Daimler Turning Fossil Fuel Relic Into Battery Storage Center

German auto giant Daimler has announced an ambitious plan to transform a former coal-fired power station into a battery storage plant for its electric vehicles.

The company claims this venture will double the usage of battery systems to improve the life cycle costs of its e-mobility operations.

The joint venture between Daimler and its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy, GETEC Energie and The Mobility House is the third large storage plant made of car battery systems that the automaker has connected to the German power grid.

A total of 1,920 battery modules are bundled in a plant in Elverlingsen –in the German state of South Westphalia — to create a “live replacement parts store” for its fleet of third-generation electric smart cars.

To be usable as a replacement, a battery needs regular cycling during the storage period, consisting of deliberate, battery-conserving charging and discharging.

This prevents exhaustive discharge, which can lead to a battery defects. In essence, the “active” storage of the lithium-ion battery modules at the Enervie power station site in Elverlingsen is like a “fountain of youth” for the battery systems.

The stored battery modules are sufficient for at least 600 vehicles, and with an installed power output of 8.96 megawatts (MW) and energy capacity of 9.8 MW per hour (MWh), the battery storage plant is available to the energy market, for example for supplying primary balancing power.

Together with the 12.8 MWh second life battery storage plant that opened in Elverlingsen in 2016, as well as the 17.4 MWh replacement part storage facility in Hanover, almost 40 MWh of energy will soon be on the grid.

The company noted all three projects were realized without public funding.

In addition, the modular design of the battery storage facility enables the system to continuously and fully automatically stabilize the power grid with balancing power, with the ability to react to grid fluctuations within milliseconds.

The Mobility House, founded in 2009, cooperates with several automobile manufacturers in more than ten countries worldwide from its locations in Munich, Zurich and Sunnyvale, Calif., and specializes in charging and energy storage technologies.

As automakers across the globe move towards connected, autonomous and sustainability powered vehicles, they are looking at adaptive reuse programs to transform existing — if unused — infrastructure to suit their needs.

Aside from Daimler’s battery storage project, Ford announced this week it is restoring the shuttered Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown district, which will come back to life as a center for self-driving and electrified vehicle development.

The purchase of the station follows Ford’s acquisition of the former Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, two acres of vacant land, and the site of an old brass factory that will also become part of its Corktown campus.

Daimler is also accelerating construction of new facilities for research and development of self-driving vehicles. Earlier this month the company announced the opening of an automated truck research and development center in Portland, Ore., which will design automated driving platforms for the company’s busses and trucks business.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *