Berlin conference highlighted new developments in storage technology
The conference proceedings of the IRES 2009 are now available on CD-Rom! Click here to order.
Valentin Hollain and Helmut Lölhöffel
IRES, the fourth international EUROSOLAR-technology conference, according to all participants, provided an overview on the advances in the storage of energy generated from renewable sources.
Nearly 400 experts from 22 countries discussed about the technological options of storing energy from the renewable source at the Berlin Representation of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia on 24th and 25th November 2009. The conference attracted record attendance and was being held, as in previous years, in association with EnergyAgency.NRW. Meeting the general request put forward to her, EUROSOLAR managing director Irm Pontenagel announced that the IRES series would continue with its fifth conference next year. The view in the professional energy storage world is that IRES has developed into the central platform for sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas on one of the key issues of future energy supply.
Also the presence of Hélène Pelosse testified to that. She is director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA and gave a welcome speech to the participants. She encouraged all actors involved in the process of renewable energy expansion, researchers, scientists, engineers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and politicians to make storage options a focus of their attention.
World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and EUROSOLAR president Hermann Scheer said many people wrongly assumed the storage of energy from the renewable source to be very difficult or impossible.
In truth, however, it had been proved a long time before that the advances in storage technology were more marked than taken notice of in politics. “Storage systems become increasingly powerful and cheaper too. They open up new markets for Renewables and accelerate their entry worldwide.” Norbert Hüttenhölscher, head of EnergyAgency.NRW, advertised "the goal of energy autonomy” as “a political, technological and economic concept worldwide”. The point was to overcome the impediments to the deployment of renewable energy. “Optimizing storage technology” however would be pivotal for advancing the use of renewable energy.
It is not possible to mention all of the many lectures, papers and presentations here. As in previous years, all IRES contributions have been published in a CD-ROM, a copy of which can be ordered from EUROSOLAR at a rate of €100 (€50 for EUROSOLAR and WCRE members) Please click here to order your copy online.
The storage conference has shown that besides lithium-ion technology, there is a host of other technological options of storing energy. During their excursion to the Berlin based company Younicos the participants had the opportunity to experience some of these types of technology as for example the 1 MW sodium-sulphur battery by NGK of Japan. It is the central part of a stand-alone power supply scenario based on renewable sources, simulated for Graciosa, one of the Azorean islands.
That renewable energy systems are a focal point for practitioners by now became apparent in the presentation by Carsten Dommermuth und Josef Dorner of MAN. The representatives of the traditional German manufacturer of mechanical engineering equipment recommended moving Renewables centre stage. They presented a wind diesel hybrid solution on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, which is being realised with Enercon, a company in the wind energy sector. In this cooperation new coalitions are arising for combined action of classic players and innovators.
Michael Sterner of the Kassel Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES made the world’s first public presentation of a new technology for methane production from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Unlike hydrogen, methane can easily be fed into and distributed through the natural gas grid, which has been state of practice for a couple of decades. The gas can be converted into electricity and heat by power/heat coupling or else be used in vehicles. This all-encompassing and groundbreaking approach for electricity, heat and transport achieved great resonance in the audience and is suitable for different timescales, ranging from short term grid stabilising to seasonal storage, essential with full renewable energy supply. This approach will be interesting also for the chemical businesses in the future.
While listening to the numerous contributions on heat and electricity storage, one conclusion inevitably came to mind: In a few years from now, the energy consumers as we know them will have disappeared, consumers will undergo a change to „prosumers“. The relationship between photovoltaics, solar thermal, power/heat coupling, small wind turbines and energy storage technology will make the boundaries between consumers and producers of energy blur more and more. Michael Lippert of Saft Batteries for example announced an increased self-consumption of 60-70 per cent as a result of coupling photovaltaics and lithium-ion technology. Not only will storage technology enable the swift move to a renewable energy power supply structure, but also revolutionise the energy markets along the way.
NEW: The conference proceedings of the IRES 2009 are now available on CD-Rom!
Published by EUROSOLAR and the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE), December 2009,CD-ROM with the conference proceedings of the "4th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference“ (IRES 2009) Berlin/Germany,November 24-25, 2009