They are a familiar sight: chugging diesel generators serving as a temporary electricity supply. They are often used for events or on building sites and can sometimes even be seen in the middle of busy urban centres. What is perhaps less well known is that diesel generators drastically increase local concentrations of airborne fine particles and soot, which can have severe adverse effects on human health.
Nuon is now offering an alternative in the Netherlands: “green batteries” charged with sustainable electricity, making it possible to banish diesel generators from the streets.
While more and more municipalities in the Netherlands are establishing environmental zones and banning polluting vehicles from city centres - already implemented in thirteen large cities, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam - diesel generators are still chugging away during festivals, at large sporting events and on building sites. A study by GGD Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht shows that these generators can be major local sources of soot and ultra-fine particles. The emissions are harmful to public health, with concentrations as much as seven times the normal level for soot and fine particles.
Up to now, effective alternatives which are suitable for both small and large scale usage have been scarce. In cooperation with GreenBattery, Nuon is, from the end of January, offering batteries charged using wind and solar power to meet temporary electricity needs. The batteries have several major advantages, not least their lack of CO2, fine particle and soot emissions in urban centres. The batteries are also extremely quiet.
Boudewijn Tjeertes, Business Developer at Nuon, says:
"These batteries eliminate the need for diesel generators. Another major benefit is that over the long term, the green batteries will be able to play a significant role in handling peaks and troughs on the electricity grid, which are caused by the increased generation of sustainable energy from wind turbines and solar panels. Connecting green batteries to the electricity grid in an intelligent manner can help to smooth out peaks and troughs. This will enable us to contribute to grid stability."
Quiet, clean and sustainable
Nuon's partner for supplying the batteries is the startup GreenBattery, which has been working with green battery technology since 2015. Entrepreneur Han Huiskamp sees a bright future:
"We will certainly be cooperating intensively with Nuon for the next three years to make the green batteries a success. Nuon is a major player in the energy sector, with a dense network of sustainable charging stations. This is important for keeping transport routes for the heavy batteries as short as possible. Together, we can quickly raise awareness of this fantastic alternative to diesel generators."
The benefits are clear for urban centres in particular, according to Huiskamp:
"We are reducing diesel fuel consumption by 62,000 litres per year and CO2 emissions by 159,000 kg per year per battery system. This makes the green batteries a perfect fit with the sustainability policies of event organisers, construction companies and municipalities."