The challenges of decentralised energy production already fascinated Christian Ribback (23) from Ennetbürgen, Central Switzerland, during his first years as a student. With his concept «Axpo Synergie» he convinced the Axpo jury. The idea is that owners of photovoltaic systems join together regionally to feed their electricity into a decentralised battery system and then draw it out from there. In the interview he explains his concept and how he uses the travel voucher, which he won. You are the
Axpo Energy Student of the Year 2016. What gave you the impulse for your winning idea «Axpo Synergy»?
During my studies I attended two lectures on energy storage technologies and sustainable energy systems. We learned how important storage capacities would be in the future, particularly for electrical energy. These inputs were the impulse for the idea. I put this idea into more concrete terms for the «Axpo Energy Student of the Year» award with the help of critical feedback from other students and friends.
How would you briefly describe your complex idea?
In «Axpo Synergie» the owners of photovoltaic systems in a region consolidate to become a customer group that feeds electricity into a decentralised battery system and then draws electricity from there. When the storage capacity is reached or exhausted the electricity grid acts as a backup. The battery system has its own market place, where customers can benefit from favourable tariffs as compared to the electricity grid. The tariff difference between feed-in and procurement generates income for Axpo. Customers and Axpo cover the investment costs for the battery system.
How did you find out about Axpo and the competition?
I knew Axpo as an energy company from my studies, but my brother actually let me know about the competition.
After completing your Bachelor of Science you want to go on and get your Master’s degree. Where will you be in 10 years?
That’s a difficult question. At the moment my interest is clearly in the area of energy engineering and supply. These are two major areas that I think will play an increasingly important role in the future. I hope to develop my career so that I can be at the forefront in one of these sectors.
You are on a trip through Europe at the moment and now you’ve won a travel voucher – for Europe. Are you going to extend your trip?
Yes indeed. I got back from Rome a few days ago to be here for the awards ceremony. I’m going to fly back to Rome and continue my backpacking trip through Italy. So the travel voucher came at the perfect time. After Rome, I want to visit Florence and Milan. If time allows, I’d like to go to Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Berlin. I have to be back in Switzerland by mid-June for my civil defence duty. After that I am off to Kos in Greece where I will spend two months as a sailing and windsurfing instructor. In fall, I have to go to work so I am looking for a job in the energy sector.