Cities are responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions. With their complex infrastructure and high energy requirements, they also offer great opportunities for the implementation of climate protection measures. The Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology IEE is now bundling its consulting services and tools for the urban energy transition with the completion of the development phase of the research focus “Energy System City”. The focus is on the interlinking of technological, economic and planning aspects and a central contact point for municipalities, the real estate industry, utilities, industry and planners. An Expert Web Session will be held on December 9, 2021 on this topic.
“Cities hold enormous potential for climate protection measures, since countless synergy effects can be achieved in energy efficiency and generation,” says Dr. Dietrich Schmidt, head of the Thermal Energy Systems Technology department at Fraunhofer IEE in Kassel. “As an experienced partner from the scientific community, we support the players in taking advantage of these opportunities. With our offerings developed in the research focus “Energy System City” and tested in practice, we help them build integrated systems for a climate-friendly energy supply.”
The Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts has supported the Fraunhofer IEE in the development of the competence field “Energy System City” with a total of six million euros over the past three years.
Within the framework of this priority topic, Fraunhofer researchers have successfully implemented numerous projects in the field of urban energy transition — from potential analyses to the technical and economic design of contemporary supply systems and offerings to the operational and economic optimization of existing infrastructures. With these competencies and experience, the Kassel-based Fraunhofer researchers provide solutions and instruments for a wide variety of tasks in neighborhoods, cities and metropolitan areas.
Toolbox for the urban energy transition
The transformation of urban energy systems begins with the definition of the balance area as well as the goals. Then the status quo is recorded. On this basis, business models are developed, scenarios simulated and implementation planned. The project will be implemented and monitoring will be established. The ongoing comparison of the collected values with the previously defined target values ensures that the goals defined at the beginning are reliably achieved in practice.
In all steps of this process, the Fraunhofer experts are available to the project managers as competent advisors. For the implementation, Fraunhofer IEE offers a variety of task-specific tools — such as InvestSCOPE for calculating the economic efficiency of different transformation paths, EnergyANTS for the temporal and spatial simulation of energy systems, EnergyPilot for energy management and operational optimization, Pandaplan for detailed planning and operation of electricity, gas and water grids, beeDIP for grid management or EnergyConnect for virtual power plants.
Planning of heat supply for quarters and cities
EQ ‑City, a bundle of instruments for planning the heat supply of neighborhoods and cities, has a special place in the Fraunhofer IEE toolbox. With EQ-City, municipal experts, utilities or planners can compare and evaluate various centralized and decentralized supply concepts, as well as directly receive an evaluation for presentation to decision-makers. The solution also enables simple and efficient pre-planning, especially of piped systems for heat supply.
For example, EQ-City supports the experts in determining the heat demand of new and existing quarters as well as in designing the piped heat supply or individual solutions with storage units and sector coupling technologies. Furthermore, EQ-City can be used to balance and evaluate energy flows and environmental factors, to carry out comprehensive profitability analyses and to compare systems by means of detailed utility value analyses.
Experimental field for district and local heating
With the District LAB, Fraunhofer IEE also offers network operators, utilities, system planners and component manufacturers extensive experimentation and testing opportunities for grid-based heat supply. With the support of Fraunhofer researchers, they can experimentally develop, investigate and validate solutions, products and operating models here.
“At its core, the District LAB consists of a flexible test network with connected experimental and test rigs for district heat generators, as well as a test track for experiments with pipelines. Thanks to several hardware-in-the-loop units and a digital control system, the operating states can be precisely set and measured at any time,” explains Dr. Anna Kallert, head of the Thermal Energy Systems Technology department.
Communication and collaboration
A central prerequisite for the success of an urban energy transition is the close involvement of all relevant actors in the discussion and decision-making processes. This is why Fraunhofer IEE pays particular attention to the planning and communication aspects of the transformation in its process support: A guided decision-making process and innovative, tried-and-tested communication and collaboration formats such as Decision Theater make it possible to make better decisions together.