The smarter E, the platform for the energy industry, presents technologies, solutions and business models for the new energy world – and honors pioneers and innovators in the energy sector for the invaluable contribution they make to the industry and society as a whole. The best in each class will receive the The smarter E AWARD, the Intersolar AWARD, the ees AWARD, the Power2Drive AWARD and the EM-Power AWARD, respectively, with the latter two being presented for the first time in 2023. The AWARD ceremony announcing the 2023 winners took place as part of The smarter E Europe in Munich on June 13, 2023.
Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH (Germany): FlexNet-EkO
Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen’s FlexNet EkO project in Germany’s Bobritzsch-Hilbbersdorf district showcases a pathway to smarter and greener distribution networks. Working with MITNETZ STROM and regional researchers, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen demonstrated how grid operators can incorporate larger shares of renewable energy, stabilize voltage and frequency, and enhance overall grid function. The system combines batteries with power electronic grid connection and grid-forming inverters to decouple and optimize low-voltage grids. This approach is also faster and cheaper to deploy than network and transmission upgrades, accelerating the grid integration of solar, wind, and EVs. The jury particularly praised the smart concept and the project’s potential to overcome hurdles on the way to the new energy world.
(re)energisa (Brasil): Vila Restauração – Amazon Microgrid: Clean and reliable energy for all
The Vila Restauração Microgrid is (re)energisa’s pioneering clean energy project in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Through this initiative, families that received just three hours of electricity from diesel generators a day now enjoy 24-hour renewable energy at 60 percent lower costs. The microgrid comprises a photovoltaic installation with a capacity of 325 kilowatts (kW) and a lithium-ion battery system with a capacity of 829 kilowatt hours (kWh). In addition, it has 4G internet, wireless smart meters, biogas plants and two backup generators powered by regionally produced biodiesel. The system provides around 1,000 community members with reliable, clean energy and is to be deployed across the entire Amazon in the future. Our panel of judges praised the microgrid’s sustainable, user-friendly design and ability to improve lives while preserving the Amazon rainforest.
Wallbox Charger (Spain) Sirius by Wallbox
Wallbox has reshaped how companies generate, store, and use electricity. At its Barcelona headquarters, Wallbox installed its SIRIUS energy management system as a greener and cheaper alternative to upgrading its network infrastructure. Using data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and internet-of-things technology, SIRIUS integrates the power grid with its distributed energy resources. It combines a fleet of 23 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles with bi-directional charging, a 400-kilowatt photovoltaic installation, and 560 kilowatt-hours of on-site battery storage. In 2022, Wallbox was able to reduce its CO2 emissions by 73 metric tons and its energy bills by over 40 percent. In addition, SIRIUS enabled cost savings of half a million euros compared to grid expansion through the flexible and intelligent design of the decentralized energy sources.
HUAWEI Technologies (China): SUN2000-330KTL
SUN2000-330KTL is a powerful, yet low-cost, string inverter for large-scale solar PV installations developed by HUAWEI Technologies. The transformerless inverter combines a very high performance of 330 kilowatts (kW) with a compact design and a European efficiency rating of 98.8 percent. With protection class IP 66 rating, it is also built to last. The SUN2000-330KTL also features new solutions such as triple DC protection, which prevents typical problems of PV systems from occurring, as well as a self-cleaning fan technology which reduces errors, lowering maintenance costs. It is compatible with all common solar panels. The panel’s verdict: The smart and flexible inverter combines technologies that are based on artificial intelligence with modern, high-performance electronics – at a comparatively low price.
Shenzhen Aiko Digital Energy Technology (China): ABC modules
The ABC Modules created by Chinese company Aiko Solar combines n-type solar cells with passivating contacts and back-contact architectures to create some of the world’s most powerful solar panels. The PV modules reach a capacity of 610 watts at 23.6 percent efficiency, significantly higher than most available panels. The glass backsheet modules have impressive temperature coefficients and a 30-year power warranty. In addition to technical excellence, Aiko Solar’s new line features clean aesthetics and all-black variants, suiting a wide range of construction projects. The panel also praised Aiko Solar for metalizing their ABC modules without using silver, which significantly reduces silver consumption and is therefore more environment-friendly.
WAVELABS Solar Metrology Systems (Germany): SINUS-360 ADVANCED
WAVELABS, a company founded in Leipzig, Germany, is one of the world’s largest producers of LED-based light simulators for measuring solar cells. Its SINUS-360 ADVANCED enables the accurate and ultra-fast characterization of PV cells in manufacturing, research, and testing. Its 27 individually controllable LED channels have a particularly homogeneous light field and are able to reproduce the lighting conditions of almost anywhere on Earth in a spectrally stable manner. The measuring device is capable of analyzing high-efficiency cells, including HJT, TOPCon and perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells. The SINUS-360 ADVANCED allows users to automate tests, measurements and data collections. Its modular design can also combine multiple analytical methods, such as electroluminescence and infrared inspection. The panel was most impressed with its light source being LEDs, its real-time light spectrum monitoring and the value creation across the entire supply chain.
Elestor (Netherlands): LDES hydrogen bromine flow battery
Elestor, a Dutch electricity storage company is a major innovator in the field of energy storage. Elestor's mission is to minimize storage costs with the help of hydrogen bromine in a durable, megawatt-range flow battery. The unique chemical composition could help to reduce lifetime storage costs by two to three times compared to lithium-ion systems, and even more significantly compared to vanadium flow batteries. Bromine can be extracted from seawater, making it a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to chemicals such as vanadium, which is used in many other redox flow batteries. With a round-trip efficiency of up to 75 percent and a service life of up to 25 years, the AC system developed by Elestor has been setting new standards for flow batteries. The panel was particularly impressed with the chemical composition, the low energy costs and the unique scalable design of this AC system that can contribute to a CO2-neutral future.
FENECON (Germany): FENECON Industrial L
FENECON is one of the leading innovative energy storage companies in Germany. Its integrated, scalable battery storage platform Industrial L enables an alternative use for surplus EV batteries as part of the energy market. With its high energy density and internal liquid cooling, the Industrial L achieves an output of 736 kilowatts (kW) and has a total capacity of 1.28 megawatt hours (MWh). The user-friendly design and the open source-based energy management FEMS enable a wide range of uses for Industrial L, such as in solar farms, electric car charging or powering industrial applications. During periods of low demand or part-load operation, the system can ramp down to run only one of eight inverters to improve efficiency and component life span. The panel was convinced: They praised the design, construction quality and the use of surplus and used EV batteries for a more sustainable energy storage solution.
SUNGROW POWER SUPPLY (China): Sungrow PowerStack ST500CP liquid cooling energy storage system
SUNGROW POWER SUPPLY from China is one of the world's leading manufacturers of solar inverters and battery storage systems. The new PowerStack ST500CP is a powerful modular energy storage system for commercial and industrial applications. It has an output of up to 250 kW and a storage capacity of between 537 and 1,146 kilowatt hours (kWh). The pre-installed design, the above ground cabling and the wireless control of the energy management system make for easy installation and commissioning, saving up to 60 percent installation time. Internal liquid cooling reduces the energy required for thermal management by 30 percent and keeps the temperature differences between individual cells at just ≤2.5°C. According to the manufacturer, this innovation reduces irregular cell aging and can extend the system’s life span by up to two years. The panel found this a compelling product innovation, and one of the winners of the evening.
Hive Power (Switzerland): FLEXO Smart Charge
Founded in Switzerland in 2017, Hive Power develops charging and export solutions for tomorrow's power grids. Now an award-winning software-as-a-service platform, FLEXO Smart Charge offers advanced vehicle-to-grid capabilities, optimized charging and detailed cost-benefit overviews for EV fleet managers and OEMs. It uses cloud-based learning to aggregate electric vehicle fleets and connect them to energy markets, maximizing the profitability of the vehicle-to-grid business model and minimizing operating costs. The hardware-independent platform is also designed for dynamic, load-variable electricity tariffs. Via a user-friendly app, it keeps electric vehicle owners informed about their income while optimizing charging times and costs. The panel was particularly impressed by the fact that Hive Power's solution increases the profitability of e-vehicles while creating reliable and environment-friendly energy networks.
paXos Consulting & Engineering (Germany): Cool-Load Megawatt charging plug (3–12MW)
paXos Consulting & Engineering from Cologne develops innovative technologies for renewable energies and electromobility. The company is honored for its innovative Cool-Load Megawatt (CLMW) charging plug, one of the few of its kind to provide up to twelve megawatts (MW) of power at 99.78 percent efficiency – making fast charging easy, whether for electric trucks, buses, construction equipment or heavy-duty marine and aviation applications. A ring-shaped radial connection between the plug and the socket ensures low contact resistance and allows direct cooling, leading to significant energy savings and allowing up to 100,000 charging cycles. The panel of experts was impressed: According to the manufacturer, the slim, compact design can be scaled up to a capacity of 40 MW in the future, leading the way for a new generation of electric vehicles where maximum charging speed and efficiency are key.
TWAICE Technologies (Germany): TWAICE Mobility In-life Battery Health Analytics
The Munich-based company TWAICE Technologies was able to impress the panel of experts with its software solution for EV batteries and was awarded with the Power2Drive AWARD. Mobility In-life Battery Health Analytics provides electric vehicle manufacturers, service representatives and fleet owners with detailed insights into battery state-of-health and aging forecasts. According to the panel of experts, “the analytics software uses artificial intelligence to turn e-car batteries into transparent and valuable assets, maximizing their lifespan and reducing maintenance, warranty and replacement costs.” The cloud-based platform guarantees a two percent accuracy, is easy to scale and can be integrated into existing hardware systems. TWAICE is also partnering with reinsurance company Munich Re to help fleet owners make informed business decisions in the secondary market based on reliable battery status information.
FENECON (Germany): FERESTO Rental Storage
FENECON from Germany develops energy storage innovations for more flexible, profitable and sustainable power grids. The company’s FERESTO Rental Storage is among the first of its kind for commercial and industrial use. The innovative leasing model enables the fast integration of large-scale battery systems, which reduce the peak demand on the grid, improves system stability and reduce the costs of grid expansion. The storage systems have a wide range of applications, whether as a temporary solution for industrial districts that are not yet connected to the grid, or for capacity expansion. FENECON offers flexible lease periods of between one day and 60 months, with scalable storage capacities from 50 kilowatts to several megawatts – without investment risk for customers. Using second-life EV batteries, FENECON’s energy solutions are also resource-conserving and sustainable.
The Mobility House (Germany): ChargePilot: The smart charging and energy management system
Munich-based The Mobility House has been developing smart solutions for the new age of sustainable e-mobility for more than 15 years. With its award-winning innovation ChargePilot, the company offers a versatile and integrable energy management system for optimized charging. The platform is hardware-independent and perfectly suited for parking lots and commercial buildings, reducing peak loads and offering an inexpensive alternative to expanding grid infrastructure. The combination of hard- and software makes it possible to charge electric vehicles primarily with electricity from renewable sources of energy, while its vehicle-to-grid functionality helps stabilize the local power grid. The panel unanimously selected ChargePilot this year because of its intuitive and upgradable platform, reliable data protection and its proven financial and ecological advantages.