© Fraunhofer IEE | Michael Krause

Fraun­hofer IEE bun­dles solu­tions for the ener­gy tran­si­tion in cities and neighborhoods

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.