Mellach power plant location enhanced with innovative system solutions


VERBUND is starting to test large-scale battery systems in Mellach: As part of the innovation project SYNERG-E, sponsored by the European Commission, VERBUND is developing innovative business models for local battery storage which on the one hand make electricity from renewable sources available for mobility applications, and on the other hand market this electricity on the balancing market.

With the increasing dynamics of the energy revolution, energy storage is becoming more and more important. This aspect plays a key role in electromobility as well. Not just in the vehicles, but also at the charging stations. For ultra-fast charging, an enormous amount of energy output is needed within a very short space of time. This creates a high short-term load on the local electricity grid and also incurs high costs. To avoid this, VERBUND is using knowledge from a variety of areas and in the SYNERG-E project is optimising usage of local buffer storage to smooth the peak demands and for flexibility on the balancing market.

It all depends on the interplay

The first puffer storage battery for use at ultra-quick charging stations was delivered to the Mellach location the middle of August and is now being used for tests. The degree of efficiency and the loading and discharge cycles of the battery storage are being investigated. Why the battery systems need to be tested before deployment is explained by Karl Zach, Project Manager for Power Solutions at VERBUND Solutions: "Mellach is an ideal location for testing the interplay of the various components. The battery is just one part of the solution. The entire system consists of the grid connection, the battery, the charging system and the micro-grid management system, the local control. The whole is more than the sum of the individual parts - that’s also what the SYNERG-E project is about. That’s the innovative aspect of the project."

Ideal framework conditions in Mellach

What characterises the Mellach location? "We examined the potential of several locations. It became apparent that our VERBUND Mellach power plant location is ideally suited: Here we have the capability of integrating the test operation into the location, we have qualified personnel on-site and enough room available. Because not only the batteries, but also the ultra-fast charging stations require a great deal of room, not just structurally speaking, but also for delivery and pick-up. Keep in mind that the battery containers are about 6 metres long, almost 3 metres high and weigh up to 14 tonnes," Zach describes the dimensions.

It’s all about the grid

An important factor in the decision for Mellach was the grid connection. Central to the test operations are the effects of an ultra-fast charging station on the local power grid and therefore on the distribution grid operator. As part of the SYNERG-E project, pre-qualification test series for the balancing market are also planned, which are necessary for the transmission network operator.

Joining forces for success

The test operations in Mellach are being carried out by VERBUND Solutions and VERBUND Thermal Power. The industrial electricians and the company’s fire brigade were also invited to the first training session. Several VERBUND businesses, as well as SMATRICS and Allego as operators of the ultra-fast charging stations in Austria and Germany, are working together cross-sectorally on the SYNERG-E project. "We are bundling VERBUND’s knowledge base and creating new solutions for the energy future," Zach sums it up.

Mellach power plant location

VERBUND operates two thermal power plants at the Mellach location: A coal-fired power plant, which will discontinue coal operations no later than 2020, and a highly efficient gas-fired combined-cycle power plant, which is in use to support the grid. "With the Mellach gas-fired combined-cycle power plant we can balance out the growing proportion of volatile electricity generation from solar and wind power, or the lower hydropower generation during dry periods, and in this way we make a significant contribution to stabilising the grid," says Robert Koubek, CEO of VERBUND Thermal Power.


Gerlinde Gänsdorfer VERBUND Press Office

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