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Siemens stores wind energy as heat

Simple principles promises affordable set up - project receiving research funds from Ministry of Economics and Technology

Siemens, the University of Technology in Hamburg (TUHH) and Hamburg Energie are working on a new method for saving excess wind electricity to feed into the grid during downtimes.

Test set up in Hamburg-Bergedorf

As part of the Future Energy Solution, (FES) excess wind energy is stored as heat in a bed of stones protected by an insulation sheath. Similar to a hot-air blower, a blower heats the airflow to the right temperature. On release, the hot stones heat the airflow, which then heats a boiler. If additional electricity is needed, the boiler turns the energy into electricity. This simple principle facilitates an affordable set up. The project is being funded by Ministry of Economics and Technology

At present, Siemens is running a test installation in Hamburg-Bergedorf. Siemens and Michael von der Heyde, from the Institue of Thermal-fluid Dynamics at TUHH are trying to make loading and unloading the storage more efficient and it is being tested at over 600 degrees Celsius. As the focus in Bergedorf is on the thermic requirements, the reconversion is missing.

Practical solution in a few years

The researchers will try out the conversion of electricity to heat storage and back in spring 2017. A complete thermal store will be set up on the grounds of the Aluminiumhütte Trimet in Hamburg-Altenwerder south of the Elbe on the A7 motorway.

Dr. Till Barmeier, Project Director at Siemens, said: “The technology in our FES stores relies consciously on largely tried and tested technology. As we are working with proven thermic components and a series-produced steam turbine, we can offer a practical solution in a few years.”

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