Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy and enercity have operationalised what they claim is one of the biggest battery accumulator banks in Europe after a year under construction. With this 1800 of the available 3240 modules available for the smart electric fleet have been pooled to serve as a surge power accumulator that soaks up excess available supply from wind and solar energy sources, to make it available on high demand events. The accumulator bank is rated at 5 Megawatt output.
Once the entire system comes online in the first quarter of 2018, the available output will rise to 17.4 MWh.
The collaboration seeks to build on the strengths of the two partners, with the Daimler arm able to provide lithium-ion battery packs that are effectively being kept in storage for future use in their smart electric car, while enercity builds on its strengths as an energy supply company. In turn, the battery packs are manufactured by another Daimler subsidiary Accumotive.
The idea of providing giant battery banks as accumulators is not new. The most famous case in recent times is of Tesla stepping in to address the need for precisely such an accumulator in South Australia, where despite adequate supply from renewable sources, cases of load-shedding black-outs have risen. Here, the essential difference is that the batteries are essentially in ‘live storage’ while addressing the business case of an energy company, only to be used later on for transportation.
We may see other companies enter the field, although the normal scenario would be to see automotive battery packs coming into storage banks as end of life options.
However, Daimler and their partners are touting this approach as an environmentally beneficial use of available resources to offer a balanced electric grid, avoiding the complexity of high speed turbines and rotating kinetic masses that are traditionally used in the grid.