The growing momentum of renewable energy generation today—powered by robust energy storage systems—will overtake fossil fuel power generation in the foreseeable future. However, the transition to renewable energy sources and distributed energy systems requires a great deal of specialized technological knowhow and engineering expertise which companies such as Fichtner can provide. Following its founding in 1922, the company was mainly involved with the design of thermal power stations, but over time, Fichtner has seen the focus shifted from conventional power plants to renewable energy power plants coupled with energy storage systems such as hydro storage, thermal storage or electrochemical storage. Today, Fichtner is Germany’s leading independent engineering and consulting company, and it continues to remain at the forefront, be it in terms of utilizing innovative technologies or providing engineering advice for public and private infrastructure developers.
At Fichtner, specialists in four different sectors—Conventional Energy, Renewable Energy & Environment, Water & Infrastructure, as well as Consulting & IT—work together under one roof. “Our fields of expertise complement one another and enable us to deploy expert teams at short notice to meet the requirements of a project,” explains Tilman Herzig, managing director of Fichtner. Fichtner provides planning and consulting services across the entire value chain of a project, including preliminary planning, preparing tender documents and selecting a detailed design as well as providing support during project execution. Fichtner also performs technical due diligences covering all phases of a project thereby identifying any potential problem areas. It has experience with the planning of more than 800 MW of electro-chemical battery storage projects.
Herzig cites a large-scale undertaking involving the Jordanian government, planning to connect 1600 MW of photovoltaic energy and 715 MW of wind energy to its national grid by 2021. While the high share of non-steady renewable energy generation will result in lower electricity costs and less dependency on oil and gas imports, it will also present challenges in grid quality and its availability.
To address this, Fichtner has started working with the Jordanian Ministry of Energy and the National Electric Power Company to analyze the potential for battery storage. The storage system can help balance short-term power fluctuations, manage peak demand, and prevent power outages. Additionally, Fichtner is also providing support to the government agency to implement a 30 MW/60 MWh pilot project that involves developing a BOO (build, own, operate) model, which would enable the grid operator to dynamically dispatch electricity from the electrical storage facility whenever the need arises.
We are able to deploy multi-disciplinary engineering teams at short notice to meet a project’s needs
Compared to other companies in the market who are niche players, Fichtner has a broad range of expertise across multiple industrial engineering sectors. This is further complemented by a host of various IT services offered by Fichtner to its clients for digitalization projects. With the growing interest in hybrid energy supply systems, Fichtner has developed a “Hybrid Configurator” to simulate complex hybrid energy systems comprising battery storage in combination with for example PV, wind, grid and diesel generators. “The tool allows us to optimize hybrid systems to assist clients achieve their technical and financial goals with independent and reliable results,” states Christian Scholz, a senior technical consultant at Fichtner. More than 40 hybrid projects ranging from 200 kW to 100 MW load have already been successfully executed using this tool in more than 25 countries. Fichtner is already involved with research projects addressing issues related to a data-driven energy industry, including energy storage solutions and other areas that are gaining significance for the future.