Storage Highlights countdown #1: combined gas and battery grid services power plant by Technische Werke Ludwigshafen and Younicos

pv magazine has evaluated and assessed a range of energy storage innovations and applications for the upcoming Energy Storage Europe in Düsseldorf (March 13-15).

Our highlights ranking awards the top 10, based on the scores of an expert, independent jury, which assessed a total of 24 candidates. The full ranking is published in the pv magazine energy+storage special issue, created in cooperation with Messe Düsseldorf.

After publishing last week a preview of the fifth, fourth, third and second technologies in the ranking – Electrochaea’s scalable methanathan plant, Fraunhofer ISE’s Cell-Booster, SMA large-scale turnkey solution Medium Voltage Power Station for the global market, and E3/DC Multi-string three-phase battery inverter technology – we now turn to the highest ranked technology.

#1 combined gas and battery grid services power plant by Technische Werke Ludwigshafen and Younicos

Younicos managed to interest and convince the jurors with its simple concept. Their rankings ranged from first to 16th, and so for the average overall juror rankings and proposals, this led to the top position in this highlights feature.

Younicos submitted a project in which the company, together with the Technische Werke Ludwigshafen, developed a combined balancing power plant, coupling a 4 MW gas turbine with a 9 MW battery with a capacity of 6.5 MWh. The intention is to provide both primary and secondary control power, and to get pre-qualification from the network operator for both installations as one technical unit. The plant is still under construction. The left side of the building in the photo above is intended for the battery, the right for the gas turbine.

The combination will serve an often-overlooked market segment with significant scaling potential, says juror Julian Jansen. “Younicos has successfully shown how to do a hybrid solution which can provide a range of balancing services and is predestined to effectively stack multiple values,” says Jansen.

There are many small-scale, partly older gas turbines in operation – 250 with under 15 MW of power in Germany alone. Their long-term operation is often no longer worthwhile. One reason is that they can only offer balancing power if they are up and running, otherwise their reaction time is too slow.

At the same time, the demand for balancing power is rising as part of the energy transition. For battery storage to be able to offer this alone it must be equipped with a lot of storage capacity. The charm of the solution presented is that within this technical unit the gas turbine does not have to run continuously, but the battery initially takes over, and the gas turbine only intervenes when the duration of the control power exceeds the capacity of the battery.

It is therefore an interesting “second life” project for gas turbines in the given combination, says juror Tobias Federico.

However, as with most business models, there is also competition. As the market for primary balancing power is relatively limited, the option of achieving the conditions for the secondary balancing power market is interesting, notes another member of the jury. With this business model, however, the combined gas and battery storage power plant is competing with intelligent demand-side management.

One of the categories for the highlight ranking is its relevance for the energy transition. For the combined gas and battery plant, this is the case because it reduces the so-called must-run capacity of conventional power plants. How relevant the topic is can also be seen by the fact that Siemens and Bosch have also submitted highlights that deal with the connection of battery storage systems with conventional generators.

Younicos booth at Energy Storage Europe can be found at Hall 8b / D02.

The Energy Storage Highlights Jury comprises:

  • Logan Goldie Scot, who heads up the Energy Storage insight team at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
  • Tobias Federico, Founder and Managing Director of consulting institute Energy Brainpool.
  • Dirk Uwe Sauer, Professor of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage Systems Engineering at RWTH Aachen University.
  • Julian Jansen, a Senior Market Analyst at IHS Markit Technology.
  • Stephan Schnez, Senior Scientist in Corporate Research at ABB in Switzerland.

Read more about the Energy Storage Highlights ranking, criteria and the selection process in the pv magazine energy+storage special.