In emergency situations, mobile power grids can now be established quickly in less accessible areas, making them less dependent on fossil fuels and the associated replenishment of supplies. The system can cut fuel requirements by up to 50 percent. At the 11th European Congress on Disaster Management in Berlin (from September 28 to 29, 2015), the system was presented to international participants from 40 nations.
Pfisterer’s CrossPower mobile energy system, which comprises an energy management system and local generators, is the first solution that allows any conventional and renewable energy sources to be mixed in isolated energy networks known as microgrids. This means that renewable energies can now be utilized reliably in any weather conditions to generate power in remote regions, areas of conflict, or refugee camps, for example. Diesel generators used to be the only reliable energy source in such areas. Stable grids can be established by using intelligent power management and state-of-the-art components: Instead of lead acid batteries, for example, lithium ion technology is used. Combining wind turbine and photovoltaic systems with conventional diesel generators substantially reduces operating costs and the consumption of fossil fuels, while at the same time, reducing the risk of supply difficulties on less accessible transport routes.
“The risky transportation of fossil fuels to areas of crisis is an enormous logistical challenge that poses some extreme dangers while also being very cost-intensive. At the same time, quickly establishing operating power grids is the foundation for the immediate stabilization of the situation, which could allow the population to remain in the area. The use of existing energy sources such as wind and solar energy brings immense benefits,” explains Michael Keinert, member of the Management Board at Pfisterer Holding AG. The reduction of fossil fuels was on the agenda at the European Congress on Disaster Management for the first time. In areas of crisis, available energy is crucial for the supply of drinking water and for communication systems, for example. Without this, the population is usually forced to leave the area due to emerging social problems. Microgrids using renewable energy are a fast and efficient solution to replace missing or destroyed power systems.
Flexible energy management for all energy sources
The CrossPower system consists of a central control unit and powerful accumulators, to which any type of generator can be connected. Output is scalable from 25 kW to 5,000 kW. It is even possible to use available generators or connect to existing energy networks. Intelligent energy management prioritizes renewable energy sources itself according to availability. The diesel generators are only used to charge the batteries when needed and always operate at optimum conditions. This reduces fuel consumption by up to 50 percent. The entire system has a touch-safe design and can be set up in the close vicinity of tents and operating facilities. Remote monitoring is also available for maintaining the CrossPower modules.
“The requirements for providing a reliable smart energy supply in remote regions and critical areas are challenging. The systems have to supply power reliably around the clock, utilizing energy sources available locally, and must be suitable for mobile deployment. And we have achieved precisely this” explains Martin Schuster, Senior Advisor and Project Manager. Success hinges on interface management between the various power sources and consumers. Temporary energy networks can be built quickly and reliably without specialists through the use of modular components by Pfisterer.
Ready for action
In June 2015, Pfisterer’s new mobile energy management system already demonstrated its practical viability under realistic conditions during NATO’s Capable Logistician 2015 exercise in Hungary. The 25-kW system had a storage capacity of 60 kWh and provided a reliable supply of power to a range of central facilities such as operating theaters, cooling rooms, IT systems, and tent accommodation. Consequently, an order was placed to construct a mobile 150-kW plant. The developers are also already in contact with technical relief agencies.
“We shall continue to build such multifunctional, scalable, and mobile power systems, both for temporary use as part of disaster protection measures, but also for long-term use, for example, to supply remote settlements and small islands,” says Michael Keinert, member of the Management Board. “It is an ideal system wherever an independent, cost-effective, and reliable supply of energy from renewable resources is needed.”