Rolls-Royce has made an investment in Berlin-based start-up company Qinous GmbH as it looks to increase its exposure to the rapidly developing energy storage sector and bolster its microgrid offering.
Marcus Wassenberg, CFO and Labour Director at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “As a strategic investor, the aim is to set up a partnership with Qinous for the development of innovative energy storage solutions and together offer cleaner solutions designed to meet tomorrow’s needs.”
The increased use of renewable energies has exacerbated the challenge of how to maintain a reliable energy supply, when weather conditions are unfavourable, to meet demand, according to Rolls-Royce.
Autonomous electricity networks, or microgrids, combine cogeneration plants, diesel- and gas-powered gensets and renewable sources with batteries and a control system that links up all the elements in an energy management system to optimise the energy usage technically and economically.
Qinous has gained considerable experience in the integration of battery storage and energy systems in microgrids in more than 30 projects worldwide and has already integrated MTU Onsite Energy systems from Rolls-Royce in such projects, Rolls-Royce said.
The investment made by Rolls-Royce is to expand the existing product portfolio and strengthen global sales and marketing activities, the company said.
Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “We have identified our customers’ needs in terms of autonomous energy supply systems that are efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly. For this reason, we are now adding turnkey microgrids to our current portfolio.
“In addition to the diesel and gas gensets supplied by MTU Onsite Energy, together with our partners like Qinous we will now offer battery containers, include renewable power generation plants, and combine that with intelligent control. This strengthens our position as a provider of innovative power solutions able to supply our customers with microgrid systems tailored to their specific requirements.”
Microgrids can supply energy autonomously to remote locations, such as mining operations or islands that have no grid access.
When operated in parallel with existing infrastructure, they can provide an environmentally friendly supply of electric power to industrial companies or local communities while simultaneously providing support for the public grid.
“The most crucial component of a microgrid is an intelligent control system, which determines what power sources are to be used at what time in order to supply energy to the end user or top-up the battery system. This is done in accordance with the customer’s preference; for instance, whether they prefer low-cost electricity generation, the supply of renewable energy, or high rates of power availability,” Rolls-Royce said.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems is now setting up a microgrid demonstrator in Friedrichshafen, Germany, that will assist in the design of microgrids that meet customer specific requirements.