Daimler uses former coal-fired power plant as battery storage

Author: Dimitri Lagun
Date: 06.08.2018

1920 battery modules form a “living spare parts warehouse” in Elverlingsen

Without battery storage, which can compensate power fluctuations, an energy revolution is almost impossible. For this purpose, Daimler is now using a closed coal-fired power plant.

The number of similarities between coal-fired power plants and renewable energy tends to be small. But the example Elverlingsen shows that it is still possible to combine these opposites. In this case, coal has been processed into electricity for more than 100 years. If you visit the place today, you will find a ghost town. Since 2013 no one has lived there anymore and the coal power plant was closed. The last power plant block was just turned off in March. This ends a chapter for the region, but a new one is about to open.

Mercedes-Benz Energy, Getec Energie AG and the technology company “The Mobility House AG” will jointly use parts of the abandoned power plant to realize their energy revolution there. A battery storage with 1920 battery modules has already been converted into a “living spare parts warehouse”. Those batteries shall be used as soon as the cells in the electric smarts third-generation break down. The technology continues to evolve so fast that in a few years it could be complicated to simply order new modules. Therefore they are already stored in advance like other spare parts.

But due to storing the batteries may be damaged. A so-called deep discharge could lead to defective batteries that eventually stop working. But if you load and unload the lithium-ion battery modules systematically it contributes to an even longer-lasting performance. And that is precisely the task of the partners in the energy storage in Elverlingsen, who even earn money with it.

A battery storage can supply about 1800 households with energy for one day with its installed power of 8.96 megawatts and an energy capacity of 9.8 megawatt hours. But it is primarily used to provide primary control power to the energy market. Through this fluctuations can be compensated within 30 seconds if generation and consumption do not coincide with each other.

Whereas the Elverlingsener storage system operates within milliseconds. Therefore the concept is a win-win situation for the cooperation partners, and also supports their energy revolution, since a growing amount of primary services is needed to expand the fluctuating renewable energies.

However, the storage facility in Elverlingsen is not the first of this kind built by Daimler. Recently, Mercedes-Benz Energy has built the largest battery storage facility in Europe, together with enercity (Stadtwerke Hannover). At the location in Herrenhausen, over 3000 battery modules for the third generation of Smart Electric Drive are stored in a stationary storage facility, which also have a range of primary services. The entire system thus has a storage capacity of 17.4 MWh, which is equivalent to the daily requirement of 3200 households. The power of 14 MW also means that power fluctuations can be rectified in just a few milliseconds.

Already in 2016, the world’s largest second-life battery storage facility was built in Lünen. It has a capacity of 12.8 MWh. The 1000 disused battery systems were once part of the second generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. Because even if the car has left behind its best years, that does not mean that this also applies to the battery. If they are used stationary, the small capacity loss has nearly no influence. Its remaining durability is estimated by Daimler to around ten more years.