Fraunhofer buys Equana inverter for distributed storage tests


Canadian energy storage manufacturer Equana Technologies will supply Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute with a Bi-Direx inverter to develop creative control strategies for distributed energy storage systems.

The smart grid group of the Fraunhofer Institute, the largest solar energy research organisation in Europe, will use the inverter as the platform to develop systems to contribute to load balancing strategies from utilities and energy companies.

Brent Harris, chief technology officer of Eguana Technologies, said: “Smart ‘edge-of-grid’ power electronics will be a critical element of the system control strategies that will make decentralised residential and commercial storage capacity available to the power grid for load balancing in real time.”

Bi-directional inverters, like Eguana’s Bi-Direx, are able to move from charge to discharge mode, and respond in real time to capacity and pricing signals from the power grid.

This type of technology will allow energy companies to trade energy, a market which Navigant Research predicts will grow in Germany to US$3.6 billion by 2020.

By performing real-time optimisation of energy resources, these virtual power plants can tap into existing grid networks to tailor electricity supply and demand services for customer.

The Fraunhofer Institute’s smart grid research group contributed to the incentive programme for distributed energy storage in Germany.

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