NGK Insulators' sodium-sulfur tech to support Japan space centre power systems

by Margaret Lau
NGK batteries to support Japan space centre's power systems. Photo: NGK
Japan’s NGK Insulators is supplying its sodium-sulfur (NaS) battery technology to support power systems at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Tanegashima Space Center.

NGK has been contracted to supply the NaS batteries by the Kyudenko Corporation, to provide services including stability and back-up for generators at the centre. The batteries are set to start operating at the site in April, providing a rated capacity of 14,400kWh.

The centre has several generators in operation around the clock to ensure a steady supply of power for launch operations and to support responses to natural disasters such as lightning strikes or typhoons.

'Stable power supply'

NGK said fluctuations in the electric power load that cannot be tracked by the electrical generators will be absorbed through the charging and discharging of its batteries, suppressing fluctuations in the electrical frequency and enhancing the quality of electric power.

"In the event of a malfunction of the electrical generators, the facility will be supplied with back-up power from the NAS batteries,” according to a company statement. "The combination of the electrical generators and large-capacity NaS batteries will realise an even more stable supply of electric power.”

NGK said it has installed NaS batteries at more than 200 sites worldwide since starting commercial operations in 2002 – representing a combined storage capacity of more than 4.2m kWh 4,200MWh to date.

In 2019, NGK expanded its partnership with Germany’s BASF under a joint development agreement for sodium-sulfur batteries for stationary applications – aimed at achieving an increase in power and a higher number of cycles per time unit.