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The Hybrid Battery Storage System in Varel - Simply Explained

Anastasia Garies
Content Managerin
Anastasia Garies
Content Managerin

People who regularly drive along the A29 have probably already noticed the construction site at the "Varel / Obenstrohe" exit. In the last months and weeks a lot has happened near the highway.

However, not everyone knows that this construction project is a demonstration project of such a scale that is unique to date. Of all places, the small city of Varel was chosen and apparently simple containers conceal a technology that has never before been used in this constellation and is intended to support the energy revolution: A large hybrid storage battery.

Simply explained, you will learn everything you need to know about the project.

The Outcome is a Large Hybrid Battery Storage System

From a technical perspective, the word "hybrid" means that two different technologies are combined. And this is exactly the case with the hybrid battery storage project that is currently being implemented in Varel.  

Lithium-ion batteries and sodium-sulfur batteries are used - both technologies have been tried and tested for years.

While lithium-ion batteries can flexibly compensate for frequency fluctuations in the grid, sodium-sulfur batteries are suitable for long-term storage of larger amounts of electricity.

The combination of different battery types allows not only the compensation of short current fluctuations, but in particular the long-term stabilization of the power supply and the energy system.

To put it simply: the large hybrid storage system takes up part of the electricity produced and feeds it back into the grid when needed. Ideally, wind turbines would no longer have to be switched off partially or completely and the surpluses would not have to be transported away via the grids.

Why Varel and what does enera have to do with the hybrid battery storage system?

Varel is known to be located in the middle of the enera model region, where the share of renewable energies is already around 235%. This means that much more electricity is generated than is consumed.

Logically speaking, storage facilities must therefore be built to store this energy temporarily and make it available to the grid as soon as it is needed.

The large hybrid storage system can thus represent such a storage system and thus make the energy system somewhat more flexible. The extent to which the desired effect occurs is to be assessed in the three-year demonstration phase.

The topic flexibility of the energy system is therefore one of the interfaces to enera, but also the co-responsibles of the battery storage project are firmly connected with our energy turnaround project. Hendrik Brockmeyer and Magnus Pielke, former employees of the enera project, have founded be.storaged, a company that will take care of the operation of the large-scale hybrid storage facility, especially after the demonstration phase. There will be a #enerapeople article about them soon!

So there is a lot going on in our model region when it comes to the energy revolution! We are in a pioneering region that is also generating great international interest, as the companies involved prove.

The Most Important Figures on the Hybrid Battery Storage at a Glance

Completion: expected October 2018


  • 11.5 megawatts (MW) can be fed into or absorbed by the grid
  • 22.5 megawatt hours (MWh) can be stored temporarily

Cost: € 24 million

Participating companies:

  • NEDO: The Japanese Economic Development Agency: main sponsor of the project
  • Hitachi Chemical
  • Hitachi Power Solutions
  • NGK Insulators
  • EWE
  • be.storaged


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