Small-scale power plants for a reliable electrical supply

Innovation project: Developing a micro-grid for businesses

The radical changes expected in the energy industry due to renewable energies present major challenges for industrialized countries like Germany: it is important to ensure a continued energy supply that is reliable, environmentally friendly and economical. To that end, the electrical supply must be intelligently decentralized in order to use energy efficiently, particularly domestic sources such as solar, hydro, wind and gas power. This involves a need to move away from generating electricity in large power stations and toward small-scale local power plants (micro-grids). These are located in the immediate vicinity of consumers, and connected to the central electrical grid only when necessary. Among the key groups of consumers are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which altogether use the majority of Germany’s electricity.

The aim of the project is to develop a demonstration micro-grid to supply energy for an industrial SME. This model power plant on AEG premises links energy sources and energy storage components, for example, via intelligent power controllers (devices for flexible control of current and voltage), providing predictive energy management.

The project involves enhancing the energy efficiency, reliability and user-friendliness of existing power controllers. By developing intelligent control strategies, the flow of power between various SME micro-grid components is optimally balanced along with overall energy use. This is accomplished by developing self-optimizing power controllers, flexibly scalable micro-grid components, intelligent works management and workplace air conditioning approaches that might use waste heat from gas power stations, all of which involves drawing on the results of cross-sectional projects in self-optimization, intelligent networking and energy efficiency.

The SME micro-grid allows companies to use variable environmental conditions, such as the current sunlight or wind strength, to produce energy and ensure an effective and efficient energy supply. The project results can be used to further develop existing electrical supply solutions as well as to develop new devices. On the basis of this, development times are shortened and development processes improved. The project makes a key contribution to achieving the objectives of the 2020 High-Tech Strategy, particularly with regard to CO2 reduction, intelligent energy supply systems, electrical energy storage and the expansion of renewable energies.

Project duration
01 August 2012 - 31 July 2015