The E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, E.ON electric utility company, battery manufacturers Exide and beta-motion and inverter manufacturer SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) have joined forces to build the first multi-technology, modular large-scale 5MW battery storage system.
The unique feature of the M5BAT (Modular Multimegawatt, Multitechnology Medium-Voltage Battery Storage System) storage system lies in its modular design, which combines different battery technologies for optimal use. It consists of lithium-ion batteries to meet short-term demand; high-temperature batteries to supply power for several hours; and lead-acid batteries when the average discharge time is one hour or less.
The M5BAT project is backed by a €6.5-million (US$8.9-million) grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its “Energy Storage Funding Initiative.” The project will be coordinated by RWTH Aachen University.
Due to its power class and high level of modularity, the battery storage system will be the first of its kind and opens up a wide array of potential applications. The first phase of the project will focus on:
- Integration of renewable energy sources and testing of a decentralized supply of control power to stabilize grid operation; and
- Facilitating electricity trading at competitive prices.
E.ON is responsible for planning and construction of the battery storage facility and for developing and testing marketing strategies for future products for the energy market.
The Institute of Power Systems and Power Economics at RWTH Aachen University (IAEW) will provide research support for the project. The E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University will operate the system, be responsible for grid integration, and provide scientific support.
The manufacturers Exide Technologies GmbH, beta-motion GmbH, and SMA Solar Technology AG will supply technical components and conduct operational testing.
The project will deploy Exide Technologies’ innovative VRLA gel and CSM copper plate technologies, which deliver high cyclic application capacity and high-current discharge. Beta-motion GmbH’s high-output lithium-ion batteries will be used for efficient load management. SMA’s highly flexible battery inverters give the system its scalability and modularity.
Project Management Jülich (PTJ) will coordinate the use of public funds on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014; the utility-scale storage system is planned to enter service in 2015.
Due to the conversion to renewable energy sources in Germany, smart grids and large-scale energy storage technologies are getting ever more important. As part of its technology development and innovation activities, over the last years, E.ON has been investing in a wide range of future technologies. Battery storage systems are particularly interesting because, unlike compressed-air or pump storage power stations, they neither require special geographical conditions nor long planning cycles.—Leonhard Birnbaum, member of the E.ON Board of Management