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Smart Energy Storage for energy self-sufficiency on the Island of Borkum

The NETfficient EU project develops smart energy management and efficient energy storage solutions

NETfficient is an EU project launched in 2015 with the aim of bringing together project partners from seven European countries to work on the development and implementation of storage technologies and the smart distribution of renewable energy. The project is being implemented on Borkum, a German island in the North Sea. By introducing smart energy storage technologies to the existing electricity grid on the island, the idea is to raise the share of renewable energy used on Borkum and bring the island one step closer to its goal of self-sufficiency. Storage technologies range from old electric car batteries to ultracapacitors and hydrogen storage, in combination with efficient energy management systems. –Steinbeis- Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) is one of 13 partners of the project.

The project also involves an analysis of the life expectancy of systems and maintenance requirements, as well as a life cycle assessment. An energy management platform will make it possible to cover the entire energy value chain, from power generation to the end user. Technologies are implemented in five application scenarios. Appropriate business models are also being developed to help lower existing market barriers for small-scale distributed energy storage systems and to ensure project results can be translated into successful market introduction. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is supporting exploitation and roll-out of project results. It is also supporting the project consortium with PR and administrative and financial tasks relating to the project.

Installations are already underway on the island of Borkum and making good progress. By early 2018, all storage systems will be connected and ready for action. Tourists on the island have already been able to visit the project showroom since April 2017. Hosted by the local utility of Borkum, it is being used by the project partners to showcase their contributions to innovative, smart, and sustainable energy storage and storage operation. The exhibition includes demonstration models of energy storage technologies such as hydrogen and battery systems and energy management applications. Some of the exhibits have internet access and touchscreens to allow visitors on site to try out functionalities such as predicting energy requirements. The project also hosts a website with a virtual showroom providing insights into different testing scenarios and 3D simulations of the technologies being used in the project. NETfficient is sponsored by the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement No. 646463).


Dr. Annette C. Hurst, Andrea Immendörfer
Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Stuttgart/Karlsruhe)