Photo: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay

Do green bat­tery stor­age sys­tems secure the ener­gy transition?

Engi­neers at the Otto von Guer­icke Uni­ver­si­ty of Magde­burg have begun to devel­op a new gen­er­a­tion of bat­tery stor­age sys­tems that will be able to reli­ably com­pen­sate for grid fluc­tu­a­tions in grow­ing renew­able ener­gy gen­er­a­tion in the future, thus ensur­ing a sta­ble ener­gy sup­ply from wind or solar power.

As part of an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research project fund­ed by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment with more than 1.2 mil­lion euros, the team led by junior pro­fes­sor Dr.-Ing. Ines Hauer and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Lin­de­mann from the Insti­tute of Elec­tri­cal Ener­gy Sys­tems defines the spe­cial require­ments for bat­tery stor­age for their use in grid sta­bi­liza­tion. The aim of the grid experts is to devel­op an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly stor­age bat­tery and to opti­mize it in such a way that it can cope with the high­ly dynam­ic oper­at­ing con­di­tions in an ener­gy net­work char­ac­ter­ized by grid fluctuations.

“Bat­tery tech­nolo­gies are future tech­nolo­gies,” says engi­neer Ines Hauer. “In order to make them sus­tain­able for ener­gy sup­ply and to guar­an­tee a sta­ble ener­gy sup­ply from renew­able ener­gies, the require­ments for stor­age sys­tems must be for­mu­lat­ed as pre­cise­ly as pos­si­ble. Togeth­er with col­leagues from the fields of elec­tri­cal grids, pow­er elec­tron­ics, bat­tery sys­tem tech­nol­o­gy and mod­el­ling as well as chem­istry, we clar­i­fy which spe­cial cri­te­ria bat­tery stor­age must meet when using it for grid stabilization.”

In the three-year research project “Grid­Batt – Bat­tery Tech­nolo­gies for Ensur­ing sta­ble grid oper­a­tion”, the sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Magde­burg are work­ing close­ly with TU Clausthal and the Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter for High Per­for­mance Mate­ri­als (THM) Freiberg. Togeth­er they want to devel­op the pro­to­type of an alu­mini­um-ion bat­tery. The aim of this pro­to­type is to test high­ly dynam­ic process­es, such as those found in the net­work when con­sump­tion is cov­ered by feed-in from renew­able sources, under real­is­tic conditions.

Alu­mini­um-ion bat­ter­ies are char­ac­ter­ized by very high charg­ing and dis­charge rates. Com­pared to cur­rent bat­tery stor­age sys­tems, they can be charged or dis­charged with high­er cur­rents. Under lab­o­ra­to­ry con­di­tions, these bat­ter­ies already show a high cycle sta­bil­i­ty of up to 100,000 cycles. A cycle means that the bat­tery has been ful­ly charged or dis­charged. The alu­mini­um-ion bat­tery could be ful­ly charged 100,000 times from 0 to 100 per­cent, accord­ing to junior pro­fes­sor Hauer. “In addi­tion, it con­sists large­ly of avail­able mate­ri­als that are envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, non-tox­ic and recy­clable. We want to find out whether this new devel­op­ment can meet all dynam­ic require­ments and pro­pose them as a pos­si­ble alternative.”

The Magde­burg sci­en­tists analyse the var­i­ous net­work require­ments dur­ing bat­tery devel­op­ment and inves­ti­gate how these high­ly dynam­ic require­ments affect the stor­age system.

The project is one of the first projects under the “Research Fac­to­ry Bat­tery” fund­ing line of the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and Research in the “Bat­tery Use Con­cepts” clus­ter to be offi­cial­ly launched in Octo­ber 2020.