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.