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BMW Group plants stepping up activities in balancing-power market to contribute to grid stability

The energy control stations at BMW Group Plants Dingolfing and Landshut are stepping up their activities in the balancing-power market in Germany. Together with other highly-flexible controllable systems in the BMW Group production network, they will contribute to the stability of the public grid outside of the plant.

Electricity generation from variable renewable electricity sources (VRE) such as wind and solar power has grown rapidly and is expected to continue to do so. However, the distributed, non-synchronous, and weather-dependent nature of the resources causes specific challenges when integrating them into power systems.

P90308045_highRes_the-combined-heat-an

The combined heat and power station at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing is part of the BMW Power Pool and supports the compensation of frequency fluctuations in the grid.

Electricity balancing serves as a versatile energy reserve that can be used to even out fluctuations in the grid. This is necessary because power generation from renewable energies depends on availability of sun and wind and can therefore only be controlled to a limited extent. For this reason, network operators utilize so-called electricity balancing to ensure that the power grid remains stable, despite increasing integration of renewable energies.

This applies when there is a surplus of electricity—for example, of wind power during stormy weather—but also when there is a surge in demand among electricity consumers in the network. If the target grid frequency drops below 50Hz, transmission system operators provide balancing energy to offset this on an ongoing basis, virtually in real time.

(Research by the team at neue energieökonomik (neon) in Germany has, however, identified a so-called “German Balancing Paradox”. While theoretically, increased use of wind and solar power also increases the need for balancing power, empirical evidence in Germany suggests otherwise. While German wind and solar capacity has tripled since 2008, balancing reserves have been reduced by 20%, and costs by 50%.)

The German Balancing Paradox

Neon

Since 2008, installed wind and solar capacity in Germany tripled. At the same time, balancing power reserves decreased by 20%. Source: neon.

By participating in the power-balancing market, the BMW Group is implementing an innovative business model, enabling integration of renewable energies into the electricity mix and fulfilling important requirements for the electric mobility of tomorrow. The Group says this is a further demonstration of its holistic view of premium electro-mobility and its belief in a sustainability that extends beyond electrified vehicles.

As mobility becomes increasingly electric, the energy and mobility sectors will grow closer together.

With this business model, we can help stabilize the grid and expand the use of sustainably-generated electricity. Through intelligent connectivity and management of electricity producers, consumers and storage options, we are helping shape the energy grid of the future. The flexibility we provide paves the way for the CO2-free electric mobility of tomorrow.

—Dr. Joachim Kolling, head of BMW Energy Services

The facilities in Dingolfing and Landshut are part of the BMW Group’s network of different energy systems at various sites. With intelligent management, these highly-flexible systems can absorb energy as needed or release it into the grid.

You have to imagine it as a virtual Group power plant providing us with additional flexibility. We refer to it as the BMW power pool.

—Dr. Kolling

In addition to flexible energy generators, such as the combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Dingolfing, energy consumers can also be integrated into the BMW power pool. The same now applies to the ventilation systems at BMW Group Plant Landshut, for example.

Using the only process of its kind in the industry, ventilation can be flexibly adjusted without any adverse effects. The BMW Battery Storage Farm at the Leipzig plant, which has been on-stream since October 2017, with up to 700 BMW i3 batteries, is also part of the BMW power pool.

As advancing electromobility brings new technical innovations, electrified vehicles will no longer just be consumers of electricity, but will also be able to feed power back into the grid, as needed.

Think of our electrified vehicles as mobile power storage units. Not only will the stationary installations at our plants soon be networked to keep the grid stable, but so will our vehicles.

—Dr. Kolling

BMW Group Plant Dingolfing. At Plant Dingolfing, about 1,600 cars of the BMW 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Series roll off the assembly lines every day. In total, the plant manufactured more than 376,000 cars in 2017.

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Natural gas-fired engine inside the combined heat and power station at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing.

In addition to the automotive core production, BMW Group Plant Dingolfing is also home to production facilities for vehicle components such as pressed parts, seats as well as chassis and drive components.

Due to the plant’s aluminum expertise in vehicle construction and longstanding experience in producing alternative drives, BMW Group Plant Dingolfing furthermore provides crucial components for the BMW i models—such as high-voltage battery, e-transmission and the drive structure—to the production site in Leipzig. In addition, Dingolfing produces both high voltage batteries and electric motors for the BMW Group’s plug-in hybrid models.

The car bodies for all Rolls-Royce models are also manufactured at the site. The Dynamics Center, a large storage and transshipment facility, provides the global BMW and MINI dealership organization with original parts and equipment.

BMW Group Plant Landshut. The Landshut plant produces components for all BMW Group vehicles, such as engine and drivetrain components made from light metal casting, plastic exterior parts, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) body components, cockpit and equipment parts, electric drivetrains, special engines and driveshafts.

These components are being delivered to all automobile and engine plants of the BMW Group production network.

As a competence center for future technologies like lightweight construction and electromobility, the BMW Group Plant Landshut plays an important role during the development of new models. In addition, the plant is a supplier for key components of the BMW i models and the BMW 7 Series.

The BMW Group Plant Landshut is also home to the BMW Group Lightweight Design and Engineering Center. At this automotive think tank, specialists from different divisions are working together to develop innovative, mixed-material concepts and production procedures for future vehicle generations.

Comments

JMartin

I think this is the future for the grid. Balancing will come from private companies, primarily using fuel cell power generation.

HarveyD

With lower cost intermittent energy sources, such as Solar & Wind, going over 40% in many areas, grid balancing will be essential. Batteries, ultra caps and FCs (stand alone or combined) will compete as good clean solutions.

The arrival of many million PHEVs/BEVs/FCEVs will increase e-energy usage and balancing demands. Smarter/automated consumption controls may become part of the solution for better grid balancing..

Lad

One model that has shown good success and good cost savings is to use a large battery to balance the grid when assets are taken off and brought on-line. The Tesla Battery in South Australia is a prime example.

With a large battery, solar and wind become more reliable assets and high cost, polluting fossil fuel generators become 'emergency only' assets.

Arnold

I like paradoxes.
Aussies have nothing if not a sense of humour .
A Dingo fling would be just the ticket esp considering our Scottish expat communities.
Ding golfing sounds too presidential.

HarveyD

Matching BEVs/PHEVs/FCEVs recharge and electrolysers operations to REs production/availability would greatly reduce the use of other storage media/units.

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