Project M5BAT: The World’s First Modular Large-Scale Battery Storage System To Be Built in Aachen

The E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, E.ON electric utility company, Exide and Beta Motion battery manufacturers and SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) inverter manufacturer have joined forces to build the world's first, modular large-scale 5-megawatt battery storage system in Aachen this year. The M5BAT (Modular Multimegawatt, Multitechnology Medium-Voltage Battery Storage System) project is backed by a €6.5 million grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its “Energy Storage Funding Initiative.” The project will be coordinated by RWTH Aachen University.

The unique feature of the M5BAT storage system lies in its modular design, which combines different battery technologies for optimal use. It consists of lithium-ion batteries to meet short-term demand, high-temperature batteries to supply power for several hours, and lead-acid batteries when the average discharge time is one hour or less. 

Due to its power class and high level of modularity, the battery storage system will be the first of its kind in the world and opens up a wide array of potential applications. The first phase of the project will focus on the following areas: Integration of renewable energy sources and testing of a decentralized supply of control power to stabilize grid operation, and facilitating electricity trading at competitive prices.

“To achieve a 100 percent renewable power supply, adding large-scale storage systems to the utility grid is of vital importance. These systems back up the power from renewable sources and help stabilize utility grids. This research project will provide us with important data on how large-scale battery inverters can be used in the utility grid in the future. The goal is to develop a concept for modular and flexibly scalable battery inverter systems that can be used to supply all critical grid management services in the utility grid,” explained Volker Wachenfeld, Senior Vice President Hybrid & Storage at SMA.

About SMA
The SMA Group generated sales of €1.5 billion in 2012 and is the global market leader for solar inverters, a key component of all PV plants and, as an energy management group, offers innovative key technologies for future power supply structures. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented internationally in 21 countries. The Group employs more than 5,000 people worldwide. SMA’s broad product portfolio includes a compatible inverter for every type of module on the market and for all plant sizes. The product range includes both inverters for photovoltaic plants connected to the grid as well as inverters for off-grid systems. SMA is therefore able to provide ideal technical inverter solutions for all plant sizes and types. Since 2008, the Group’s parent company, SMA Solar Technology AG, has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and also in the TecDAX index. In recent years, SMA has received numerous awards for excellence as an employer and achieved first place in the nationwide “Great Place to Work®” competition in 2011 and 2012 and fourth place in 2013.

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