- Research Project
Energy System 2050
The energy supply system is facing a major upheaval: electricity production with high CO2 emissions is being superseded by power generation plants that use renewable energy sources. To install this fluctuating production requires flexible hydropower plants, but above all new energy storage systems: batteries and hydrogen.
The energy supply of the future will be a combination of various power-generation plants that all use renewable energy sources.
In the future, when the sun shines or the wind blows, hydroelectric power plants will reduce to a minimum the amount of energy they feed into the electrical distribution grid. And yet it may still happen that more electricity is fed into the grid than is currently needed. Such temporary surpluses of electricity can be used to recharge batteries or produce hydrogen by electrolysis.
This hydrogen can then be stored for a longer period of time (e.g. seasonally) at low cost and with low losses. However, it is not just the storage of hydrogen that promises benefits in terms of sustainability, but also the different areas it can be used in. For instance, it can replace the oil or natural gas that often fuel today’s heating systems. In the mobility sector, hydrogen-powered fuel cells can do away with vehicle combustion engines, making fossil fuels, such as petrol and diesel, superfluous. What’s more, when the sun and wind are taking a break, fuel-cell systems can stabilise the power grid by feeding their electrical energy back in. And at the same time, the thermal losses can be used to heat rooms in winter. This is of particular advantage during periods of low wind and sunshine.
The interactive demonstration system illustrates the interaction of the various building blocks of the energy supply of the future. The system consists of a hydropower plant model with a Pelton turbine, a fuel-cell system called IHPoS PowerCube, an electrolyser from BFH partner Vici International and the PowerTrailer. The PowerTrailer combines bifacial (double-sided) photovoltaic modules with modern lithium-ion batteries from the BFH spin-off IPS Integrated Power Solutions AG. The PowerTrailer concept was developed by clevertrailer and subsequently translated into practice by bachelor students. The IHPoS fuel-cell system was developed in various research and industrial projects in conjunction with CEKAtec through to commercialisation.