The finalists of The smarter E AWARD, which will be presented on May 10 in Munich, have been named! We will be presenting the submitted projects and products that fit the range of topics at EM-Power Europe – from an infrared cloud sensor to a software platform for electricity marketing to grid booster storage.
In 2020, for the first time, renewables overtook fossil fuels as the EU’s main power source accounting for 38% of EU electricity (fossil fuels 37% and nuclear 25%). Now it is increasingly important to distribute, store and use renewable electricity in such a way that the grids remain stable and a reliable power supply is ensured around the clock.
Forecasting tools are important for this, as are solutions that can stabilize power grids and efficiently control energy flows. The finalists of The smarter E AWARD 2022 once again demonstrate that such products already exist and are proving their functionality in forward-looking projects.
A total of 15 products and projects have made it to the short list in the two categories Outstanding Projects and Smart Renewable Energy. On May 10, 2022, the eve of The smarter E Europe with its four international energy exhibitions, it will be exciting, then three winners per category will be awarded. Here we present the hopefuls who will be exhibiting at EM-Power Europe or who fit into its range of topics.
Finalists in the Smart Renewable Energy category
We have known the fact that temperature is a good indicator that something is wrong at least since the temperature checks we had to endure in a wide variety of places in the course of the Covid19 pandemic. The Italian company C.R. Technology Systems has developed a passive RFID sensor for taking wireless temperature measurements in electronic devices. The sensors do not require an additional battery supply and thanks to their compact design are perfectly suited to tight installation spaces. Signals from multiple RFID sensors are captured by one antenna, and the temperature data is then displayed on a user-friendly dashboard. A machine learning algorithm identifies any temperature readings that are a cause for concern and flags these up to the system operator. One potential use of the sensors is for predictive maintenance at wind power sites or for inverters in large ground-mounted PV systems. By using the sensors to monitor the temperature of critical components, operators are able to intervene before these components fail.
Fluence Energy from the USA is working on how to market electricity from renewable energy plants and storage systems economically and with as little effort as possible. The Fluence IQ software platform enables operators to generate automated bids for their electricity supply and grid services. The software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate the optimum price at which the plant operator can offer its services on bidding platforms, based on various forecasting parameters, such as weather, demand and supply over a 24 hour period. This enables operators to optimize their financial returns across their portfolio of power generation plants and storage systems, and reduce the amount of manual input needed at the control centers to keep the plant running at its optimal level.
Due to the increasing use of renewable energies, electricity feed-in is becoming more volatile. To ensure that this does not lead to grid bottlenecks, the operator of the transmission grid in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, TransnetBW has initiated the DA/RE platform (data exchange/redispatch). DA/RE is a nationwide German initiative to encourage grid operators to take an active role in managing grid feed-in. It consists of a digital platform which is used to coordinate measures to stabilize the grid and resolve bottlenecks in a way that is decentralized, flexible and covers all levels of the grid. The DA/RE platform will enable all stakeholders to fulfill a significant proportion of the new requirements under Redispatch 2.0 by streamlining the necessary coordination process. The automated bottleneck forecasting will also make collaboration between the various stakeholders more efficient, and ultimately mean that the power grid is managed more securely and cost effectively in future. The DA/RE platform issues each grid operator with regular reports on the timetables and redispatch capabilities for each of the NABEG plants (i.e. those covered by the German Grid Expansion Acceleration Act) in their grid.
The two Belgian companies Xemex and Smappee have developed products that enable electricity to be used as efficiently as possible. The LEWIZ energy management solution (EMS) from Xemex is designed to optimize energy flows within a smart home. It consists of a hardware module installed in the fuse box and a display and control app installed on the user’s smartphone. The EMS controls and manages the use of consumers and generation units such as heat pumps, electricity storage systems and PV systems, as well as the charging of electric vehicles, in order to maximize their cost-effectiveness in line with given criteria (e.g. maximizing the use of self-generated energy or taking advantage of variable electricity tariffs). The manufacturer-independent solution is offered with a 10-year service contract.
Smappee has focused on electric car charging with its solution. Offering up to 160 kW DC charging, the EV Base Ultra is the latest addition to Smappee’s EV product line. This innovative all-in-one solution offers users both AC and DC charging facilities, as well as modern payment options using RFID (radio-frequency identification) and QR codes. Users can also choose between CPO (Charge Point Operator) and eMSP (e-Mobility Service Provider) services. Thanks to the Smappee Infinity load and charging management system, users can manage the charging processes for the Smappee charging units and adapt them to the specific conditions on-site e.g. power output limits, self-generated power supplies and variable electricity tariffs. The Smappee dashboard also enables users to set up charging methods with different pricing tariffs and priorities.
Finalists in the Smart Renewable Energy category
Grid stability is also an important issue for the finalists in the "Outstanding Projects" category. In its pilot project in Vilnius, Lithuania, Fluence Energy GmbH (Germany) is one of the first companies in the world to use a battery-based energy storage system in the transmission grid. The “GridBooster” (“NetzBooster”) storage system is highly responsive, with a processing time of 87 milliseconds and the ability to switch from charging to generation mode in just 70 milliseconds. It has been in trial operation in Vilnius since the end of 2021. Such grid boosters enable operators to make better use of the existing cable infrastructure by staggering power transmission. By installing grid boosters at strategic nodes on the grid, operators can also reduce the need for grid expansion work. For Lithuania, empowering the grid with this technology paves the way for greater energy independence and also greater decarbonization, since it allows more renewables to be integrated into the power grid.
Fenecon has also applied for The smarter E AWARD with storage projects. The stationary storage system in Werdohl, Germany, comprises a combination of new, zero-use car batteries and second-life batteries from Renault ZOE electric cars. The system is installed in containers and is used as primary control reserve for the purposes of stabilizing the grid. The aim in future is to use the battery storage capacity to also offer energy management services for industrial customers and utility companies. Inside each container unit are 72 Renault ZOE batteries – each with a capacity of 40 kilowatt hours (kWh) – connected to a storage unit with a capacity of 2.88 megawatt hours (MWh). The containers provide stable and battery-saving operating conditions.
The French Reuniwatt project is about optimizing short-term forecasting for solar power generation. The world’s largest solar battery hybrid system in use in the mining industry has been installed at a mine in Mali. This smart PV system reduces the mine’s fuel consumption by about 20 percent, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases the cost-effectiveness of the mine’s operations. The mine is not connected to the grid and instead has its own microgrid. An infrared sensor continuously monitors the cloud cover and generates precise short-term weather forecasts, which are used to carefully manage the use of the heavy fuel oil (HFO) generators and ensure that solar power is used as much as possible. This monitoring means the HFO generators do not always need to be operated in standby mode. Instead, half the generator capacity can be completely switched off during long periods of good weather.
Participation in the AWARD ceremony
The presentation of The smarter E AWARDs will take place on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. in the International Conference Center (ICM), Room 1, at Messe München (Munich, Germany). Spectators are welcome to attend. With a Three-Day Ticket for The smarter E Europe and its international energy exhibitions, one has free access to the ceremony. All others must register online in advance at The smarter E Europe ticket store and book a free ticket for the ceremony. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of the finalists during the EM-Power Forum at EM-Power Europe on May 11 from 10:30 am, where they will present their products and projects. For this you need a regular exhibition ticket.
You can find more information about the finalists and ticket booking here.