News from Germany

Energy Storage & Fuel Cell Industry

Demonstration Projects in Germany

Demonstration projects are key to the development of energy storage and fuel cell technology: they allow the exploration of technological and business options, the development of norms and standards, the creation of intellectual property and generation of the critical market share for production.

The majority of European demonstration projects in the fuel cell and hydrogen technology sectors are run in Germany, where a range of public and private initiatives are currently working together on developing energy storage technologies.

This field includes batteries, hydrogen technology, fuel cells for use with smart grids and e-mobility applications.

The German Federal Government's Energy Concept

Solar heating system Solar heating system | © BSW-Solar/Langrock

The German Federal Government's Energy Concept 2050 sets out guidelines for an environmentally sound, reliable and affordable energy supply.

For the first time it defines Germany's pioneering strategy for the era of renewable energy, and has the necessary flexibility to allow for new technical and economic developments. Regular and targeted monitoring will allow unproductive developments to be recognized and rectified at an early stage.

The energy mix of the future is to be composed mainly of renewable energy, and renewables are to progressively replace conventional sources in a dynamic mix.  Smart grids and innovative storage technologies are to enable the integration of renewable energy.

The Potential for Energy Storage in Germany: There is a Business Case

Digital scale showing 100% Digital scale showing 100% | ©

The renewable energies boom is demanding major investments in energy storage technology. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) calculates that Germany alone will need 25 to 30 billion euros for supplementary energy storage capacity between now and 2030. According to the BCG, global investments in additional pumped storage plants and new technologies such as compressed air plants and super batteries are set to reach as much as 280 billion euros.

Driving this development is the international move towards ecological power generation, a shift which is posing enormous challenges for suppliers and grid operators. Yield from the wind turbines and solar plants now being constructed at an rapid rate fluctuates considerably and is extremely hard to forecast. It will be difficult to compensate for the growing fluctuations in available electricity without a significant increase in storage capacity: a further 330 gigawatts will be needed by 2030.

Storage capacity requirements are particularly high in western Europe and above all in Germany; in the USA and in the People's Republic of China. The BCG study predicts the annual market for electricity storage worldwide, currently around one billion euros, will grow to two to three billion euros over the coming years, to six billion as of 2015 and to over ten billion in 2020.

Study: The Role of Battery Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrids and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Speedometer with "active hybrid" indication Speedometer with "active hybrid" indication | © Angelo Silva

McKinsey published factual evaluation of the economics, sustainability and performance of electric vehicles

Against the background of the directive of the European Union and G8 leaders from September 2009 that CO2 emissions must be cut by 80% by 2050, McKinsey & Company, commissioned by a group of 27 companies, government organization and an NGO, undertook a factual evaluation of power-trains based on proprietary industry data. The study analyzes the potential of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and full cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as well as internal combust engines (ICEs).

The study's three most important messages are:

  1. Electric vehicles (FCEVs, PHEVs and BEVs) have the potential to reduce CO2 and local emissions.
  2. The total cost of ownership (et al. vehicle costs, operating costs, fuel) of all power-trains will converge after 2025.
  3. Only a portfolio of power trains can meet the needs of performance (therefore of consumers) and environment protection.

Moreover, the study underlines the necessity of the development of a range of technologies ensuring a long-term sustainable mobility in Europe.

A time, when electric cars (BEVs, PHEVs and FCEVs) will have a significant share of the automobile market is not as distant as generally believed. Mainly because the costs of power-train components are expected to be reduced by 80-90% by 2020. Therefore the total cost of ownership will decrease significantly and will make the electric vehicle competitive for the mass market.

BMW and Peugeot Announced Joint Venture for Manufacturing of Electric Car Parts

Motor Motor | © Moisa

BMW and Peugeot target electric car parts: The two carmakers will produce components for hybrid and electric cars at Peugeot's plant in Mulhouse, France. They will further conduct research and development at BMW in Munich, their chief executives said on the eve of the Geneva motor show as they fleshed out details of a partnership they agreed to last month.

Under the new partnership they will develop hybrid components for front wheel drive small cars and develop software for hybrid systems. BMW and Peugeot said the partnership would be expanded later to include components such as high-voltage storage (battery), electric engines and chargers. The two companies said they planned to invest an initial EUR 100m in the partnership.They also intend to sell hybrid components to other carmakers and to launch their partnership in the second quarter of this year, pending approval of competition authorities.

Last week the German producer unveiled a new sub-brand devoted to electric cars that will launch an electric and a rechargeable car in 2013.

Roadmap for the Production of Wind Hydrogen in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein

Hydrogen fueling station Hydrogen fueling station | © HOCHBAHN


Conversion to and storage as hydrogen could in future allow Schleswig-Holstein's unused wind power surplus to be harnessed for transport and industrial applications.

This was the conclusion of a study by Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH, Munich, commissioned jointly by Wasserstoff-Gesellschaft Hamburg e.V., the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein.

E-Energy - Smart Grid Made in Germany

Logo E-Energy Logo E-Energy | ©

E-Energy - Smart Grids made in Germany, "E-Energy - ICT-based energy system of the future" is a funding program of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in an interministerial partnership with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Technology partnerships are developing and testing key technologies and business models for an "energy Internet" in six model regions ("Smart Energy Regions").

Together with the E-Energy funding program, the DKE German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (VDE|DKE) has developed the German Standardization Roadmap for E-Energy / Smart Grid.

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