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The Multi-Purpose Battery

BERLIN and TOKYO, February 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

If the phrase 'M5BAT' sounds a little bit like a cross between a high-performance car engine and a nocturnal flying mammal, the truth is a little more grounded, although no less innovative.

A joint project between energy provider E.On's Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, battery produces Exide and Beta Motion, and inverter producer SMA Solar Technology, M5BAT  - Modular Multi-megawatt, Multi-technology Medium-Voltage Battery Storage System to give it its full name - it is an attempt to increase the potential storage and usage capacity of a battery by combining existing technologies.

The project was financed by the then Ministry of Economics and Technology's (BMWi - now Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy) battery storage incentive program to the tune of EUR 6.5m. German Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel's recent speech stating a resolute intent to get battery technology and production up to speed in the country has no doubt provided extra impetus.

"Germany's aptitude to innovative thinking and the capacity for research and development in such fields is well-represented by this program and the results are now emerging," said Heiko Staubitz, Senior Manager Smart Grid and Energy Storage at Germany Trade & Invest.

M5BAT is a combination of battery technologies in modular form. Lithium-ion batteries take care of immediate power requirements, high-temperature batteries take care of longer power needs over several hours while lead-acid batteries are used for power requirements in between, up to an hour.

The unique modular system gives the potential users a huge degree of flexibility, but it is primarily hoped that the system's adaptability will go some way to solving the problem of managing the fluctuating power production from Germany's renewable energy sources.

There are two Expos coming up in Japan this week, where Germany will be showcasing their initiatives and incentives in battery and fuel cell development and production, as well as the generous research investment conditions which helped the initiatives come about. The Batteries Japan and the Fuel Cell Expo run from Wednesday to Friday concurrently in Tokyo, Japan, as part of World Smart Energy Week. Germany Trade & Invest, the country's inward investment and foreign trade promotion agency, will be there providing information on the battery storage incentive program and the host of other opportunities within the battery and fuel cell sector in Germany.

The M5BAT project is one of many running under the BMWi incentive program, which aims to keep Germany at the forefront of battery technology as the country - and much of the rest of the world - searches for solutions to the challenges of longer-distance electromobility, fluctuating power sources and demand. Two of the other program-funded projects will be connected to the power grid this year.

"Not only does the country want to be at the forefront of this technology, it also is aiming to be at the forefront of the production of this technology," continued Staubitz.

"As Mr. Gabriel said, this industry was once a national mainstay, Germany is now working hard to make it so again."

Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organization advises foreign companies looking to expand their business activities in the German market. It provides information on foreign trade to German companies that seek to enter foreign markets.

Andreas Bilfinger
Public Relations
Germany Trade & Invest
- Gesellschaft für Außenwirtschaft und Standortmarketing mbH
Friedrichstraße 60
10117 Berlin
T. +49-30-200-099-170
F. +49-30-200-099-812
[email protected]

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