Power to the people

The diesel generator is getting competition from mobile aggregates that are powered by electricity from the grid, liquid gas, or hydrogen. Productions such as SWR’s Tatort and Die Rosenheim-Cops tested a hybrid power generator which was developed by Polyma Energiesysteme. This accumulator can supply 100 kW of power for larger productions all day long. The 3.5 ton power package stores the electricity in lithium batteries and is mounted on a trailer.


Designed as a hybrid accumulator to supply power for the base of a small film production, the huge aggregate comes with lead-acid batteries and it provides a continuous output of 40 kW. Letterbox Filmproduktion is using this accumulator, which is also mounted on a trailer, for shooting the ZDF series Notruf Hafenkante. The aggregate can be charged at any 16 A or 36 A three-phase electric power outlet. If more power is required on set, then the battery can be recharged with a generator.


This solution is more efficient than using a traditional diesel generator because the unused power will be stored in the battery. When using a diesel generator, a large part of the power fizzles out if only a few smart phones are charged. “The hybrid solution with this highly efficient electric power generation system can cut carbon emissions by fifty percent”, says Moritz Kromer, whose company Mobilespace rents out both.


A hybrid power generator that operates in battery storage, LPG gas generator, and photovoltaic modes is being developed by the Cologne-based film equipment rental house Maier Bros. The MB-Filmhybrid 100 performs as well as a 100 kVA diesel generator. Up to loads of 12 kW, the power supply is delivered solely by battery. If a higher load is required, the LPG-powered generator automatically kicks in. The vehicle’s engine is also powered by liquid gas, so it tanks up with only one kind of fuel. This vehicle doesn’t require a special driver’s license as may be needed for a trailer in Germany.


Meanwhile, the company TVO Schuster has developed a mobile hybrid generator that can be powered by liquefied petroleum gas as well as by petrol. The gas aggregator with an effective output of 75 kVA and 60 kW was presented to the Rosenheim Cops team. “On location, we need a backup in case there is no energy from the grid”, says Tessa Frank, Green Consultant at Bavaria Fiction. TVO will present the first prototype of the LPG/petrol hybrid aggregator with a MAN TGL 8.180 as running gear in spring 2020.


Trailer-mounted gas-powered generators are exported by the Italian company Green Power Systems to 90 different countries. “Our gensets can be tanked up with LPG or CNG”, says Stefano Filippini, Sales Manager at Green Power Systems. “The gas generators have lower emissions, they are less noisy than diesel generators, and they have a lower operating cost because the price of LPG is about half that of diesel.”


Zero-emission gensets that generate electricity in a fuel cell are being developed in the framework of the EU-funded Everywh2ere project. The first eight prototypes that perform at 25 kW and 100 kW have been announced for 2020. The gensets can be tanked up with green hydrogen from renewables. While a European hydrogen strategy is being developed in Brussels, Hamburg wants to build the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyzer with a 100 megawatt output capacity.


Photos: © Tessa Frank/Bavaria Fiction, Polyma, Maier Bros., Green Power Systems

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