Hybrid current for measuring stations

New solution for appliances away from the power grid with high energy consumption

Measuring station in Valais Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research
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Whether it's avalanches, floods or storms, timely identification of accurate environmental data is essential to warn of natural disasters or weather conditions. Numerous measuring stations around the world therefore automatically determine the corresponding weather conditions around the clock. Now researchers have developed a new system for supplying meters that consume a lot of energy and are installed far from the public grid. EVEREST delivers up to 1, 000 watts through a combination of solar technology, fuel cells and wind energy.


Numerous measuring sites worldwide can not be developed at this time because the energy required for operation via conventional solar modules is insufficient. For example, a wind gauge station in an avalanche prone area in the Alps would significantly increase the probability of forecasting avalanche emissions. However, the conventional supply of solar power alone can not sufficiently cover the energy demand of the station, since in bad weather periods additional energy is needed to heat the measuring sensors. The result is seasonal data loss.

Hybrid energy system

"With the development of modular hybrid energy systems, we want to be able to operate off-grid measuring sites with an increased energy requirement throughout the year more reliably and cost-effectively than before, " explains Matthias Vetter from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Vetter is head of the joint project "EVEREST", which has set itself the goal of supplying geoscientific measuring stations with reliable and cost-effective electricity all year round under extreme environmental conditions.

Together with 14 research and industry partners from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol / Italy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has been developing modular hybrid energy systems since January 2006. "The hybrid energy systems combined in so-called EVEREST boxes consist of photovoltaic systems and batteries that are supplemented by additional energy generators such as Stirling, wind or thermoelectric generators as well as fuel cells." As a result, "Vetter continues, " we can provide measuring stations with peak power requirements of up to 1, 000 watts ". display

Energy Management System

At the heart of the system is a novel energy management system, which networks the individual energy producers with one another and transmits information about the operating status to the operator of the measuring station. In order to test and optimize operating safety under extreme environmental and operating conditions, the EVEREST boxes are operated in the Alps, in the Black Forest, in a river valley and on a marine platform.

According to the ISE, the EVEREST boxes can be used in almost all areas of measurement technology. The application spectrum ranges from geoscientific measuring stations to stations for environmental observation, forest damage research and climate research to applications in other sectors such as telecommunications, traffic engineering or security technology. Because even here the need for self-sufficient power supply of technical systems is constantly increasing.

(Fraunhofer ISE, 11.07.2006 - AHE)