Vaasa insider

New energy storage solution has huge potential

Peter Stolpe from Vaasa Insider takes a look at an exciting new technology. English translation from Swedish original.

Author: Peter Stolpe
Published: 20.03.2020

Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch is investing heavily in product development in Finland. An excellent example is a solution standing in the factory yard on the outskirts of Vaasa in Runsor that has enormous potential.

Rapid fluctuations in an electricity network pose a severe problem. When this happens, the systems need to return to normal as quickly as possible.

Currently, a system built with proton batteries is being tested to quickly provide a boost to the network so that it can return to normal operation.

Exergy Power Systems, a Japanese start-up company, started developing the technology as early as 2011, based on research by the University of Tokyo.

The start-up company’s solution can stabilize the electricity network in less than two minutes, while it takes other conventional solutions up to 15 minutes to do the same. The Switch converter is designed to provide a response time of about 10 milliseconds to manage the variations in the power grid’s frequency and voltage.

Now the process has come so far that the solution is being tested, and a commercial application will be ready for delivery in April.

How Vaasa comes into the picture

Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, a company in Vaasa owned by the Japanese Yaskawa Electric Corporation, has developed and supplies converters that are needed for this particular process. The Yaskawa Group has also acquired a minority share in Exergy Power Systems, the promising start-up company, which employs 15 persons today.

The technology that has been developed is being adapted to a container solution, so that it can be shipped and installed easily at the customers’ premises.

Such a container solution is now being tested in Vaasa at The Switch factory in Runsor. Dag Sandås, CFO at The Switch, thinks that the potential for the solution will be huge once it has been proven to be a winning technology.

Investment in the city

The Switch has invested heavily in Finland, especially in product development. At the end of April, for example, a new large drive test center will be ready at the company’s Lappeenranta facilities.

In Vaasa, which employs 60–65 persons, the company has also made major investments in the factory, such as the new rotor production line, which is currently being fine-tuned.

Thanks to the company’s measures taken to protect its personnel against coronavirus spread, The Switch has been able to keep its factory production running as normal.