E.ON to build novel modular multi-technology battery storage system in Germany

Energy utility E.ON SE is to lead a consortium to build this year in Aachen a unique large-scale modular battery storage system with a power range of 5 MW.

The “Modular multi-megawatt multi-technology medium voltage battery storage” (M5BAT) system will receive €6.5 billion in funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The modular approach to M5BAT will enable it to combine a variety of battery technologies. These will include high output lithium-ion batteries for short duration discharge, high temperature batteries for medium duration discharge, and lead-acid batteries for short and medium duration discharge.

With its power range and the high degree of modularity, M5BAT will open up a broad range of applications. Initially, the project will focus on renewables integration, testing of distributed regulating energy provision to promote grid stability, and power price arbitrage.

“The growth of renewables in Germany is making smart grids and large-scale energy storage technologies increasingly more important,” said Leonard Birnbaum, member of the E.ON Board of Management responsible for technology issues. “Battery storage systems are particularly interesting because, unlike compressed air storage or pumped storage hydro, they aren’t subject to narrow geographic constraints and don’t require long planning cycles.”

E.ON is responsible for planning and construction of the battery storage facility and for developing and testing marketing strategies for future storage products for the energy marketplace. The Institute of Power Systems and Power Economics (IAEW) at RWTH Aachen University will provide research support. The E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University will operate the system, integrate it into the grid, and provide scientific support. The manufacturers, Exide Technologies GmbH, beta-motion GmbH, and SMA Solar Technology AG, will supply the technical components and conduct operational testing.

The project will deploy Exide Technologies’ innovative VRLA gel and CSM copper plate technology, which delivers 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.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014, and for the system to enter service in 2015.

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