Successfully disconnected

Posted on July 03, 2019 by Wolfgang Stolba, Images by Rolls-Royce Power Systems/Winkelmann

Since the end of 2018 Winkelmann has been operating a microgrid at its headquarter in Ahlen.
Ahlen, Germany

Since the end of 2018, the German automotive components supplier Winkelmann has been operating a microgrid at its headquarter in Ahlen, in which six combined heat and power (CHP) modules, in addition to instrumentation and control technology from the Rolls-Royce brand mtu Onsite Energy, are installed. The power supply system was designed and built in close cooperation with its partner company Getec and is the first microgrid order received by the Rolls-Royce Power Systems business unit.

In the middle of December 2018, the head office of the German Winkelmann Group, a metal forming company, located in Ahlen, was completely disconnected from the European power grid. From this moment on, a microgrid took over the supply of the entire heat and power demand. Such an off-grid plant enables the Rolls-Royce customer to operate independently of the electricity market and reduce electricity and grid usage costs. 

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The supply covers the six CHP plants from mtu Onsite Energy, each of which is provided with an mtu gas engine for the supply of heat and power, the instrumentation and control system, the design and planning of the CHP plants and the servicing of the plants. The CHP plants are all linked to the  mtu Go Act and  mtu Go Manage digital tools, which allow both the mtu experts and the operator to monitor the modules remotely, to schedule maintenance work and subsequently the availability of replacements parts, to analyse operating data and also to determine what action is to be recommended to improve the operation of the products.

“Having to disconnect the entire head office from the public grid within eight hours was an enormous challenge for us. All the more credit must go to those involved, therefore, in view of the fact that everything went off smoothly and the system is up and running. With Rolls-Royce and Getec, we have two reliable partners on hand, who have conceived and implemented a perfect solution," says Tobias Meßmann, Energy Manager Winkelmann Group.

Tailor-made plant 

Microgrids are by no means standardised technology, but are rather a combination of various energy and storage technologies, the interaction of which is controlled by a unique automated solution, the choice of components in each case being determined by the customer‘s specific requirements. The plant in Ahlen has also been tailor-made, with each of the six CHP plants equipped with a 16V 4000 gas engine that delivers up to 1,600 kW of thermal output and 1,500 kVA of electrical power. In total, more than 9 MW of electrical power and just under 10 MW of thermal output are available for the operation of the company’s facilities. In addition, a solar plant is to be added in future as a renewable source of energy. Four of the six CHP plants will cover the heat and power demand, which in some cases fluctuates quite considerably. “They operate normally at 75 per cent capacity, so there is a sufficient buffer above and below this level,“ says Markus Sheets from the Augsburg location, who looks after the plant as the project manager on behalf of Rolls-Royce, adding: “When breakfast time is over, the energy demand peaks quickly. This is when we generally need all four modules running. At other times of the day, one is quite sufficient.“ 

Two additional CHP plants provide a safety reserve, which is particularly important in off-grid plants. In the event of a CHP plant outage, a standby plant starts up and reaches full load within 70 to 80 seconds. The load surge, which initially caused the energy shortage is absorbed safely in the first 200 milliseconds by heavy, rotating flywheels that are integrated in the microgrid. Two battery containers seamlessly cover the remaining energy shortage, but can also take over the supply of power during off-peak operation or over the weekend.

Point of contact

Markus Sheets
+49 821 74802147

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