T&D World Magazine
Brasilia Substations Switch to Maintenance-Free Nickel Battery Backup Systems

Brasilia Substations Switch to Maintenance-Free Nickel Battery Backup Systems

The Saft Uptimax batteries are replacing the existing lead-acid batteries at the CEB substations to provide a significant increase in reliability and availability while reducing battery maintenance and replacement costs.

Saft has been awarded a major contract by the Brazilian power utility CEB (Companhia Energetica de Brasilia) to design, manufacture and supply maintenance-free nickel backup battery systems for all 34 distribution substations serving Brasilia, the country’s capital city. The Saft Uptimax batteries are replacing the existing lead-acid batteries at the CEB substations to provide a significant increase in reliability and availability while reducing battery maintenance and replacement costs.

Brasilia is the Federal Capital of Brazil and the seat of government for the country’s Federal District. CEB controls electric power distribution, generation and transmission assets covering an area of over 5,280 square kilometers, providing service to over 990,000 clients and nearly 2.9 million residents.

The substation backup batteries play a critical role for CEB by ensuring a continuous 125 V supply to support all the auxiliary loads such as switchgear, automation and protection circuits for up to 10 hours if there is an interruption to the main power supply. Previously, the substations have been fitted with lead-acid batteries. However, this is a particularly demanding application with ambient temperatures reaching + 35°C that contribute to the risk of unpredictable, premature battery failure.

To ensure total reliability of its backup systems CEB has now implemented a one-year program to replace the batteries at all 34 of its distribution substations with Saft Uptimax batteries. These batteries feature Saft’s latest development in nickel pocket plate technology that delivers maintenance-free operation with a long, completely predictable service life even at elevated temperatures.

“Ensuring continuity of customer supply is a mission critical aspect of CEB’s power distribution business. That’s why we have made the decision to purchase nickel backup batteries for the first time in our company history”, said Arthur Franklin, Substations maintenance manager of CEB. “This switch to Saft batteries gives us renewed confidence that our substation backup systems will always perform as required, whenever they are called upon.”

Each CEB substation will be fitted with two battery banks, so Saft is supplying a total of 68 Uptimax systems comprising 96 cells ranging in capacity from 100 to 170 Ah. The one-year contract reinforces Saft’s presence in Brazil’s developing utilities market. The first systems were delivered to CEB in June 2016.

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