© Timo Müller

Effi­cient cooling towers for better battery building

At LG Energy Solu­tion in Oksan-myeon, South Korea, some cooling towers are getting on in years. ebm-papst is bringing a breath of fresh air to the battery manufacturer’s site by retro­fitting it with modern EC fans.

Batteries provide us with energy when we are on the move, whether for smart­phones, tablets or elec­tric vehi­cles. Many of them come from South Korea. This is where the world’s second-largest battery manu­fac­turer, LG Energy Solu­tion, has its head­quar­ters. The company’s energy storage systems can be found in all areas of life: in IT prod­ucts, mobile house­hold appli­ances, elec­tric vehi­cles and ships, and even drones. Batteries from the LG Chem subsidiary are also installed in NASA space­suits.

Effi­cient cooling for a large site

The Ochang site, one of LG Energy Solution’s largest produc­tion facil­i­ties in the country, is located in the small town of Oksan-myeon. Since it opened in 2004, cooling towers with AC fans have kept the factory halls at comfort­able temper­a­tures. However, a lot has happened in fan tech­nology in the last 20 years. Fans with AC motors are now consid­ered power guzzlers. They work less effi­ciently and are louder than modern EC fans.

AxiBlade EC fans keep LG Energy Solution’s factory halls cool while saving energy. (Illus­tra­tion | Timo Müller)

For the battery manu­fac­turer, it was there­fore clear that a retrofit was needed and that the old AC fans should be replaced with new EC models. LG Energy Solu­tion wanted to be able to adjust the new fans using an external speed controller and to direct them via the Modbus commu­ni­ca­tion protocol. The fans also needed to be protected from rain and have suffi­cient power to generate the required air flow in the cooling towers.

EC power concen­trated over a hundred times

“Our AxiBlade EC axial fan was a perfect fit for these require­ments,” explains Seung-Hyun Lee, Senior Manager Sales for Refrig­er­a­tion and Air Venti­lation at ebm-papst South Korea. “We were also able to deliver quickly and in suit­able quan­ti­ties.” That’s why LG Energy Solu­tion opted for this solu­tion. “In 2022, we started the retrofit project together with cooling tower manu­fac­turer YM Tech and installed a total of 36 units. That’s six units per cooling tower,” Lee continues. “By June of this year, another 72 fans will follow for the remaining twelve cooling towers. Then we will have imple­mented a total of 108 AxiBlades.”

This high number of fans saves the battery manu­fac­turer a lot of elec­tricity and conse­quently costs. All the fans can be controlled indi­vid­u­ally and regu­lated as required. What’s more, the fans are more reli­able when run as a combined unit because they can compen­sate for the failure of indi­vidual fans. As a result, the existing cooling towers are now fit for the future, much to the satis­fac­tion of LG Energy Solu­tion.

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