Researchers devel­op emer­gency con­cepts for nation­wide pow­er outages

In Decem­ber 2021, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wup­per­tal start­ed a new research project with SISKIN (Large-scale pow­er out­age — options for par­tial sup­ply of crit­i­cal infra­struc­tures). It exam­ines black­outs and, against the back­drop of the increas­ing num­ber of decen­tral­ized gen­er­a­tion plants and addi­tion­al automa­tion tech­nol­o­gy, devel­ops nov­el emer­gency con­cepts that can also be trans­ferred to oth­er grids. “This would enable grid oper­a­tors to bet­ter man­age impend­ing black­outs in the future,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Zdrallek from the Wup­per­tal Chair of Elec­tri­cal Pow­er Sup­ply Tech­nol­o­gy. The state of NRW is fund­ing the project with approx­i­mate­ly two mil­lion euros.

“Our soci­ety is more depen­dent than ever on a func­tion­ing pow­er sup­ply. More and more process­es in busi­ness, admin­is­tra­tion and pri­vate life require a reli­able pow­er sup­ply,” explains project man­ag­er Zdrallek. The avail­abil­i­ty of elec­tri­cal ener­gy is often tak­en for grant­ed, as the secu­ri­ty of sup­ply in Europe is very high and large-scale pow­er out­ages in this coun­try are there­fore con­sid­ered unlike­ly. “How­ev­er, if such a black­out occurs, the con­se­quences are dev­as­tat­ing: After just a few days, the nation­wide and demand-ori­ent­ed sup­ply of the pop­u­la­tion with essen­tial goods and ser­vices is no longer guar­an­teed. There will be dra­mat­ic effects on our soci­ety and pub­lic safe­ty,” says Zdrallek.

The SISKIN research project ana­lyzes the han­dling of such black­outs in Ger­many. Over the three years of the project, a con­cept will be devel­oped for resup­ply­ing crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, such as hos­pi­tals and water­works, dur­ing a pro­longed pow­er out­age. For this pur­pose, in addi­tion to larg­er plants, for exam­ple gas tur­bines, which are the basis of today’s resup­ply con­cepts, small plants from pri­vate house­holds, such as pho­to­volta­ic sys­tems and home stor­age sys­tems, are to be used.

This con­cept will be test­ed in a suit­able sim­u­la­tion envi­ron­ment in a first step, in a lab­o­ra­to­ry test in a sec­ond step and in a field test in a third step. The test­ing takes place under defined con­di­tions in a real grid, where a black­out is sim­u­lat­ed and indi­vid­ual plants are con­trolled to enable grid reconstruction.

The project part­ners are Energiev­er­sorgung Lev­erkusen GmbH & Co. KG, RheinEn­ergie AG, WSW Netz GmbH, Wup­per­ver­band and AWG Wup­per­tal. “This asso­ci­a­tion of part­ners from the Ber­gis­ches Land region strength­ens the region and con­tributes to the net­work­ing of the play­ers and their var­i­ous tasks in the pro­vi­sion of pub­lic ser­vices,” says Markus Zdrallek.

Sci­en­tif­ic Contacts:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Zdrallek
Chair of Elec­tri­cal Pow­er Sup­ply Engineering
Phone 0202/439‑1976