“I always compare these two technologies to a glass and a bottle of water,” says Magnus Pielke, head of be.storaged, the subsidiary set up to manage the project by EWE. “The glass is the lithium battery because it has a relatively small volume but a wide opening, so you can empty it quickly. The bottle has more volume, but the neck means you can’t get at the water as quickly.”
Saori Hamamura manages the NEDO consortium on the Japanese side. She says Japan is developing its own renewable energy system, similar to Germany’s. “We wanted to contribute to stabilizing the grid and developing a new business model with our battery system, but we didn’t have much experience in Japan because the market is different. Germany is the best country for renewable energy.”
Showa Denko made the lithium-ion batteries with a high power charge/discharge output, while NGK manufactured durable, large-capacity NAS® batteries. Hitachi developed the power grid data and battery control system.
Hamamura is very satisfied with the five-year cooperation with EWE. “We shared a lot of information and results with each other,” she says.
The two technologies are linked by computer banks that determine which batteries need to meet demand and which ones have to be charged. Data is crucial. So enera is planning to fit 30,000 smart meters into households and companies in the northwest. The state of Lower Saxony has become a pioneer of Germany’s transition to clean energy, using a higher proportion of renewables than most other German regions. “We expect battery storage to play a whole new role in the market,” says Pielke with satisfaction.