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Solar Production Technology
Mechanical engineers are conquering the storage marketEquipment suppliers are circumnavigating the solar crisis by offering production lines to battery manufacturers as well. The battery industry could be very lucrative: The industry is currently building up major production capacities for electromobility as well as for the energy turnaround in Germany.
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Key machine: The electrode coating is among the most difficult steps of battery manufacturing. Researchers are developing new production procedures. (Photo: Fraunhofer-ISE)
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Key machine:show photos
The electrode coating is among the most difficult steps of battery manufacturing. Researchers are developing new production procedures. (Photo: Fraunhofer-ISE)
Lots of manual work:show photos
Battery manufacturing must become more efficient. For this reason, more automation technology is needed in the factories. (Photo: Bosch)
Mini electrolyser:show photos
Solar energy can be converted into storable hydrogen using electrolysis. Laboratory tests show how this happens most efficiently. (Photo: Fraunhofer-ISE)
Saturated solar energy:show photos
Photovoltaic development is advancing throughout the world. The industry must make haste with the development of storage technology that unburdens the grid. (Photo: Juwi)
“For us, the issue is becoming more and more important. For this reason, we are intensively researching lithium ion batteries,” says company spokesperson, Axel Bartmann. There is a good reason for the fact that the Swabian-based company is now focussing on high-performance storage as well as photovoltaics: According to experts, the demand for storage will increase dramatically in the near future. Storage is needed for vehicles with hybrid and all-electric drive systems. And they ensure that fluctuating solar and wind energy remains calculable and is, consequently, competitive. Without this load management, power supply on the basis of renewable energies would only be possible with difficulty.
“We believe that, with our knowledge from other sectors such as photovoltaics, we will be able to gain an advantage in the future field of high-performance storage,” says Bartmann. Other suppliers want to follow Manz’s example. Leading companies from the automation industry, such as ABB, Bosch Rexroth, Kuka and Reis Robotics, are also positioning themselves in this segment. “Batteries are clearly in vogue,” explains Eric Maiser, managing director of the photovoltaic production equipment platform and manager of the battery production industrial circle at the German engineering federation VDMA.
The major growth potential of the storage market is also confirmed by the “Future of Electromobility – Chances and Challenges for Mechanical Engineering” study by the VDMA and Roland Berger consultancy firm. According to this, about 40 percent of newly licensed vehicles will have an electric drive system by 2020. A superb new business potential should arise for new machinery as a result of new battery factories - the authors of the study forecast a volume of 4.8 million euros for 2020.