State funding could boost electricity storage technology. (Photo: Chesky_W / Thinkstock)
Reading a photovoltaic module costs today measured in terms of its performance about one-tenth of what you still had to go in 2005 for it. Because the solar cells have become so cheap, the use of photovoltaic has increased rapidly in recent years. However, the fall in prices was not a matter of course: research and development have spent enormous sums and efforts. Now politics, business and research community want to repeat this energy act with energy storage. An overview of how to succeed.

The largest initiative of the policy is the research initiative energy storage of the federation. The Federal Ministries of Economics and Energy as well as Education and Research provide a total of 200 million euros. Over 80 individual projects are currently being promoted by the ministries, which cover all common storage technologies such as batteries, pumped storage, power-to-gas systems as well as thermal storage and also a number of exotic technologies.

In a similar vein, the funding programs of some countries hit, with the Battery LabFactory project at the Technical University of Braunschweig pursues a particularly interesting approach: with four million euros, the state of Lower Saxony has built the "Labor Factory", in which all manufacturing steps of a battery run and the researchers investigate new processes and materials directly during production.

Another project that aims to combine industrial life with research is Lithium Ion Battery 2015 (LIB2015): 60 players from industry and research, including major automakers, mechanical engineers and universities, have teamed up to improve lithium batteries. The companies have committed 360 million euros to the working groups, currently 17 in number, over the next few years. Thus, for example, high-energy batteries (AG HE-Lion) or batteries based on nanoparticles (AG LIB-NANO) are being developed.

Every year, the Institute for Technical Thermodynamics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) organizes the Energy Storage Symposium, where scientists from all over the world exchange views on the new developments in order to gather the concentrated knowledge from the research projects. The counterpart of the economy is the EnergyStorage trade fair in Düsseldorf, where companies present their products and concepts in exhibitions and lectures every spring. display

In order for them to be hooked up to the grid, the Confederation via the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau promotes private individuals who want to cache a part of their solar power generated on the roof with a large battery home storage - so that they can use more of them on their own. By the end of 2014, over 15, 000 private solar power generators had already taken advantage of the low-interest loans.

The future will show

The sums that are being invested in the development of viable storage technologies today highlight the importance that the subject has for professionals. All of you have long since realized that good electricity storage systems are the next decisive step towards a successful energy turnaround. Whether the efforts will suffice, however, will only be apparent in ten years. And whether the Germans will store electricity on a large scale will also depend on how fast electricity storage will be profitable. This was not the case for photovoltaics - but with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), politics found an effective way to boost the photovoltaic industry. The right promotion could make the difference.

© - Felix Austen
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