Image copyright: SMA Solar Technologies AG

The field test showed that self-sufficient energy management via smart grids is cost efficient for the industry.

© SMA Solar Technologies AG

Local “smart grids” could be the future for local businesses, helping to stabilise the national grid while reducing carbon emissions – such are the findings of the field test “lokSMART Jetzt!”, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of the ICT technology for electromobility technology programme.

This summer, three businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia – the bakery “Ihr Bäcker Schüren” and the Koenzen Planning Office (both in Hilden), and VillaMedia, a conference/event location in Wuppertal – participated in the trials to demonstrate that self-generated, renewable energy and bidirectional storage solutions, when integrated with e-mobility, can fully support operations in a way that is energy-efficient and cost-effective.

At the centre of all operations was an intelligent power generation and distribution system (smart grid), for regulation of the power applications which included photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines, combined heat and power (CHP) and other renewable sources as well as battery storage.

The bakery in Hilden served as a prototype for a self-sufficient smart grid. The bakery obtains energy from three PV systems during the day, which it stores to use for baking at night and distribution via a fleet of electric delivery vehicles in the morning, which release power to supply the bakery’s 18 branches.

At the planning office, 80 percent of the electricity required for three e-vehicles was generated from its own plants (PV and heat pump). In addition, bidirectional e-vehicles transported electricity to charging points in other locations, for example the workshop, using direct current. Meanwhile, the VillaMedia test site was a model for island network operations: stationary and mobile storage units buffered the energy from a CHP plant and PV systems for mobility (for six e-vehicles) and commercial operations.

Other partners in the lokSMART Jetzt! consortium (which has received EUR 3 million in investment) include the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, the West Saxon University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, the Hilden public utility company and the SenerTec Centre.