Researchers Launch Energy Storage Field Test in Bavaria

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Kraftwerke Haag GmbH, VARTA Storage GmbH and the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE-Bayern) on Oct. 18 launched a field test for a new stationary intermediate energy storage system – the Energy Neighbor.

The field test will be fully operational in December and will last for at least 10 years, according to Marcus Muller, manager for the project, which is called EEBatt, or decentral stationary battery storage for efficient use of renewable energy and support grid stability.

Muller said that the Energy Neighbor system was designed to support the growing number of southern Germany communities that are generating more power from roof-mounted solar panels during peak times than can be locally consumed.

According to Muller, the Energy Neighbor system was installed in a village consisting of 51 households, and of those households, 21 own a PV system. Overall, he said, the installed PV systems have a combined peak capacity of 307 kW, which is a lot for such a small village.

The research team determined the exact geographic point to install the system via a grid simulation.

“We installed the system at the point where the voltage was the worst due to too much PV installed in the whole village,” Muller said.

The system is equipped with a cybernetic energy management system and split into eight self-controlling subunits so it works on its own to serve the community. Each subunit contains 13 battery modules with 192 battery cells each.

Muller said that the software that operates the system was developed by the research team at TUM.

The Energy Neighbor test is one of 11 subprojects that EEBatt is running. Muller said that the group does not currently have any plans for the system after the test “since it is so far in the future.”

The system was taken online by the Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Ilse Aigner, in the Moosham district of Kirchdorf in Upper Bavaria. The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology funds TUM within the EEbatt project with approximately 30 million euro ($34 million). In addition to the scientists from 13 professorships of TUM, Kraftwerke Haag, VARTA Storage and ZAE-Bayern are involved as subcontractors.

Aigner said in a statement: “Further development of storage technologies is an important element of the energy transition. Energy Neighbor increases the local consumption of generated power, reduces the load on the grid and facilitates the expansion of renewable energy production capacity. Bavaria is moving ahead in this project with its exemplary fostering of research.”

With 200 kWh of storage capacity and 250 kW of electrical power, the storage facility can balance the performance peaks of solar systems with the consumption peaks of connected households, according to the research group.

Project leader Andreas Jossen said in a statement that the research group plans to gather insight from the actual operation of the system and apply it to the advancement of storage systems.

The eight-ton, fully integrated storage system can be extended in 25 kW steps with additional racks, and an additional transformer allows the system to be used as an insular, grid-independent solution.

A special temperature management system keeps the battery cells in an optimal working range in order to support an individual cell lifetime of more than 10,000 complete cycles, the research group said.

Lead image credit: EEBatt.

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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