China smart meters: Saft wins deal to supply lithium batteries

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Saft-Cells China smart meters
French advanced battery company Saft manufactures energy storage for the military, electric vehicles as well as metering and smart grid projects

Advanced battery manufacturer Saft on Monday announced it has won two contracts to supply more than 45 million primary lithium batteries for smart meter installations in China.

Secured through its distributors Royalty and Sonic, the deal will see the batteries used in Chinese deployments of utility electricity, gas, water and heat meters up to the end of 2016.

To meet the fast-growing demand in this market, Saft is planning to double its production capacity by launching a production facility in Zhuhai, in China’s southern Guangdong province, during the first quarter of 2016.

Smart meters China

The development follows a study ‘The China Smart Meter Industry Report 2014-2018’ carried out by RnR MarketResearch predicting an increase in demand of smart meters as smart grids are emerging as a vital element in China’s developing utility infrastructure.

In October, state-owned utility China Southern Power Grid Company engaged US based semi-conductor provider Semtech and China’s smart metering solution company Wasion Group in a G3-PLC rollout.

Semtech will supply its multimode Power Line Communications (PLC) platforms for communication in RS485 meter aggregators and smart meters to be deployed to residential, commercial and industrial metering points by Waison.

The semi-conductor provider’s EV8.000 PLC will also be employed as the communications modem for the AMI in China.

The project is the first deploying an OFDM-based technology expected to enable higher frequency of meter reads for better demand management, including enabling consumers to monitor their energy usage in China.

Chief technology officer at Wasion Michael Wang said: “Integrating Semtech’s multi-protocol modems allow us to run a G3-PLC PHY while supporting the legacyDL/T645 and Q/GDW376.2 modem interfaces used in Southern Grid.”

Mr Wang added that Waison selected Semtech as a partner in the implementation of the project due to the performance of its modems under challenging network conditions and the fact that Semtech offered the highest density and the lowest bill of material for its external circuitry in the tender process.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.