Energy Storage Europe growth grinds to a halt

The Energy Storage Europe show, which took place March 13 through 15 in Düsseldorf, Germany, had more than 200 leaders in science, business, government and civil society present the latest developments in five series of parallel sessions at two co-located conferences, the 7th ESE and Eurosolar’s 12th IRES. The show no longer featured a Power-to-Gas conference, since OTTI had filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2016. It was replaced by a Power-2-X workshop, headed by Fraunhofer ISE’s Christopher Hebling and organized in cooperation with the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, the German Energy Storage Association and the Embassy of Canada.

Electrochaea, based in Planegg, close to Munich, took this first-ever opportunity to show attendees its range of bioreactors. Based on standardized biocatalyst storage technology, the systems use single-cell microorganisms, called archaea, to convert power into methane. The organisms’ level of activity can be controlled through the withdrawal and addition of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Mich Hein, CEO of Electrochaea, said that the company’s bioreactors provided turnkey solutions for storing renewable energies and carbon dioxide in the form of synthetic gas for either on-site use or pipeline injection. The technology promised lower operating costs at increased competitiveness thanks to standardized components and a subsequent reduction in planning and construction times. With capacities ranging from 1 megawatt to 50 megawatts, the units could be employed at landfills, sewage treatment and waste-to-energy plants, geothermal sites and industrial facilities. A more detailed report will follow in this year’s October issue.

This year’s show attracted 170 exhibitors, a bit more than last year and somewhat more than the 142 that had come in 2016. The rapid 50 percent growth in exhibitor numbers, typical of the show’s early years, has given way to a period of stagnation.


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