A load bank is an electrical equipment that is used to stimulate an electrical load to test an electrical power source without connecting it to its normal operating load. Resistive Load Bank proves equivalent loading of both the generator and prime mover. It is used for testing lower power factor simulation and frequency convertors of full electrical system integration. Furthermore, they are also used for pre-commissioning and commissioning of newly installed equipment in data centers, oil and gas companies, and shipyards, among others.
The international shipping industry is accountable for transportation of around 90 percent of global trade. Shipping is the lifeblood of the worldwide economy. As per the International Chamber of Shipping, there are about 50,000 merchant ships globally. Furthermore, as per the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), merchant ships generate around USD 380,000 million in freight rates and accounts for around 5 percent of the total global trade.
There has been an increase in demand for raw materials due to investments from private players in the growing economies. Ships that undertake long journeys for months need to have all backup systems in check. One has to make sure that the engine and other essential electronics are functioning effectively. Load banks come in handy during such tests since it can be a costly affair when a standby generator in the ship fails to perform during an emergency situation in the middle of the sea.
Resistive load bank testing is done to ensure that the backup source on the ship is in proper shape, which is the primary power source during emergencies. Another advantage provided by resistive load bank testing is that it allows one to test a prime mover and generator at 100 percent capacity.
Accessibility to energy is an important factor for the economic development of any country. Global electricity consumption is on a continuous rise and increasing faster than the increase in the global population. There is a global energy transformation that is taking place, which is driven by twin goals of mitigation of climate change and the promotion of climate change. There has been an increasing demand for renewable energy projects globally.
Source: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRNEA)
Increasing investments, government support in terms of fiscal incentives, and the reduction in prices due to technological advancements improve the adoption rate of renewable energy power generation. Furthermore, institutional investments by the World Bank support renewable energy penetration and help in meeting sustainable development goals (SDGs). For instance, the World Bank, in 2019, provided USD 100 million to India for enhancing solar energy penetration in the country.
As per IRENA, the electrical energy sector is projected to become the central energy carrier and will see an increase in consumption from 20 percent to around 50 percent. Whereas,the renewable energy sector will hold a major chunk of this demand. There has been an increasing demand for solar energy plants in developing countries, such as India. India is one of the fastest-growing countries after China in Asia-Pacific's solar energy market. The country at the end of October 31, 2019, had reached a solar power capacity of around 32 GW.
Furthermore, it is poised to achieve a target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, which is expected to catalyze the demand for solar cells in the region. Solar energy plants, before getting commissioned, undergo extensive testing, which makes use of load banks. Load banks are used to prove the functionality of solar power plants. They simulate operations to determine malfunctions and other issues.
The portable resistive load bank is a robust steel enclosing that has three banks of switchable resistive loads. Each bank of resistors is electrically separate so that they can connect as a star or delta load for three-phase circuits. Each bank of resistors has a set of switches attached to it for bringing each resistor into the circuit, allowing the operators to study and understand the effects of balanced or unbalanced resistive loads.
In order to protect the load, the resistors have a thermally operated circuit-breaker incorporated in the system. The load bank operators use this load bank with other similar load banks to offer variable power and power factor loads. The additional load banks include Capacitive (PSA55) and Inductive (PSA60).
One of the most popularly used portable resistive load banks is Mosebach’s XS2750 load bank. It provides a continuous load at several voltages in a compact, lightweight enclosure. It is arguably the smallest load bank in its class. It features a digital meter that allows proper measurement and reading of voltage, power, current, and frequency while ensuring that one can record the data simultaneously while testing. A portable resistive load bank is used to test solar inverters. It is done so to ensure that the solar panels can be stopped from producing electricity in the event of a power outage.
Eminent players of load banks like Mosebach, Avtron, and Simplex offers various models of resistive load banks in trailer packages. These trailer mounted resistive load banks are used for mobile testing and maintaining of larger generators and other AC power systems up to 3000 kW. It also helps in determining the right load bank and variations for specific applications.
The simplex Neptune trailer-mounted load bank is developed for high capacity load testing of regenerative power absorption of inertial motors generators, periodic reliability exercise of standby generators, with reverse power protection of generators, and other load bank applications. Some of the highlighted features of the Simplex Neptune trailer mounted load bank are its load capacity options of max capacity up to 400, 450, 500, 600, or 650kW. Its load steps resolution is 5kW minimum.
The growth of resistive load banks in Asia-Pacific is primarily attributed to the increasing awareness among individuals for energy conversation and rising prices of fossil fuels. On account of this, individuals are shifting towards renewable sources and clean sources for energy generation. The market for distributed solar power generation in Asia-pacific is led by China, which is also the most massive producer of solar power and manufacturer PV module in the world. According to IEA, China accounts for 70% of the global PV module manufacturing and 47% of the global solar energy production. In Asia-Pacific, the China solar power market is trailed by India, where installed rooftop capacity reached 6 GW in 2018.
India distributed solar power generation market is still in its burgeoning state and opens avenues of growth opportunities for the national and international market players to expand the business in the country. This is due to the various initiatives taken by the Government of India (GOI) to propel the growth of the solar sector. For instance, under the Union Budget 2020–21, the GOI has allocated USD 2.27 billion to the Ministry of Power and USD 786.95 million towards the DeenDayalUpadhyay Gram JyotiYojana (DDUGJY). Through such initiatives, the GOI is planning to establish a renewable energy capacity of 500GW by 2030, which currently stands at 84GW.
Another country in Asia-Pacific responsible for the upsurge in demand for resistive load banks is South Korea. It is one of the global leaders in the export economy globally and ranks 6th most comely economy, as per the Economic Complexity Index (ECI). In the year 2017, the country exported around USD 598 billion worth of goods and had a positive trade balance amounting to USD 124 billion.
The top exports of the country included integrated circuits, cars, refined petroleum, passenger, and cargo ships, among others. The cars, passenger and cargo ships, and vehicle parts accounted for almost USD 83.6 billion. The resistive load banks are an essential part of the manufacturing industry. However, the recent coronavirus pandemic has created a blip on the country’s economy and plummeted demand for ships, hampering the demand for load banks market.
The shipping trade is very active in South Korea. According to the observatory of economic complexity, the passenger and cargo ships are the 59th most traded product and the 742nd most complex product. South Korea is the topmost exporter of these ships, accounting for 50% of the total exports, with a net value of USD 24,400 million. Resistive load banks are used to test electricity generation. Almost 80 percent of the global trade by volume and more than 70 percent of its value is carried on board ships and handled by seaports worldwide. This emphasizes the significance of maritime transport for trade and development, thereby driving the load banks market as it is extensively used in shipbuilding.
In the year 2019, South Korea overtook China to retrieve its number one spot in global shipbuilding orders. Korea had orders worth 1.29 million, which compensated gross tons in October. Additionally, Korea received the order of a total of 17 ships, including four LNG ships and 11 Very Large Crude-Oil Carriers (VLCC), which accounted for more than 80 percent of the global leaders in terms of vessel orders.