24 Hours of Sun: The Fronius Vision for the Future
At Fronius USA, we believe in a future where renewable energy sources cover 100% of our energy needs. We see the sun playing a key role as one of the energy resources making clean energy available 24 hours a day to power our world. We call this our Fronius vision, 24 Hours of Sun.
To make our vision a reality, we dedicate significant resources to research and development, in fact a significant amount of our worldwide staff is dedicated to R&D. Every product and technology we bring to the market is a further step towards that vision of 24 Hours of Sun.
24 Hours of Sun is a long-term project and a lofty goal. That's why we think in generations and offer solar solutions that last for decades to come. We want to help shape a sustainable future that also values our vision of 24 Hours of Sun, because we know we cannot accomplish this alone. We are 24 Hours of Sun.
The Technical Concept Behind Our Vision (Reference the Image Above)
1 Photovoltaic Power Plant
2 Wind Farm
3 Hydro Electric Power Plant
4 Energy Self-sufficient Family Home
5 Communal Storage
6 Pumped Storage Hydro Power
7 Central Electrolysis/Methanation Station
8 Hydrogen Filling Station
9 Gas-fired Power Station
10 Energy Self-sufficient Telecom Station
11 Green Intralogistics
Solar energy (1), wind energy (2) and water power (3) are the key aspects to meeting future energy needs. The challenge facing renewable energies is to provide power exactly when it is needed, regardless of the time of day or year, and thus ensure an optimum supply framework. On one hand, power consumption is matched to generation and vice versa (e.g. using energy management and load management systems), while on the other hand, excess power is stored and later retrieved from the storage facilities if generation is insufficient to meet demand.
Short-term storage units retain the energy generated during the day for use in the evening and at night. They are responsible for providing the peak current. These units are located either directly at the site of generation, i.e. in the household (4), or in the nearest transformer stations. Residential areas can thus be optimally supplied with energy by means of a battery (5). An intelligent network of generators and consumers at the lowest grid level helps take some of the load off the medium and high-voltage grids. Private PV systems are also used for powering and charging electric vehicles in the household. Pumped storage electrical power stations (6) enable large energy reserves to be quickly and easily stored and delivered when needed.
Long-term storage units store surplus energy for long periods so that the power generated by PV systems in the summer can be used in the winter. Using electrolysis systems or methanation plants (power-to-gas) (7), excess electricity is harnessed to generate hydrogen by means of electrolysis. Methane can be produced in a second step. The hydrogen or methane can be easily stored in large storage units or in an underground cavern as well as fed into the existing natural gas network. Hydrogen or methane is then used for space heating, industrial or power station purposes. As the renewable energy market expands, the proportion of natural gas in the network will be reduced to zero. Hydrogen is an excellent solution for road transport (8) and logistics (11) applications in vehicles fitted with hydrogen fuel cells. In peak load gas power plants, gas from renewable sources is converted back into electricity (9).
In smaller power ranges, it is also possible to implement long-term storage on a scale of just a few kilowatts using the electrolysis process described and fuel cells. An electrolyser generates hydrogen from electricity and stores it in external tanks. In winter, the hydrogen is converted back into electricity using a fuel cell (4).
Energy-autonomous infrastructures (e.g. mobile communication base stations) represent yet another ideal area of application for photovoltaics (10). In localities without a grid connection, electricity is generated through photovoltaics, converted into hydrogen via electrolysis for storage, and then converted back into electricity in a fuel cell.