Real lab­o­ra­to­ries of the ener­gy tran­si­tion show what is possible

Cli­mate neu­tral­i­ty in Ger­many by 2045 — this is the tar­get set by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment in 2021 with the new Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion Act. The city of Jena aims to achieve this goal as ear­ly as 2035. With the Jen­ErgieRe­al ener­gy tran­si­tion real lab­o­ra­to­ry, Jena is now demon­strat­ing new solu­tions for sus­tain­able elec­tric­i­ty and heat sup­ply. Jen­ErgieRe­al is one of the real lab­o­ra­to­ries of the ener­gy tran­si­tion that Project Man­age­ment Jülich (PtJ) is man­ag­ing for the Ger­man Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ics and Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion (BMWK) as part of the 7th Ener­gy Research Pro­gram. PtJ sup­ports the BMWK in accel­er­at­ing the prac­ti­cal trans­fer of inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies and process­es for the ener­gy tran­si­tion and the restruc­tur­ing of the Ger­man ener­gy system.

In Novem­ber, the offi­cial start­ing sig­nal was giv­en for Jen­ErgieRe­al: With the han­dover of the grant, this real lab­o­ra­to­ry of the ener­gy tran­si­tion has now offi­cial­ly start­ed. Thus, anoth­er inno­va­tion project is now test­ing the appli­ca­tion under real con­di­tions and on an indus­tri­al scale. Since 2020, eleven ener­gy tran­si­tion real lab­o­ra­to­ries have been active across Ger­many, focus­ing on ener­gy stor­age, ener­gy-opti­mized neigh­bor­hoods, and sec­tor cou­pling and hydro­gen technologies.

From the idea to use and mar­ket launch
In the fund­ing for­mat sup­port­ed by PtJ, research teams work on ques­tions of how inno­va­tions can be suc­cess­ful­ly estab­lished in the mar­ket in the future: Do the the­o­ret­i­cal approach­es work as planned in prac­tice? What opti­miza­tion steps do new­ly devel­oped tech­nolo­gies still have to go through before they are ready for the mar­ket? The ener­gy tran­si­tion real­labs thus func­tion as a strate­gic ele­ment for accel­er­at­ing the trans­fer of tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion and as a link between appli­ca­tion-ori­ent­ed research and broad imple­men­ta­tion in practice.

Vir­tu­al pow­er plant in Jena
In the future, the ener­gy tran­si­tion real lab­o­ra­to­ry in Jena will test how the var­i­ous play­ers in the ener­gy sys­tem — gen­er­a­tors, con­sumers, stor­age facil­i­ties — can be intel­li­gent­ly inter­con­nect­ed, thus enabling flex­i­ble con­trol of load dis­tri­b­u­tion in the grid. For this pur­pose, large-scale elec­tri­cal stor­age sys­tems as well as pho­to­volta­ic and solar ther­mal sys­tems are to be built and dis­trib­uted over the urban area of Jena by 2027. New and old play­ers will then be net­worked via a dig­i­tal infra­struc­ture and con­nect­ed to form a vir­tu­al pow­er plant. In its holis­tic approach and prac­ti­cal rel­e­vance, Jen­ErgieRe­al shows the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a sus­tain­able trans­for­ma­tion of urban spaces and could thus make Jena a pio­neer for the trans­for­ma­tion of ener­gy sup­ply in cities. Project Man­age­ment Jülich is sup­port­ing this devel­op­ment on behalf of the BMWK.

About Project Man­age­ment Jülich (PtJ)
As one of the largest project man­age­ment orga­ni­za­tions in Ger­many, PtJ is a part­ner for sci­ence, indus­try and pol­i­tics. With its exper­tise in research and inno­va­tion man­age­ment, it sup­ports its clients in the fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments as well as the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in achiev­ing their research pol­i­cy objec­tives. He advis­es those inter­est­ed in fund­ing and appli­cants on cur­rent fund­ing ini­tia­tives and sup­ports them in the prepa­ra­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of their projects.

In addi­tion to project fund­ing, PtJ is involved in strate­gic fore­sight and inno­va­tion sup­port, espe­cial­ly in tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well as accom­pa­ny­ing mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion process­es. In this way, PtJ takes into account the demands of its clients to com­mu­ni­cate the results of research and inno­va­tion fund­ing to soci­ety and to always keep an eye on the achieve­ment of the pro­grams’ goals.