ABB digital technologies help Bavarian smart farm participate in the national energy trading market

Pilot project between ABB and Allgäuer Überlandwerke GmbH is part of a wider initiative to bring energy and e-mobility sectors together


In the mountainous Allgäu region of Bavaria, southern Germany, ABB and utility Allgäuer Überland-werke (AÜW) GmbH are piloting an energy management system (EMS) powered by ABB Ability™ Energy Optimization. The EMS will be housed on a smart farm, where traditional agriculture and digital technologies meet and which is a pilot project for a German Government-supported initiative - called 3connect - to promote the closer integration of the energy, mobility, information and communications technology sectors. In other words, it brings together smart farms, smart grids and smart mobility.

The modern organic farm with dairy cattle supports several new energy sources that have entered the market in recent years as well as innovative sustainable farm energy concepts: photovoltaic solar panels, power to heat units, battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations, and even a John Deere hybrid tractor prototype. The e-tractor, for example, can exchange data with the EMS on its energy requirements, its use and its charging needs.

Due to this increase in new energy sources, there is a growing requirement to optimize the farm's energy output and demand, both locally in terms of its own consumption and with wider consideration for energy trading forecasts and grid connection. This is achieved using the ABB Ability™ Energy Optimization solution.

The system runs a predictive calculation for energy generation and consumption and, at the same time, controls selected devices in real time, minimizing operational costs and maximizing renewable energy usage. After calculating forecasts for renewable power generation and load availability, the optimal economic energy schedules are determined and exchanged with the energy provider for optimized day-ahead trading. The solution then manages the energy traded back with the various energy sources.

An EMS on such a scale can in the future allow smaller industrial and commercial sites and even residential areas in smart cities to manage their energy output and demand in an efficient way. This could support the increased consumption of renewable energy close to its source of generation which, in turn, is one factor to boost the share of renewables in the power sector. Furthermore, the pilot demonstrates how e-mobility can be connected with a wider smart grid network.

The Energy Optimization software runs on ABB Ability™, the company's unified, cross-industry portfolio of digital offerings, extending from device to edge to cloud, integrating data to and from products, systems, solutions and services to deliver actionable information.

ABB is a global leader in digitalization and has the world's largest installed base of digital products, including 70 million digitally enabled devices, 70,000 digital control systems, 6,000 enterprise-level software solutions and 50 cloud-based services and analytics.

ABB is a leading provider of integrated power and automation solutions with unparalleled experience in partnering with the energy and water industries, bringing them improved operations and sustainable progress. We deliver integrated and secure digital systems, services and solutions to automate and optimize the performance of conventional and renewable power plants and water facilities.

Since 2016, a consortium of companies specializing in energy, mobility, information and communication technologies have been researching the impact of coupling the energy and mobility sectors (renewable energies, storage, e-mobility and IT-infrastructure). Supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the partners within the 3connect project have analyzed and developed solutions in this area. These are, amongst others, the development of IT-based e-mobility use cases and coupling of the energy market with fleet management/carsharing booking systems. The concept will be in field test operation starting this year.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner of Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees.


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