The innovative and sustainable Organic SolidFlow technology has been deployed in the field for the very first time and will absorb excess energy of the wind and solar park and feed energy back when needed. Both companies are showing that a 100 % renewable energy system - powered by wind and solar energy - is possible.
"Burgenland has set a clear goal: We want to and will be climate-neutral by 2030, energy-independent and therefore also price-independent", emphasizes Governor Hans Peter Doskozil at the presentation and press conference in Eisenstadt, Austria. Burgenland could have relied on lithium-ion energy storage, common battery technology with known safety and sustainability challenges.
"But this would not have aligned with our morals that we want to gain the energy from natural and fair sources. Adopting storage solutions where we promote exploitation through mining on other continents is not an equitable energy transition. This is why we chose a research cooperation with CMBlu Energy to achieve and create a European model for 100% renewable energy. Just like Burgenland played a pioneering role with wind energy, we will now be pioneers again on a national and European level. We aren't choosing the easy way. We're choosing a model for permanent and sustainable energy transition."
In regard to the fact that Organic SolidFlow batteries do not require critical raw materials such as lithium or cobalt, Professor Martin Selmayr, Head of Representation of the European Commission in Austria, spoke of the special importance of the technology for the European energy market and the independence it achieves from widely ramified supply chains, but also from states whose governments display unfair or even extortionate behavior.
"The expansion of renewable energies is not only for climate; it is geopolitically the need of the hour. No dictator can turn off the wind or the sun. The EU has set its goal to double the share of renewable energy for energy consumption to reach 42.5 % by 2030.
"In doing so, we need to be careful, of course, that we don't enter a new dependency. This is why it is so important that we strengthen the competitiveness of the European CO2-neutral industry, expand production capacities in this area and create a global net of reliable raw material suppliers via a new agreement."
Professor Thomas Kienberger emphasized that energy storage expands grid capacity. "This is not an either/or, rather both. If we want to achieve a successful energy transition, we need a corresponding expansion of the grid. And, of course, storage solutions also help us to make sensible and optimal use of grid capacities."
The founder and CEO of CMBlu Energy, Dr. Peter Geigle, added, "With this successful delivery the foundation has been laid for testing our technology in a wide range of applications. Our focus for the coming weeks will be to evaluate our technology's performance and then deliver further storage systems with a total capacity of 300 MWh to Burgenland."
"Independency means that we produce our energy in Burgenland ourselves throughout the year and have it available - for every hour of the year", states Dr. Stephan Sharma, CEO of Burgenland Energie. "We can achieve energy independence with the energy resources that nature is giving us. In Burgenland, that's wind and sun.
"I have always talked about the gold of Burgenland. But we also have to accept that this gold isn't available during every hour of the year." Sharma explained that a typical wind and PV day in Burgenland has two phases.
"A deficit of demand, followed by an excess of demand. To adapt to this and enable an energy-independent system, we need an energy storage capacity of up to 300 megawatt hours by 2030."
Furthermore, Sharma says that the issue of energy security has become highly relevant for the population due to the war in Ukraine and the discussions about blackouts.
"We notice that the insecurity of the past years has led to a massively increased demand for energy storage systems. Within one year, the installed storage capacity in Europe has tripled."
Geigle and Sharma both state, "The storage system has achieved outstanding results in the lab so far. Of course, the application in the field - at the hybrid wind and PV site in Schattendorf, Austria - will give us new insights. Maybe some challenges in some form or another. But together we will do everything we can to make the technology fully operational and reach market maturity as soon as possible."
The hybrid PV park in Schattendorf, built in early 2023, has a capacity of 15 megawatts power. The Organic SolidFlow battery that is connected to the solar park comes as a "battery lab" in a 40 foot thermally managed and location-independent container. Further batteries shall be installed at different locations in the next few months.
The energy storage systems are produced in Germany and are modular in design so they can be configured and stored in high-bay warehouses - this is how large and affordable "energy warehouses" emerge that are scalable up to gigawatt hours. SolidFlow batteries store electrical energy in electrolytes with almost unlimited availability, are free of critical raw materials and safe to operate without flammability.