Fraunhofer demonstrates Data Spaces in the energy sector using the example of green hydrogen

The digitization of the energy transition aims to make information from a large number of decentralized power generators such as wind energy or PV plants and loads usable for efficient operation of the power system. This huge demand for information requires new concepts on how to exchange data efficiently and preserve the digital sovereignty of companies. With a demonstrator for the production of green hydrogen, four Fraunhofer Institutes have now shown how this could be implemented in the future with the concept of an International Data Space. The project content will be visualized in a video and presented in an Expert Web Session on May 27.

The framework architecture of the International Data Spaces (IDS) was developed by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft together with several industrial partners and implemented in concrete software modules. The door to the Data Space is an IDS connector that implements the rules and processes that apply in the Data Space. These rules include conditions for the use of data, compliance with which can also be technically implemented and tracked.

In addition, there are central services such as the certification of participants, the provision of search engines for data and meta-data as well as further functions for the documentation of transactions (clearing house) or for the provision of applications from an app store. The functions of the IDS modules fit into the concept of the European GAIA-X initiative and thus already enable the entry into the future European data space.

Energy Data Space as a tool for the digitalization of the energy transition

“The technology of Data Spaces offers great potential for use in the energy industry,” explains Volker Berkhout, from Fraunhofer IEE, who led the sub-project ‘EnDaSpace’. “In various areas, existing information cannot be used because companies fear disadvantages from sharing this data. In the future, we want to use an Energy Data Space to open doors to collaboration that have been closed until now.”

In the ‘EnDaSpace’ project, data from the 8 MW wind turbine at Fraunhofer IWES in Bremerhaven was used as the basis for generating green hydrogen at the Fraunhofer IEE Power-to-Gas Research Center in Bad Hersfeld. From the data of the wind turbine together with weather and electricity market information, Fraunhofer IOSB-AST generated a schedule for the respective following day, with which wind power can be used for hydrogen production. The operation management strategies of electrolysers in the energy system become relevant with increasing use of hydrogen, both for the economic efficiency of the projects and for the operation of the overall system.

Communication between the plants and systems takes place via an Energy Data Space. In this data room, systems exchange data according to agreed rules and under certain conditions. The concept of International Data Spaces allows all actors to make self-determined decisions about the use of their data, thus enabling their digital sovereignty.

“For us, the successful demonstration project for an exemplary use case is the prelude to the design of the Energy Data Space for a wide variety of use cases in the energy industry,” the project partners agree in their perspective conclusion.

Data from 8 MW wind turbine

The data source for the demonstrator was the 8 MW wind turbine at Fraunhofer IWES in Bremerhaven. The operational data used in the project were first aggregated for different time periods. Using a REST interface, the data was linked to the connector and created as a data resource in the Energy Data Space.

“With the knowledge and experience we have built up in the project, we will be able to support other plant operators or software providers in the future in preparing wind energy data for Data Spaces and making it available,” explains Juliane Schneider, research associate at Fraunhofer IWES, who led the work package.

Timetable optimisation economical and network-serving

In the energy management software EMS-EDM PROPHET® of the Fraunhofer IOSB-AST, the information on the operation of the wind turbine converges with the wind forecasts and the electricity market prices. From this, the software calculates a schedule that guarantees that the electrolysis is only operated when wind power is also available and the electricity price is below a threshold to be defined at which electricity feed-in is more advantageous than electrolysis. In addition, parameters for plant operation are taken into account in the schedule calculation, such as the duration for the change of states during switch-on processes or in standby mode. In further work, the optimum operating mode of the electrolyser is also to be integrated into the models in the future.

“We expect this issue to become increasingly important in the future,” says Carsten Frey, research associate at Fraunhofer IOSB-AST. “We will also use this as a basis for developing new balancing group management functions within our EMS-EDM PROPHET® energy market suite.”

Green hydrogen

A data format was agreed upon for the use of the timetable and the data flow from the connector to the plant was designed and implemented. The schedule is first written into a database and from there read out and implemented by the electrolyser’s plant control system. At the end of February, the test run in real operation took place at the Power-to-Gas Research Center of Fraunhofer IEE in Bad Hersfeld and was successful.

“The coupling of wind energy and hydrogen offshore and onshore will be essential for the production of green hydrogen” expects Bernd Krautkremer, head of the research centre in Bad Hersfeld. “It is often crucial that the different further use of the hydrogen in each case is considered in the operational optimizations.”

Open data platform

The open data platform of the EnDaSpace is based on a FIWARE instance provided by Fraunhofer IOSB-INA. As an open source initiative, FIWARE offers a modular construction kit for the implementation and operation of data platforms. In particular, the focus is on standards and solutions for the management of context data. An anomaly detection executed on the data platform could thus be easily linked to the operating data of the wind turbine. The challenge in the project was to connect the data flow via the IDS connectors with the data management in the FIWARE environment.

“The combination of Data Spaces and already established open platform technology is a future market,” predicts Anders Borcherding, research associate at IOSB-INA. “We see interesting application opportunities here, particularly in the area of smart cities.”

About the project

The “EnDaSpace Platon” project was selected by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as part of the Innovation Push Program and will run from August 2020 to February 2021. In addition to the work on demonstrating the Energy Data Space, approaches to the platform economy in the energy industry were scientifically investigated in the “Platon” sub-project. The Fraunhofer Institutes IEE, IOSB-INA, IOSB-AST, ISST and IWES were involved in the EnDaSpace sub-project.

A video on the Energy Data Space and the contents of the project will be published at the same time as this press release. In addition, the contents of the project will be presented in an Expert Web Session on May 27 at 10 a.m. in cooperation with Fraunhofer Energy Intelligence (ENIQ). The video, the registration page for the Expert Web Session and further information on the project are available on the website