E.ON's Aachen storage system to combine three battery types

13 February 2014

E.ON, Exide, beta-motion, and SMA Solar Technology plan to build a 5 MW modular battery storage system in Aachen this year with "unique" features they say.

The project, called M5BAT (Modular Multi-Megawatt Multi-Technology Medium-Voltage Battery Storage)" will be funded by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

What makes M5BAT distinctive, say its developers, is "its modularity, which enables it to optimally combine a variety of battery technologies." It will use 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, providing an unprecedented power range, with a broad range of applications, initially focusing on: renewables integration; testing of techniques 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 important," said Leonard Birnbaum, member of the E.ON board responsible for technology. "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 M5BAT battery 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 technical support. The battery manufacturers, Exide Technologies GmbH and beta-motion GmbH, as well as inverter technology supplier, SMA Solar Technology AG, will provide the components of the system and conduct operational testing.

The M5BAT project will deploy Exide's innovative VRLA gel and CSM copper plate technology, which delivers high cyclic capability and high current discharge. Beta-motion GmbH's high-output lithium ion batteries will be used for efficient load management. SMA's battery inverters will contribute to the system's scalability and modularity. Project Management Jülich (PTJ) will co-ordinate the public funding on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Plans call for construction to begin in the autumn of 2014 and for the storage system to enter service in 2015.

Photo: Dr.-Ing. Leonhard Birnbaum (Source: Christian Schlüter/E.ON)

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