The small Greek island of Tilos, located off the northwest shore of Rhodes, is known to be lined with high rocky mountains, with steep coasts and beaches with crystal-clear waters.
In ancient times, Tilos was famous for its herbs and became really prosperous during the classical period. Nowadays, it constitutes a vast ecological park and is protected by international agreements. The idea of creating a smart microgrid stemmed from the huge potential for sustainable energy from both wind and sun. However, the inhabitants currently purchase expensive fossil fuel-based power transported through and interconnected with the neighboring island of Kos.
The TILOS project addresses this high-priority area of island regions and besides Tilos Island involves the islands of Pellworm, La Graciosa and Corsica.
The main objective is to develop a prototype battery system based on NaNiCl2 batteries that will support the operation of a smart microgrid. It would make the island the first global blueprint for smart microgrids, with increased participation of renewable energy sources under the optimum exploitation of energy storage assets.
According to tiloshorizon.eu, “The battery system will support both standalone and grid-connected operation, while proving its interoperability with the rest of the microgrid components such as demand side management aspects and distributed, residential heat storage in the form of domestic hot water. In addition, different operation strategies will be tested in order to define the optimum system integration."
The project has gained support through the Horizon 2020 project, which is a multinational effort of 15 enterprises and institutes from around Europe and is headed by a team of experts in the field of soft energy and environmental protection at the Piraeus University of Applied Sciences.
After the financial crisis hit Greece, the hope is that the Tilos program will help boost the local economy as well as ecotourism on the island. This could also inspire the whole Mediterranean to create more initiatives for turning islands green.