BERLIN — GE and project partners Kofler Energies and BELECTRIC announced they are putting a hybrid power plant into operation in Berlin that combines solar photovoltaic with combined heat and power (CHP) technology and battery storage. With an intelligent energy management system and comprehensive operational oversight, power output can be controlled to meet demands highly efficiently.

GE said the plant will not only supply power and heat to the GE Power Conversion production site in Marienfelde, Germany, but it also will feed power into the grid. The system is based on a scalable business model that also can be adapted for larger units.

The centerpiece of the hybrid power plant is a GE Jenbacher J312 gas engine with integrated heat storage and an efficiency level of 89.2 percent. The 400 kW system covers the basic heat load of the site during the heating season and is fueled by energy-efficient natural gas. The plant enables primary energy savings of around 30 percent compared to systems that generate heat and power separately through conventional heating and external electricity procurement.

A 600 kW solar power system with an operating voltage of 1,500 volts has been installed on the roof of the production facility. All measurement readings required for monitoring and controlling the complex system can be called up and managed remotely via the central energy management system.

When the amount of power being generated is high but consumption is low, surplus power is stored in a battery with a capacity of 200 kWh. This can then be released and fed into the plant network as required to meet higher levels of demand, providing flexibility to power generation. Surplus power only is supplied to the grid if the battery is completely full.

The boilers, pumps, and valves are controlled in a way that ensures that the system always operates efficiently and in line with demand. The data recorded makes energy consumption transparent and can be used to help adjust the power supply to meet requirements to optimum effect. Thanks to separately installed counters, it is also possible to distinguish between measurements for electricity from renewable energy sources and from CHP.

“As a flagship project, the German hybrid power plant in the Marienfelde district of Berlin shows that CHP, solar power, and battery systems complement one another perfectly over the course of the year,” said Günter Nickel, CEO of Kofler Energies AG. “During the heating season, most of the power is produced via CHP, while the amount generated by the solar power system increases in the warmer months of the year. The battery can be used to deal with any temporary surpluses or shortages of power. This combination enables a very high degree of self-sufficiency, ensures a reliable supply, and offers the opportunity to store surplus energy and use it efficiently, either internally or externally.”

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Publication date: 5/25/2015

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