Imagine yourself crossing the Sahara with your pet camel in the scorching heat and luckily you stumble upon an oasis. While camels are known well to go a long time without water and can drink 200 liters of water in three minutes you on the other hand find yourself jealous of your pet camel in that moment.
The camel analogy was one of the many interesting things seen at the case study event organized bycommunityleuven with Next-Kraftwerke.
Next-Kraftwerke, based in Germany operates one of Europe’s largest Virtual Power Plants. With their central control platform they connect power producing assets from renewable sources such as biogas, wind and solar with commercial and industrial power-storage systems. The resulting tight-knit network benefits everyone involved and the power grid as a whole.
The case study challenge was to find the best business case for household batteries in Belgium. As more and more renewable energy sources are being installed in the electricity system and consumers moving towards installation of Solar PV on roof tops, the need for household batteries is increasing every day. The case study challenge aimed at recognizing the best possible option that optimizes battery storage and usage on the basis of different available business criterion.
Six teams consisting of 3-4 members each took the challenge head on and brainstormed for 2 hours to come up with inspiring ideas. The judges were quite impressed by the quality of innovative ideas, business model detail and the pitching style of participating teams.
For the final pitches, the teams were given 180 seconds to present their ideas. The teams tackled the time constraint very well most teams went for a story description of their solutions.
The drinks and the networking session followed the pitches while the judges finalized the results and finally came the moment of truth. The judges along with announcing the winner for the evening made a special recognition to the team “Biggie” that proposed the idea of not having one but two sets of batteries, one that is utilized at home during peak consumption days and the other set that could be made mobile when idle to be used in concerts to power up your partying rave.
The winners of the case study challenge were the team “Six Packs”, with the idea of a virtual pack of batteries which allows its customers to save money and live their life however they want without compromising their consumption behavior. For the business plan they considered three categories by which customers can join their pack. First is that the customers can pay all at once for their battery, and in return they get cheaper energy until their investment cost is covered. Another option is that a customer can lease the battery, pay the monthly installment and get cheap energy. The last one is that during peak hours, when or if the company is left with a surplus energy in our battery pack, they can always supply the energy to the consumers who cannot afford a battery.
Battery storage and optimization is one of the puzzle pieces missing from the whole picture of a future with complete renewable transition and along with increased economies of scale in battery production, business model innovation in household storage is indeed needed to make it happen.
Special shout out to Farhan Farrukh for taking the lead on the event.