Siemens Gamesa is to install the first “Future Energy System – FES” on the large scale. It is an innovative wind–heat storage technology that provides energy from hot stones. Installation work will begin in the next few days at an aluminum smelter in Hamburg, Germany.
This is a great milestone since the development of storage solutions for energy produced with renewables is a key technology in the energy transition context, as it will allow a greater penetration of these generation sources.
This achievement by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is the result of the company´s three-year period conducting R & D activities in a test unit in the German city of Hamburg to convert wind power output to heat and then store the surplus energy in a form of “filling” in stones.
Now the company is turning its findings into a real-scale project and in the next few days will install the first large-scale “Future Energy System – FES” at the aluminum smelting company Trimet, also in Hamburg, the company said in a statement. The facility, which is expected to start operating in the spring, will have approximately 1,000 tons of rock “fill” that will be capable of providing 30 MWh of electric energy at temperatures of 600 degrees Celsius.
The system works with a steam turbine that turns heat back into electricity. According to the company that has chosen the local company Hamburg Energie GmbH as a partner-, if a wind turbine with a power of 1.5 megawatts produces energy 24 hours, the system can –over that same period – supply energy equivalent to the consumption of 1,500 German average homes or enough to charge the batteries of approximately 50 electric cars.
In times of sunny weather and high winds, renewable energies are available in large quantities, and often the supply exceeds the network capabilities. Conversely, there are seasons of little wind and little sunshine where they do not generate enough energy. That is why storage systems can help to act as a buffer between periods of overload and those of weak production with renewables.
The major barrier was so far that most storage technologies offered limited capabilities or were not cost competitive. Siemens Gamesa´s new solution, a project supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, offers a highly economic approach in this regard, the company says.