Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Members of the Island Laboratory t visited a microgrid in the heart of Chongming Island, Shanghai. Two guides from Shanghai Electric Group, the developer for this project, took us on a tour of the site.
Aerial image of the site
The area is a rural land in which solar panels and wind generators have been installed. The electricity, in a period of low demand is stored in storage facilities and used during the night or when electricity production is low.
Dashboard of the microgrid that shows electricity loads, storage and production.
A second storage facility uses second-hand batteries to store electricity. In this way, the lifecycle of the battery is extended delivering two benefits: no need to buy new batteries in the short term and decrease of waste batteries with high benefit for the environment. Batteries contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals and disposing them as regular trash (if a recycling process is not in place) can have negative consequences over soil and water.
The area still requires buying electricity from the grid to meet the electricity demand, but this is balanced by the surplus of renewable electricity sold back to the grid.
We took a tour within the rural area, admiring local plants, vegetation and flowers, which emphasize the concept of nature preservation and sustainable practices in energy supply.
An example of sustainable use of resources is a compact water treatment plant, installed under the ground, able to treat the wastewater of 4 households. The water, after the treatment, is immitted in canals.
Water treatment under the ground.
There was a rice plantation and an automatic distributor of rice. When the user pays for the amount of rice wanted, the machine takes off the skin from the grain. The inventor of the machine ensured that only a few microns of the skin is removed, in this way all the nutrients are preserved and no package is needed. The skin is used as fertiliser for the growth of other rice.