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.