ELSA - Energy Local Storage Advanced system


Energy storage options are considered key enablers for the smart grid, providing required flexibility both at the building and the grid level. The project ELSA (Energy Local Storage Advanced system) addresses this demand by developing and trialling the integration of electrical storage, in the form of second-life batteries from electric vehicles, to support intelligent energy management solutions.


Integration of distributed small/medium size storage systems can allow operating distribution grids much more flexibly, thus realizing smart grid features like local demand-supply balancing, congestion relief, peak shaving and effective integration of renewable energy sources (RES). However, few technologically mature decentralized storage systems are commercially available today at affordable prices, while both viable business models and the underlying legal and regulatory framework are lagging behind. As an answer ELSA will implement and demonstrate an innovative solution by integrating low-cost second-life Li-Ion batteries and other direct and indirect storage options, including heat storage, with demand-side solutions as well as intermittent RES. The core idea is to consider Storage as a Service offered to building and district managers, for local energy management optimization, and to DSOs, for enhanced network operations. ELSA will adapt, build upon, and integrate close-to-mature (TRL>=5) storage technologies and related ICT-based energy management systems. This includes the management and control of local loads, generation, and individual or aggregated real or virtual storage resources, integrated to demand response, in buildings, districts and distribution grids.

Test site: E.ON Energy Research Center as microgrid

As one out of six test sites, the three buildings of E.ON ERC at RWTH Aachen (main building, test hall, SENSE building) will be set up in a microgrid scenario. In addition to existing solutions for electricity generation, heating and cooling, including geothermal storage, combined heat and power units, cold via open sorption process and roof-top solar panels, the main building will be equipped with second-life batteries to be included into its overall energy management concept. The complete system will be operated as a microgrid, also virtually including local wind generation, with the goal of efficient energy utilization as well as potential service offerings to the external grid.

RWTH role

In addition to the development and validation of the live test site providing a holistic experimentation facility for energy management optimization encompassing both thermal and electrical aspects, the institutes ACS and EBC will also contribute to cross-project tasks.

RWTH will support the definition of requirements as well as the development of the ICT solution both for the battery system and the overlay energy management system. The validation of the industrial system of second-life batteries will also be accomplished in collaboration with the project partners.

As a major contribution to the evaluation of the concept, the institutes ACS and EBC will model the field trials enabling a smooth integration into the energy management system as well as its development in a simulated environment. Since field trials are always limited in size, this activity will allow for scaling up the field test scenarios beyond the possibilities of real field trials, thus reinforcing the proof-of-concept analysis.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme under grant agreement No 646125.