Thursday, June 5, 2014

New technology for energy storage dreams of the giant battery – FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

It was an immense effort that held 2,000 workers and engineers six years in a breath. Immediately after the First World War fell into the Bavarian Alps the start of the construction of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world. Huge pipes, turbines and generators had to be brought in and installed until in January 1924 the Walchensee power plant to become operational. The nearby town of Kochel am See then became the pioneer of modern energy technology.

90 years Kochel could once again become a pioneer on the lake. Because in the 4200-resident community the Hessian company Gravity Power is planning its first underground pumped storage power plant according to information this newspaper. With the old hydroelectric power plant near it has nothing to do, it could also be built differently everywhere. “Arise is a demonstration plant with which we want to prove that our modular pumped storage power plants do not need a lot of space on the surface and represent an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional pumped storage” advertises Horatio John, CEO of Gravity Power GmbH, at its headquarters in Hofheim Taunus has.

The Municipal Council in the Southern Bavarian municipality has expressed interest in the project and a working group set up closer to deal with the projects and will keep for a possible building site out. Nothing has been finally decided, yet the initiators hope to be able to begin this year with the construction.

The project would not be more than a side note, energy storage would not urgently needed in Germany. According to the plans of the Federal Government should come from renewable sources by 2030 half of the electricity demand in Germany. Flows of green power in amounts no longer sufficient existing storage capacities from soon. The problem is that wind and solar power supply, unlike conventional power plants only irregular stream. If there is a storm or there are no clouds in the sky, is produced in Germany already more power than is needed and can be stored.

From numerous companies being researched new technologies across the country, the current can save for short or long periods of time: on large batteries of technical procedures that transform power temporarily storable gas or so-called compressed air storage. But still pumped storage power plants very efficient compared to newer approaches when it comes to store electricity in large quantities over a few hours. In these systems, water masses are pumped with excess power into higher reservoirs. If necessary, the water flows into the depth and drives turbines.

But to build the required additional large-scale systems has proven to be difficult in Germany recently. In Atdorf in the Black Forest, the energy company RWE has dropped out as one of two major investors from the proposed project, last year gave the city utility association Trianel a major project at the Rur Lake in the Eifel. The energy suppliers deters that no longer count on the equipment due to the between day and night less strongly fluctuating electricity prices as in the time before the energy turnaround. In addition, the citizens go to the barricades if they are to be built in front of the nose towering concrete dams or artificial reservoirs

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