In the BFH Energy Storage Research Centre, engineers, lecturers and experts from other disciplines collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. These projects give an insight into the broad remit of each individual research group.

Battery storage systems used today are not operated to support the stability of the distribution grid. The primary reason for this unused potential is the fact that there is no incentive for the battery storage operator to use a grid-friendly mode of operation. Distribution system operators are increasingly interested in grid-friendly operation for reasons of grid stability, grid optimization and due to the growing popularity of battery storage, but they do not know how to motivate customers to operate their storage systems on a grid-friendly basis. In a first step, this project, which is funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, aims to quantify the benefits of decentralized, customer-side battery storage for the distribution grid. In a second step, incentive systems for grid-friendly operating strategies will be identified and evaluated. Finally, recommendations will be made to show how a grid-friendly operating strategy can be designed and technically implemented.

‘Swiss Trolley plus’ is a lighthouse project sponsored by the Swiss Office of Energy, the aim of which is the manufacture of a fully electric, Swiss-made vehicle with sustainable components and controls. With its high-performance traction battery, it can also be operated without overhead cables. Thanks to regenerative braking, the ‘Swiss Trolley plus’ can also generate energy savings of up to 15 per cent, making trolley bus lines more cost-efficient, more reliable and more flexible to run.

The Prosumer Lab project is a pilot and demonstration project financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BFE) and BKW Energie AG. At the forefront of the project is a test facility set up in the BFH Energy Storage Research Centre’s laboratory, where the flow of electric energy to a house or apartment block with photovoltaics and storage devices can be analysed in reproducible simulations. During these simulations, system components such as energy managers, inverters and battery storage devices are compared and tested.

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By integrating decentralised feed-in and storage, the capacity of network grids can be increased. Network-side measures have differing effects on network usage, availability and power quality (PQ). The latter, in particular, is strongly influenced by the increased use of power electronics and the change in frequency-related impedance. Using measurements and simulations, these basic principles are explored to generate recommendations and tools for facilitating network planning.

The team around evolaris aviation, a BFH spin-off, aims to develop and commercialise high-tech electric drive systems for single-engine aircraft. Switzerland’s reputation for reliability and precision will play an important role, especially when designing the new drive concept. The development of the high-performance electric motor and electric system, battery, energy manager, battery charger, etc. represents the first step in this direction. Votec evolaris from MSW Aviation was used to identify the most appropriate test aircraft for the project.