instagrid – a portable battery system without noise and direct emissions replacing combustion engines for mobile power generation.
SWLB was the first municipal utility company to test the instagrid power systems. instagrid ONE is a mobile, high-performance battery system for professional users. “After the first intensive test phase in various areas, we can say that the instagrid product has fully convinced us in terms of battery capacity and the reduction of emissions, noise, weight, and costs. It’s not only our employees who benefit from using the portable power supply, but also the citizens of the region and the environment”, says Johannes Rager, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Ludwigsburg-Kornwestheim.
instagrid, based in Ludwigsburg and Helsinki, was founded in 2018 in the Stuttgart region. With currently around 36 employees, we have set a mission of providing professionals in the construction industry, event technology, landscaping, and humanitarian organizations reliable access to clean electricity – everywhere and at all times. “With our innovative battery power supply, we want to replace conventional gasoline and diesel generators and contribute to improving air quality in cities,” explains Dr. Sebastian Berning, who is the founder and managing director of instagrid together with Dr. Andreas Sedlmayr. “We are pleased to be able to drive forward the energy turnaround locally through our cooperation with regional partners such as the SWLB,” said Dr. Andreas Sedlmayr.
120 kg of CO2 emissions saved during one week
One of SWLB’s main goals is the continuous conversion to sustainable energy sources. In recent years, SWLB has invested heavily in climate-friendly energy generation plants – their projects include wood-fired power plants, combined heat and power plants, and the “SolarHeatGrid model project”, Germany’s largest solar thermal plant. The municipal utilities provide an innovative and secure infrastructure, but at the same time, it is not possible to build the plants without the necessary construction work. “With an emission-free battery system, we can use our construction machinery in a climate-friendly manner and consistently drive forward the energy turnaround here as well”, Johannes Rager explains.
The two instagrid battery systems were used in various areas and tested intensively. “Among other things, we used the instagrid battery system as a mobile power supply for pumping out water volumes, for welding work, and for heavy tools, such as demolition chisels and drills, on a large construction site with a civil engineering company. The instagrid systems mastered all situations with flying colors,” enthuses Matthias Kämmerer from SWLB, who actively supported the test phase.
“The instagrid systems mastered all situation with flying colors.” – Matthias Kämmerer
The evaluation of the tests shows that by using the two instagrid systems, around 120 kg of CO2 emissions were saved during the one-week test phase. “In addition to improving air quality by enabling emission-free construction, the reduction of noise pollution is another advantage of battery-based mobile power supply. The additional noise to the noisy construction machines is completely eliminated here and makes the building construction measures for the workers locally as well as for the residents clearly more pleasant”, notes Kämmerer. The battery capacity of the battery was also particularly positive: “We used the two prototype units for a week as a replacement for a diesel generator. During this week we were not able to get the two power stations empty, which is really impressive”, Kämmerer continues.
Cost advantage due to weight reduction
We at instagrid have succeeded in creating a compact and portable battery solution due to the modular design. Among other parts, we use components that can be found also in smartphones. The weight reduction brings also economic advantages, as Kämmerer explains: “Conventional generators usually weigh over 150 kilograms, where the instagrid battery system weighs only 16 to 19 kilograms. The difference is not only noticeable in work comfortability and efficiency on our construction sites, but directly in the economic terms of the project. Transporting instagrid batteries instead of conventional generators, makes our service cars, which sometimes transport several generators, much lighter – and therefore, brings us cost savings due to reduced amount of fuel needed. Also, our fitters don’t necessarily need a truck driver’s license anymore to be allowed to drive the vehicles. Overall, we can significantly reduce our operating costs using instagrid products, which are in the same price range as common diesel generators.” (1700€ net (1.5 kWh) and 2300€ net (2.1 kWh))
“Transporting instagrid batteries makes our service cars much lighter – and therefore, brings us cost savings due to reduced amount of fuel needed.” – Matthias Kämmerer
SWLB’s testing of the portable battery system prototypes is part of a pilot project run by instagrid until 2022, which aims to reduce local emissions in cities. For this pilot, 100 portable battery systems will be used and tested in various areas throughout Europe as a replacement for combustion engines. The European Union is co-financing the project through the “LIFE program”, which exclusively supports environmental protection concerns.