What can balance the load in our power grid – even when renewables are subject to fluctuations?

The energy utility VSE AG offers small power producers access to the energy market using Siemens software that also maintains the stability of the grid. Which is good for us all.
One of the most modern particle accelerators in the world is being built in the Brazilian city of Campinas, and its conclusion promises advances in several areas.

A landmark in Brazilian science

The end of this decade marks the beginning of the operation of one of the most modern particle accelerators in the world.   The project called Sirius is being run in the city of Campinas, in the state of São Paulo, on the campus of the National Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM). With inauguration estimated to 2018, the site will be the world leader in synchrotron light, a particular type of radiation: it is a beam of light so intense that it allows studying in detail the constitution of the materials, as in a super microscope.

Automation and safety

The National Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) was inaugurated in Brazil in 1997, in the same location where the new particle accelerator is being built. The Sirius numbers are impressive: it will be 68.000 square meters of constructed area and 518 meters in circumference, which is five times larger than the current one - and equivalent to 21 soccer fields. The most advanced study center of its kind in Latin America will be able to attend the academic community and the industry.


And what can a particle accelerator have to do with production processes? By using it, it's possible to study in detail and high resolution the structure of atoms and molecules. This level of study allows, for example, understanding the functioning of various diseases and also helps in the development of new medicines, among many other applications, in several areas.

Synchrotron light is also widely used for materials studies, such as superconductors that will help develop the computers of the future. And the synchrotron light can still be applied in studies of primitive fossils. Besides, it is estimated that the use of this technology will provide advances in areas as nanotechnology, construction, chemistry, energy, biotechnology, environment, agriculture, etc.


An important step in the construction of research stations in a structure like this is the automation of the systems that compose these stations. To automate and supervise the equipment that forms these research centers, industrial automation solutions, as well as personal safety systems, come into the picture, responsible for avoiding potential risks to researchers and the laboratory professionals.


The prototypes of Sirius research stations already count on panels, relays, and controllers from the Siemens SIMATIC line that will be applied to the light lines. These solutions work integrated and allow high processing performance, operating in the supervision and the control of sensors and actuators of the research stations. Any anomaly in the operation of the automated systems of experimental stations is detected at intervals measured in milliseconds and microseconds, which guarantees the ideal operation of the system and ensures the integrity of the equipment.


Through this solution and the TIA Portal (Totally Integrated Automation Portal) platform, the LNLS provides automation, control, and protection of several devices with high-tech and added value. Transposing the concept to industry, for example, we can say that investment in equipment and solutions is preserved, with the optimization of its functionalities. The LNLS light line personal safety system design will also use Siemens Safety solution.

The energy service provider VSE AG integrates small power generators, whose capacity usually lies between 150 kilowatts to 2-3 megawatts, into virtual 5 megawatts packages. These can be traded on the energy control market. If a package bid is accepted VSE AG ensures that the power can be accessed at the agreed time. VSE AG also takes care of the billing with the operators of the control energy exchange.
The frequency stability in the grid is a prerequisite for a reliable power supply. If the frequency is too low because there is not enough power in the network, or if there is a short term surge, when, for example, a gale hits a wind farm, the frequency must be balanced with positive or negative control energy.
In Germany there are four transmission system operators, TenneT, 50Hertz, Amprion and TransnetBW, who must ensure sufficient energy is always transported via the high-voltage grids to and from the distribution networks. If necessary, it is their responsibility to purchase control power in order to stabilize the networks.
Since 2001, the four transmission system operators in Germany, Tennet, 50Hertz, Amprion and TransnetBW, have sourced control power from the online-based control power market (regelleistung.net). Procurement is carried out through competitive bidding.

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