With the goal of climate neutrality in mind, researchers at the Energy Lab 2.0 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have built a detailed “digital twin” of the German energy system. With real integration of future technologies such as solar parks, grid storage or power-to‑X plants, they are now using it to virtually test the energy system of the future with all its components. Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger launched the simulation today (Oct. 28, 2022) during her on-site visit.
with the goal of climate neutrality in mind, researchers at the Energy Lab 2.0 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have built a detailed “digital twin” of the German energy system. With real integration of future technologies such as solar parks, grid storage or power-to‑X plants, they are now using it to virtually test the energy system of the future with all its components. Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger launched the simulation today (Oct. 28, 2022) during her on-site visit.
The Minister was accompanied on her visit by Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport.
Research at Energy Lab 2.0 will clarify how a climate-neutral and resilient energy system should be constructed and how it can be managed in a safe and stable manner. The simulation is based on renewable energies as well as a closed carbon cycle, i.e. on an energy system as it should be reality in 2045 according to the plans of the German government. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is largely funding the work on Energy Lab 2.0.
“Advancing climate change and the energy crisis make it clear that we need more speed in transforming our energy supply,” said Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger. “To achieve our ambitious goals, we depend on intensive research. Energy research here at KIT and in the Helmholtz Association is making an important contribution to accelerating the transformation and purposefully building the energy supply of the future, for example in the form of green hydrogen.”
“With the Energy Lab 2.0, we can show that a climate-neutral energy system is possible in perspective,” said Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs and representative of the KIT Presidium during the visit. “Even though Germany will probably always remain an energy importing country, we can provide the technologies and build up the know-how to make it happen internationally and locally. Energy research, as it is conducted here at Energy Lab 2.0, illustrates in the best sense how practically oriented science is to the great challenges of our time.”
The Energy Lab 2.0: testing ground for sector coupling
The Energy Lab 2.0 is Europe’s largest research infrastructure for renewable energies and sector coupling. Among other things, high-performance models are created here to realistically simulate a flexible interaction of electrical, thermal and chemical energy sources. For example, the intelligent networking of future hydrogen infrastructures or planned wind farms with real power-to‑X plants, energy storage systems and other energy system components is already being practiced today. Among other things, solar field and geothermal energy, innovative energy storage, power-to‑X plants, residential buildings, electric cars — and a lot of computing power — are available on the campus. Over the next few years, a new generation of professionals here will learn to drive the networked energy system of the future safely through dark periods and attacks from cyber criminals.
Working together for more speed in the energy transition
In terms of technology development, research at Energy Lab 2.0 spans the spectrum from basic research to finished prototypes. Whether plants for the production of fuels from renewable energy and the CO2 of the ambient air, redox flow large-scale storage or manufacturing strategies for various key components — many things can be purchased and produced here by companies ready for development. Industry is also invited to use the sophisticated simulation tools to test power system components from their own development or collaborative projects in a realistic environment. For policymakers, in turn, the Energy Lab 2.0 is available as a real laboratory: Here, for example, it can be quickly examined how the loss of gas supplies from Russia can be cushioned by renewable energies or savings, or how a ramp-up of the hydrogen economy should be technically organized. (mhe)
Caption: Start of the simulation at Energy Lab 2.0 (from left to right): Prof. Michael Decker, Head of KIT’s Department of Informatics, Economics, and Society; Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research; Prof. Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs of KIT; Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Digital Affairs and Transport; Prof. Andrea Robotzki, Head of KIT’s Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Process Engineering. (Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT).
As “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for society and the environment. The aim is to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. To this end, around 9,800 employees work together on a broad disciplinary basis in the natural sciences, engineering, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science through research-oriented university studies. KIT’s innovation activities bridge the gap between knowledge and application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural resources. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.