The smarter E AWARD 2024: Winners Pave the Way for Renewable 24/7 Energy Supply with Innovative Solutions

Press Release – Tuesday, June 18, 2024

1 award, 5 categories, 15 winners: Just before the start of The smarter E Europe, the continent’s largest alliance of exhibitions for the energy industry, the winners of this year’s The smarter E AWARD were honored at an official ceremony this evening. For the first time ever, The smarter E AWARD was presented in five award categories: Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, E-Mobility, Smart Integrated Energy and Outstanding Projects. Anyone wanting to check out the award-winning products, solutions and projects and speak to the winners and finalists will be able to catch them at The smarter E Europe in Munich from June 19–21, 2024. The smarter E Europe brings together the four exhibitions Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe.

These are the winners of The smarter E AWARD 2024.

Innovative, imaginative and intelligent – this is how the submissions for this year's The smarter E AWARD can be summed up. The prize recognizes companies with innovative solutions and projects that are essential for a renewable 24/7 energy supply – today and in the future. In a festive setting, The smarter E AWARD honors outstanding innovations and achievements. Today, on the eve of The smarter E Europe, the award was presented for the first time in five categories at the International Congress Center Messe München (ICM) to those who use their expertise to rethink and reshape tomorrow’s energy supply. Here is an overview of the winners.

Winners in the Photovoltaics category

ArcelorMittal Construction: Helioroof

Helioroof is a product of the French company ArcelorMittal for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) on the roof. The solution can be used on new roofs and for retrofitting existing roofs. The isolated steel roof panels are equipped with monocrystalline TOPCon cells and a protective plastic film. Helioroof modules are prefabricated in variable lengths from two to a whopping twelve meters and can deliver up to 2.17 kilowatts of peak power. Thanks to the flexible choice of sizes, the modules can be precisely adapted to the dimensions of the roof. According to ArcelorMittal, the absence of glass and mounting frames makes them up to 50 percent lighter and 40 percent faster to install than conventional PV systems. Their carbon footprint is also 25 percent smaller. The first reliability tests have shown promising results. Helioroof is a practical solution with many benefits for commercial and residential buildings.

NexWafe: EpiNex

German company NexWafe aims to revolutionize solar cell production with its EpiNex wafers. Direct gas-to-wafer technology eliminates the need for polysilicon production, ingot pulling and wafer sawing, thereby preventing kerf loss. EpiNex wafers are manufactured using an inline method that involves the porosification of seed wafers and large area silicon epitaxy. The silicon layers are pulled up from a seed wafer until they reach the desired thickness. They are a direct drop-in replacement for existing HJT, TOPCon and IBC wafers. EpiNex wafers can be as thin as 50 microns, less than half the thickness of conventionally manufactured wafers. According to NexWafe, these wafers would reduce the silicon loss by 90 percent, energy consumption by 60 percent and production costs by 50 percent. NexWafe’s solution can improve the sustainability of solar cell production and support the next generation of wafers in Europe and other parts of the world.

SMA Solar Technology: Sunny Central FLEX

With Sunny Central FLEX, the German company SMA Solar Technology offers a key interface between large-scale PV plants, the power grid and battery storage systems. It combines a DC-DC converter, an inverter, a medium-voltage transformer and a switchgear in a single 40-foot container. This design is a cost-efficient response to the most important challenges associated with grid stability and solar curtailment. It enables DC coupling of battery storage systems, improves the efficiency and lowers costs. It is also one of the first large-scale central inverter platforms for utility-scale solar projects to use silicon carbide technology. It improves heat management and achieves a DC-DC conversion efficiency of up to 99.5 percent. SMA’s platform also provides easy commissioning and system regulation, data-based services and forecasting analyses. Sunny Central FLEX is an intelligent solution that can accelerate the deployment of large-scale solar and battery systems.

Winners in the Energy Storage category

ESS Inc.: Energy Center™

Energy Center is a containerized iron flow battery system manufactured by the American company ESS Inc. It has a storage capacity of 1.16 megawatt hours and a maximum charging power of 174 kilowatts. This modular battery solution can be adapted to various commercial and grid-connected applications. According to ESS Inc., the system requires no cooling and provides unlimited cycles without degradation. This long duration battery system can deliver 145 kilowatts of power for eight hours, or it can be configured to last twelve hours. Flow battery technology uses abundant, low-cost materials such as iron, salt and water, reducing environmental and supply chain risks. The system’s ten-year warranty is backed by Munich RE and can be used for up to 25 years. The Energy Center is an innovative flow battery system designed to reduce the cost and the ecological footprint of commercial energy storage.

Pfannenberg Europe GmbH: Compact Chiller VLV 12

The Compact Chiller VLV 12 is the award-winning product of the German company Pfannenberg. It is an intelligent thermal solution for liquid-cooled battery systems in mobile and stationary applications. The Compact Chiller provides 12 kilowatts of cooling capacity at ambient temperatures between -25 and +45°Celsius. The quiet and vibration-resistant unit can be mounted in a battery cabinet or container and requires no external power supply. The chiller is designed as an air-water system and is supplied with a DC voltage of 570-800 V directly from the battery system. This makes the Compact Chiller VLV 12 compatible with a wide range of portable BESS systems. The unit also has an internal heater that regulates the operating temperatures in the winter to extend battery life.

sonnen GmbH: sonnenPro FlexStack

The German company sonnen impressed this year’s jury with its sonnenPro FlexStack. This modular outdoor energy storage system is a compact and practical solution for commercial and industrial applications. The design consists of two, three, or four stackable cubes with a total surface area of less than four square meters. The sonnenPro FlexStack provides an output capacity of 92–368 kilowatts and an energy storage capacity of 110–495 kilowatt hours. There are 20 different power and capacity combinations available for optimal customization. The system’s lithium-iron-phosphate batteries offer impressive efficiency at 6,000 cycles, while the IP-65 rating ensures safe outdoor operation.

Winners in the E-Mobility category

Designwerk Technologies: Megawatt Battery Charging System

The Swiss company Designwerk has been developing e-mobility solutions since 2008. Its award-winning innovation is a containerized battery system that is able to charge heavy-duty electric vehicles at megawatt rate. The battery packs have a storage capacity of 2,000 kilowatt hours and a discharge rating of up to 2.1 megawatts. The buffer storage ensures fast charging, even during grid constraints and peak loads, and reduces costs. The charging plugs are either equipped with MCS or CCS plugs and liquid-cooled. The solution features a user-friendly design for easy use and can charge heavy-duty e-trucks in 45 minutes. The company also takes a circular approach by using decommissioned traction batteries. The megawatt battery system by Designwerk is an innovative solution for commercial charging of electric vehicles at locations with limited grid-connection.

EcoG: EcoG Connect

Since 2017, the German company EcoG has been developing hardware solutions for flexible and scalable EV charging stations. Their product, EcoG Connect, increases the efficiency of distributed charging architecture using centralized power modules. The sophisticated direct current switching matrix from EcoG dynamically connects power modules with charging points for electric vehicles, providing up to one megawatt of capacity. This dynamic switching reduces the number of required centralized power modules while improving cooling and increasing both cost and energy efficiency. The system is hardware independent and compatible with many brands of power modules. According to EcoG, its Connect solution reduces the capex of charging stations by up to 25 percent. EcoG Connect is an intelligent, resource-efficient charging solution that is helping to shape the future of electromobility.

Apollo Power: SolarPaint

Apollo Power was founded in Israel in 2014. The company’s flexible solar modules are an innovative solution to the challenge of operating commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, as well as other stationary applications, in an environmentally-friendly and efficient way. It helps fleet operators reduce carbon emissions and improve the fuel and energy efficiency. The DIY-style solar kits comprise two 300 watt modules. Once mounted on the roof, they can be connected directly to the vehicle’s main battery or other electrical systems. The modules feature flexible solar cells for a long service life, and a battery cell monitoring system to prevent discharge. According to Apollo Power, these SolarPaint modules save up to 10 percent of fuel and pay off after about a year. This is why several companies in public transportation, logistics and automotive industries are already using them. It is an easy, practical and clean charging solution for commercial transport.

Winners of the Smart Integrated Energy category

CyberGrid: CyberNoc

The Austrian company CyberGrid develops intelligent software that enables more flexible, stable and sustainable power grids. The award-winning Software-as-a-Service platform Cybernoc simplifies the aggregation, administration and monetization of renewable energy systems. It analyzes real-time data in order to combine energy sources such as wind, PV, batteries and electric vehicles into virtual power plants. The platform uses advanced analytics to automate and optimize energy trading across multiple electricity markets. It simplifies the management of decentralized energy portfolios and maximizes the capacity and the value of existing grid infrastructures. What’s special about CyberNoc is its ability to automatically submit offers and its direct connection to the European market platforms. By making it easier for grid operators, retailers and communities to integrate renewable energies, CyberNoc is actively paving the way for a more sustainable energy industry.

Dvlp.energy: dvlp.energy

The German company dvlp.energy helps solar, wind and battery project developers find ideal locations for new projects. Its unique software platform combines map and satellite data with AI-based tools and over 1,000 data sets from Germany. It helps developers quickly identify and analyze potential locations, saving time and resources in project planning. The software evaluates factors such as type of ground, shape of the site, zone category, environmental measures and possibilities for grid connection. It can automate many common process steps such as reporting and site analysis and connect developers with interested property owners. dvlp.energy’s cloud-based software is a successful blueprint that the company plans to roll out across all of Europe. It helps optimize and accelerate the use of renewable energy.

The Mobility House: Battery Commercialization

The Mobility House was founded in Germany in 2009. Their award-winning solution is a software and technology platform for monetizing battery storage systems on an industrial scale. The two services they offer, trading-as-a-service and route-to-market service make it easy for battery storage systems to participate in secondary and energy market places. The platform combines status and temperature monitoring with AI-based algorithms to maximize the trading revenue while minimizing the degradation of the batteries. The Mobility House also works with vehicle manufacturers to recover used EV batteries and use them as stationary energy storage. This approach gives used batteries a new life, increases the range of available replacement components and contributes to a more sustainable growth in e-mobility. The solution provided by The Mobility House helps optimize the lifetime value and the performance of battery systems and supports flexible and stable power grids.

Winners in the Outstanding Projects category

IO-Dynamics: Last-Mile Electrification

The German company IO-Dynamics received a lot of praise for its Last-Mile-Electrification project. This intelligent charging solution for commercial electric vehicle fleets is helping a national food and beverage delivery service transform its last-mile logistics. As part of the project, a software-based charging infrastructure was implemented at 18 warehouse locations to power 1,000 electric delivery trucks. In doing so, they take into account telematics, route planning, charging data and the availability of renewable energy to optimize grid supply and charging efficiency. It automatically shifts charging times based on the connection capacity and the energy demand, achieving a minimum capacity demand of 1.5 kilowatt per vehicle. The software can also automate the billing of charging processes and provide an overview of the entire fleet and all charging points. With this commercial charging solution, IO-Dynamics offers a cost-effective path to more sustainable last-mile deliveries.

MaxSolar: Innovation Project Bundorf

MaxSolar’s innovation project in Bundorf, Bavaria, is a prime example of energy transition in action. This solar park with an output of 125 MWp, realized as part of a citizen participation scheme, can supply 37,500 households with green power. A third of the project belongs to a local energy community that offers its members financial and ecological benefits. The project takes a holistic approach to decarbonization. The solar park supplies 12 EV charging stations and a renewable district heating network for local residential buildings and municipal buildings. The underground supply system comprises a 250 kilowatt heat pump, a 75,000-liter buffer storage and a biomass-fired backup boiler. The solar park also promotes biodiversity through native vegetation and designated areas for pastures and wildlife corridors. What’s unique about the MaxSolar project is its strong focus on community and its success in decarbonizing electricity, mobility and heating at low cost.

Red Sea Global: The Red Sea Destination Renewable Utilities Infrastructure

The Red Sea Destination project in Saudi-Arabia is setting new standards for sustainable tourism. This luxury resort developed by Red Sea Global is powered by the world’s largest off-grid solar system. Its 760,000 PV modules deliver a peak power of 400 MW, combined with a storage capacity of 1,300 MWh. When completed, the resort’s 16 hotels, retail stores and entertainment venues will be supplied with clean energy around the clock. The project also features electric vehicles guests can use to get around, and there are plans to electrify small airplanes. The goal of all of these efforts is to make the entire resort carbon neutral by 2030. The project uses sustainable construction methods and promotes biodiversity conservation initiatives. The jury praised Red Sea Global’s ambitious and groundbreaking project and considers it to be a prime example of sustainable tourism around the world.

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