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 intelligent energy management system that can maintain energy availability. Rolls-Royce is now adding turnkey microgrids from MTU Onsite Energy to its current portfolio.
The increased use of energy from photovoltaic and wind power plants, where power output can fluctuate depending upon weather conditions, has exacerbated the challenge of how to maintain energy availability. This is something microgrids can achieve by combining generation with batteries and a control system in an intelligent energy management system. Rolls-Royce already provides MTU diesel and gas gensets for use in microgrids, and will soon be able to provide full turnkey microgrid solutions.
Rolls-Royce microgrid demonstrator to showcase systems tailored to customer needs
Microgrids can supply energy completely autonomously off-grid to remote locations, such as mining operations or islands that have no access to a public grid. When operated on-grid 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 Power Systems is now setting up a microgrid demonstrator in Friedrichshafen, Germany that will assist in the design of microgrids that meet a customer’s specific requirements.