Bild: Carl Zeiss Stiftung

Research transfer for the implementation of the energy transition

The implementation of the energy transition requires intensive innovation and knowledge transfer. However, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, as well as cities and municipalities, are often unable to make the switch to renewable energies and more energy-efficient processes on their own. To strengthen the transfer of research results, the Carl Zeiss Foundation is funding six projects at universities of applied sciences with up to one million euros each. The teams research key aspects of the energy transition in cooperation with partners from municipalities and industry.

With the call for proposals “Energy Systems of the Future” in the funding program “CZS Transfer”, the foundation supports application-oriented research on the energy transition. Funding will be provided for six projects that directly transfer knowledge or technology with the involvement of cooperation partners. Project teams from the universities of Karlsruhe, Koblenz, Constance, Offenburg, Jena and Stuttgart won the two-stage competition. Topics include energy-efficient electromobility, CO2-neutral production processes, methods for optimizing efficiency and decision-making processes, and a heat supply for urban districts that is independent of oil and gas imports through new grid and storage systems.

“Universities of applied research make a very important contribution to knowledge transfer,” Dr. Felix Streiter, Managing Director of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, is convinced. “To shape the energy systems of the future, we need this solidarity between science and cities, associations and companies.”

From heat storage to energy-efficient mobility

The team at Ernst Abbe University in Jena is striving to achieve a CO2-neutral heat supply for new and existing buildings that is independent of oil and gas imports. For this purpose, an adsorption heat storage system is being tested that can provide high temperatures even with renewable energies. The results are subsequently available for the construction of a semi-commercial demonstration plant.

Heat pumps can also make a key contribution to reducing CO2 emissions, but are often not sufficient in existing buildings. So-called bidirectional cold local heating networks, which temporarily store solar heat in the ground in summer, could also enable energy-efficient use of heat pumps in existing buildings in winter. Buildings that are not sufficiently self-sufficient are supplied by others. The cooperation partner of the project at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences is Stadtwerke Bühl.

At the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences, extensive measurements as well as simulations of developments in heat, electricity and mobility are to facilitate urban planning. For this purpose, digital neighborhood twins of urban districts are developed. A decision matrix is intended to facilitate energy-efficient building refurbishment and electromobility, among other things. Through the involvement of the cities of Stuttgart and Kornwestheim, the results are directly transferred into the municipal neighborhood planning.

Electric vehicles are an essential part of the energy transition. They should be efficient and sustainable. The team at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences is therefore taking a holistic view of the energy supply for electromobility, from the distribution network to the charging station to the battery. Such an energy system is tested and optimized on the basis of a digital twin and in the laboratory. Several companies and associations from South Baden are part of the project group.

Ways to achieve climate-neutral production are demonstrated at Constance University of Applied Sciences using the digital twin of a production process. In cooperation with a partner from the energy-intensive metal industry, the aim is to test a switch to CO2-neutral processes and efficient energy utilization in a specific process.

A team from Koblenz University of Applied Sciences wants to increase the efficiency of compressors and motors. To this end, a liquid injection system is being developed to enable isothermal expansion and compression in compressors and engines. It is hoped that this will increase efficacy by 10-25 percent. The method is tested together with industry partners on a concrete model.