Innovative energy storage on set

The days of diesel generators are numbered. Apart from bans on driving certain diesel-powered vehicles, the use of diesel generators has already been restricted in German cities, as in Berlin and Cologne. Film and TV productions are facing the challenge of finding alternative energy solutions to power shoots at multiple locations.


One innovative solution is the hybrid battery generators that are already being successfully used in the construction industry. These mobile power banks store electrical energy in a large battery. “For us, film and TV production is Formula 1 racing”, says Tobias Naber, sales engineer at Polyma Energiesysteme. This German company, which has been developing and producing diesel-powered generators since1948, has now developed a mobile power bank.


In order to refine this new application, hybrid battery generators will be provided to production companies and distributors for field testing. One participant is the film equipment rental house Lichthaus Berlin, which had already in 2015 outfitted its entire fleet of generators with soot particle filters to meet the latest gas emission standards. Among the first productions to join Lichthaus Berlin in using this zero-emission battery solution is the series Good Times, Bad Times (Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten).


This popular drama series, produced by UFA Serial Drama in Babelsberg, is broadcast weekday evenings by RTL. Almost all the shoots take place in the Potsdam Babelsberg film studios, where the production maintains a complete outdoor set that features several different motifs. When characters have to leave their familiar haunts, real locations in Berlin are preferred, which in turn necessitates a reliable location power supply.


“Our generator is powerful enough to completely cover all the lighting as well as the base camp operations on set”, emphasizes Mike Zimmermann, Manager at Lichthaus Berlin. Thanks to this electric power package, which can output up to 176 kWh and 100 kW, the production can easily accommodate heavy power consumption over a long period of time.


The basic equipment is composed of a Li-Ion battery, intelligent battery and battery-life management, and a 12” Touch TFT display for monitoring battery power levels. Compared to a diesel generator, the mobile power bank has the advantage of operating noiselessly, running smoothly even at a one-hundred percent unbalanced load. The uneven charging of the three-phase network is no longer a challenge. Compared to a similar diesel generator operating at a lower load, the mobile power bank saves about fifty to seventy percent on running energy costs.


This zero-emission generator has a gross weight of 3,500 kg. It is mounted on a trailer that can be hitched to a car. The unit recharges in less than eight hours at a typ2 outlet, which is the European standard for e-mobility. Used with a bi- directional cable connected to a CEE125 A outlet, the unit recharges completely in only two hours. In addition to the power bank, the minivan all-in- one solution includes a range extender which can recharge the unit with either gas or fuel. „We’re delighted“, concludes Naber, „to contribute this energy solution to help achieve climate-neutral production.”


Photos: © Polyma, RTL/ UFA Serial Drama

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