC), National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC). Specific deliverables of the committee include a national smart grid strategy to 2030 with a consideration of the impact on electricity prices, along with transition policies and guidelines and a roadmap with timelines for smart grid implementation. A customer education and information framework will also be developed. The committee will also be responsible for tapping funding from bilateral or multilateral funding institutions to finance smart grid initiatives, and for monitoring the implementation of the smart grid. In the next step of the initiative individual national projects will be assessed for inclusion in the project inventory. 4 Several power industry participants, among them Meralco, have already started implementing smart grid initiatives. METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE - 2 | 2013 CM MY CY CMY K
  4. 4. COMPONENTS INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE LIFETIME OF GAS METER BATTERIES IN THE NETHERLANDS By Horst Reuning and Machiel Joosse By 2020 there will be about seven million smart gas meters installed in the Netherlands, using batteries that are supposed to last for about 20 years. The long lifetime of the batteries is crucial, because an operation to replace them would be on a large scale and therefore expensive. The Dutch DSOs (within Netbeheer Nederland) joined forces to carry out a unique study of predicted and actual battery lifetimes. In this study, batteries were examined from gas meters that had already been operating for 4-5 years. The results were promising: after 4-5 years, the actual (practical) lifetime of the batteries examined turned out to be in line with the predicted (theoretical) values. In the coming years millions of smart meters will Table 1 – Gas meters selected for battery testing be installed in the Netherlands. Smart electricity meters are powered via the mains. Smart gas The batteries and meters involved had been used in different ways. meters, however, are not connected up to the mains and have to The three use cases for the same type of Flonidan wired M-Bus gas have their own power supply: a battery. meter were particularly interesting, because these included: • Unused meters (in storage since 2007), no communication According to the Dutch Smart Meter Requirements (DSMR4.0), the • Meters that had been operating from October 2007 to April latest generation meter is supposed to function for 20 years including 2012, communicating once per hour the battery. But is that realistic? The Dutch DSOs, cooperating within • Meters that had been operating from May 2008 to May 2012, Netbeheer Nederland, have no field experience that battery powered communicating 180 times per hour! meters can meet that requirement or have seen this demonstrated in reality. There is a lot of scepticism about whether a lifetime of 15 to PROJECT APPROACH 20 years can be achieved in a battery. The project approach and timeline is illustrated in Figure 1. A decision was taken at Netbeheer Nederland to carry out a After their removal from the gas meters, the batteries were study of the batteries in the first smart electronic gas meters that marked with unique numbers and sent to Tadiran with no further had been installed (in 2007 and 2008). explanation of the use cases. In the first instance, the information about power consumption and use case for the various batteries The investigation was unusual in that it was the first time anywhere in the world, as far as is known, that a battery supplier (Tadiran), gas meter manufacturers (Flonidan DC and Landis+Gyr) and Dutch DSOs jointly carried out such a study and openly published the results (first presented at Metering, Billing/CRM Europe in Amsterdam in October 2012). The study was carried out from June to October 2012 by a number of technical specialists from Netbeheer Netherland, the battery supplier, and technicians from the gas meter manufacturers. This study of the batteries was part of the larger smart metering programme at Netbeheer Nederland. METHOD AND PROJECT DESIGN Smart gas meters for the study came from three Dutch DSOs, DELTA Netwerkbedrijf, ENEXIS and STEDIN. The gas meters, both wireless and wired M-Bus, came from various use cases, as detailed in Table 1. 78 Figure 1 – Project timeline METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE - 2 | 2013
  5. 5. COMPONENTS Figure 3 - Long term test, D-cell @RT under various continuous loads. Test is being continued BATTERY INVESTIGATIONS Figure 2 – Measurement set-up was not disclosed. The battery manufacturer was only given this information after the residual capacity of the batteries had been determined. The team from Netbeheer Nederland examined the electronics, together with the gas meter manufacturer. Important questions to be answered here were whether: • The age of the component has an effect on the energy consumption, and • The measured energy consumption is in line with the original values that were used for the lifetime calculation. A digital multimeter was used to measure the idle current of the gas meter electronics and an oscilloscope combined with a measurement resistor was used to measure the current peaks/profile. t as ol ov pr t en 5y 2 r ea s Lithium thionyl chloride batteries The high voltage (3.6 V), high energy content (19 Ah in a D size cell), and low self-discharge rate (typically 0.5% per year) are the decisive features that make lithium thionyl chloride (Li/SOCl2) batteries the number one choice for long term standalone power sources like those needed for a 20 year gas meter. Tadiran has more than 40 years’ experience with this technology. Customers like Aclara (formerly Hexagram) have installed Tadiran AA size lithium batteries in their AMR devices 25 years ago and report that these devices are still operating on their original batteries. Lifetime calculation model However, prediction of battery life in a particular application requires more than customer testimonials. Long term real life tests under continuous and pulse loads at different levels have been conducted for many years (Figure 3). Self-discharge rates have been determined at different temperatures and under Smart Metering requires reliable power sources Tadiran Batteries GmbH | Industriestr. 22 | 63654 BÜDINGEN | GERMANY Tel: +49 6042 954-0 | Fax: +49 6042 954-190 | E-mail: Download our applic at ion guide from w w w.tadiranbat ter >> Produc t s >> Applic at ions >> Bat ter ies for smar t ut ilit y meters
  6. 6. COMPONENTS different load currents. Cell components were carefully selected, modified, and tested before the formula for a 20-year battery was found. Tadiran’s lifetime calculation model takes the battery composition into account as well as the related self-discharge rate and internal resistance. The result is a function of the application current profile, temperature profile, and minimum application voltage. While considerable effort has been made on the battery manufacturer’s side to develop and improve the batteries and their life calculation model, a thorough study of field application life data has not previously been performed. Investigation methods The task allocated to Tadiran was to determine the residual capacity of lithium cells returned by Netbeheer. Two different methods were used for this investigation. • Electrical discharge. This method was a straightforward electrical discharge where the discharge rate is accelerated compared to the current consumption of the gas meter. Determination of the proper load is a trade-off between accuracy and test duration because these lithium batteries are optimized for a 20year battery life and not for a laboratory test usually taking only a few weeks. Figure 4: Results – case DNWB (Flonidan Pre NTA wired M-bus meters) AA cells from the Flonidan gas meters were discharged on 1,800 Ω continuous load to 2 V. D-cells from the Landis+Gyr gas meters were discharged in two steps on 560 Ω and later on 180 Ω. • Chemical titration. Under these loads, a certain percentage of the residual capacity is not accessible due to an increase of the internal resistance of the battery. Therefore titration was applied to a subset of the investigated batteries as a second, more rigorous method. This method is based on a chemical reaction and consumes literally all the residual lithium metal in a battery. Batteries were opened, internal parts such as the cathode, current collector and separator were removed, and the residual lithium was dissolved in water, yielding a basic aqueous solution. Finally, the lithium content was determined by the amount of acid required for its neutralization. Figure 5: Results – case Stedin (Landis+Gyr E6V meters) RESULTS Tadiran examined 10 batteries by discharging them through a load resistor. This method discharges a battery more quickly. A resistance of 560 Ω was used initially. However, at the end of August it became clear that this discharge rate would only 80 Figure 6: Results – case Enexis (Flonidan Pre NTA wireless M-bus meters) METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE - 2 | 2013
  7. 7. COMPONENTS yield results at the end of 2012. After consultation with Netbeheer Nederland, it was then decided that the resistance should be reduced to 180 Ω in order to obtain results by the time of the Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2012 event. The average capacity discharged was 14.14 Ah. In addition, 3 of the 10 cells were also investigated by titration after having been discharged; this revealed an additional residual capacity of 0.86 Ah. CONCLUSION Tadiran’s results give two extreme limits for the measured residual capacity: • Minimum, where the battery is ‘emptied’ at an accelerated rate via residual discharge • Maximum, by titration. It is assumed that the actual residual capacity available will be somewhere between these two limits. The calculation of the expected remaining battery life is based on the arithmetic average of the two, i.e. (residual discharge result + titration result) / 2. The results from the gas meters examined, which had been in use for four to five years, showed the following: • Remaining lifetime after normal usage, with communication once an hour: Landis+Gyr E6V >16 years • Flonidan wired M-Bus >17 years Flonidan wireless M-Bus >20 years • The residual cell capacity matches or exceeds the expected life as originally calculated The number of measurements made on the gas meter electronics investigated was not sufficient to allow any conclusive statements to be made about the influence of ageing on power consumption. Further studies, particularly using gas meters and batteries that have been operational for a longer period of time, would be able to give even more reliable results. This study and method of approach may be a suitable starting point for such work at other DSOs worldwide. Openly publishing the results of such studies, as was done in this case, will maximize the usefulness for all parties involved and help ensure that smart meters can be installed successfully in Europe and the rest of the world. MI ABOUT THE AUTHORS Horst Reuning has an electrotechnical background and worked in the industrial battery industry for decades in the field of sales and marketing. He worked for Sonnenschein Lithium/Tadiran for almost 20 years in total, since 2001 as their sales and marketing manager. In April 2012 he retired and since then serves the company as senior consultant. Machiel Joosse is responsible for the technology of smart metering at DELTA Netwerkbedrijf B.V. the Distribution System Operator in Zeeland (southwest Netherlands). After obtaining his Bachelor degree he started his career as an R&D engineer in both hard- and embedded software, before joining DELTA’s smart metering program as engineer. He has participated in several technical smart metering workgroups within Netbeheer Nederland. ABOUT THE COMPANIES Tadiran is a leader in the development of lithium batteries for industrial use. Its technology is well established for more than 40 years. Tadiran lithium thionyl chloride batteries are suitable where utility meters require a single long term stand-alone power source. When the battery has to supply high pulse currents for a GSM module, Tadiran’s PulsesPlus technology is a good choice. Netbeheer Nederland is the Association of Energy Network Operators in the Netherlands, established in October 2007 to represent the interests of national and regional electricity and gas network operators in the Netherlands. Netbeheer Nederland promotes dialogue with governmental bodies and market participants and consults with the Office of Energy Regulation, NMa/Energiekamer