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Vattenfall and SaltX launch novel power-to-heat storage project in Berlin

Sweden-headed energy utility major Vattenfall AB together with compatriot SaltX Technology Holding AB, an energy storage technologies developer, will test how renewable wind and solar power can be stored in salt. In experiments, SaltX's patented technology has proven to be able to store up to ten times more energy and for much longer periods than water. It will now be tested for the first time on an industrial scale at a pilot unit in Vattenfall’s Reuter-C CHP plant in Berlin, Germany.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the start of industrial-scale testing of the SaltX proprietary nano-coated salt (NCS) heat storage solution for excess electricity at Vattenfall’s Reuter-C thermal combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Berlin, Germany. Doing the honours were Eric Jacobson (left), Head of Growth & Marketing, SaltX Technology, Markus Witt, VP Asset Management and responsible for the project at Vattenfall Wärme Berlin, Harald Bauer, CEO of SaltX Technology and Simon Ahlin, Head of Sales SaltX Technology (photo courtesy SaltX Technology).

During the summer of 2017, SaltX and Vattenfall initiated a collaboration to construct large-scale energy storage based on SaltX proprietary solution with nano-coated salt (NCS). The SaltX pilot plant has been installed and tested at Vattenfall’s combined heat and power (CHP) Reuter-C plant in Spandau, Berlin.

The next step for the parties is to perform actual testing of the energy storage system over a number of months to evaluate both the technology and functionality. A ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the commissioning this trial operations phase was held on April 11.

In the next few months, we will collect important data to get answers to the question of whether and how this type of plant can be used in our business. Some questions are how large amounts of salt can be used, how quickly the storage medium reacts and how the process can be controlled, said Markus Witt, responsible for the project at Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG.

Power storage with heat discharge

Charged with electricity from the grid, the 0.5 MW pilot plant at Reuter-C has a total storage capacity of 10 MWh of high-quality heat that it can discharge into the Berlin district heating network. The patented technology developed by Swedish SaltX Technology is based on nano-coated salt (NCS). The technology enables this “salt battery” to be charged several thousand times and that the energy can be stored for weeks or months without losses.

The energy sector is changing quickly, and we globally see an enormous need for energy storage. Germany is a country at the forefront of this development and we are proud to have Vattenfall as a partner. We are eager to launch our energy storage solution commercially as quickly as possible, said Harald Bauer, CEO of SaltX Technology.

The test operation at the plant in Berlin is planned to run until the end of summer 2019. Thereafter, test data will be evaluated, and the results presented at the end of the year. The pilot plant is part of a long-term rebuilding of the Reuter power plant. In 2019, Vattenfall will also start operating Europe’s largest power-to-heat facility there, an energy store based on storage of hot water.

During 2020, Vattenfall will take the Reuter C coal power plant out of service, which is a step in the plan to completely phase out all coal as a fuel in Vattenfall’s heating operations in Berlin by 2030.

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