SmartFarm2: Smart ener­gy for rur­al areas

Renew­able ener­gies are among the most impor­tant sources of elec­tric­i­ty in Ger­many. Their expan­sion is a cen­tral pil­lar of the ener­gy tran­si­tion. The project “SmartFarm2” of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men and its part­ners helps to find out how to opti­mize pri­vate self-con­sump­tion with renew­able ener­gy. Ini­tial tests are to be car­ried out on more than one hun­dred build­ings in the Oster­holz dis­trict and in the All­gäu region. Inter­est­ed par­ties from these regions can par­tic­i­pate in the project. “SmartFarm2” is being fund­ed by the Ger­man Fed­er­al Min­istry for Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Ener­gy for three years with over 1.4 mil­lion euros.

Accord­ing to the Fed­er­al Sta­tis­ti­cal Office, more than 50 per­cent of elec­tric­i­ty from renew­able ener­gies (RE) was fed into the grids for the first time in 2020. The use goes hand in hand with a high demand for space. As a result, rur­al areas in par­tic­u­lar are see­ing an increase in the num­ber of such facil­i­ties. This results in new areas of activ­i­ty for the peo­ple who live and work there. Farm­ers, for exam­ple, become ener­gy farmers.

First sub­si­dies for pho­to­volta­ic and wind plants expire

For the first pho­to­volta­ic (PV) sys­tems, the legal­ly guar­an­teed remu­ner­a­tion under the Renew­able Ener­gy Sources Act expired at the end of 2020, as this is only valid for 20 years per sys­tem. The first wind tur­bines will also no longer be sub­sidised. How­ev­er, the con­tin­ued oper­a­tion of old PV and wind plants after the expiry of the statu­to­ry remu­ner­a­tion oblig­a­tions is desir­able. Not only to be able to use the ener­gy pro­duced. For oper­a­tors of such plants, it may well be worth­while to switch to self-consumption.

Project aims to equip over a hun­dred build­ings with easy-to-use sen­sor technology

This is where the “SmartFarm2” project from the Cen­ter for Tech­no­math­e­mat­ics (ZeTeM) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men comes in. It wants to show poten­tials how pri­vate users can opti­mize their own con­sump­tion. “We want to set up a test field with over a hun­dred so-called real demon­stra­tors,” says project leader Pro­fes­sor Christof Büskens of the uni­ver­si­ty’s ZeTeM. Exam­ples of build­ings include dairy farms, pig farms, green­hous­es and schools. “We want to equip these build­ings with eas­i­ly man­age­able sen­sor tech­nol­o­gy,” he said, “to cap­ture the high-res­o­lu­tion, time-of-day con­sumer and pro­duc­er data that has not been avail­able before.” Based on this data, the meth­ods of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) and math­e­mat­i­cal opti­mi­sa­tion algo­rithms can be used to demon­strate the eco­nom­ic poten­tial of opti­mis­ing self-con­sump­tion. Based on this, a high­ly auto­mat­ed ener­gy man­age­ment sys­tem (EMS) is then developed.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion possible
Inter­est­ed par­ties in the vicin­i­ty of Oster­holz and in the All­gäu region can take part in the project — espe­cial­ly own­ers of small and medi­um-sized farms or munic­i­pal facil­i­ties. Infor­ma­tion is avail­able at https://smartfarm2.de/.

Fund­ing of over 1.4 mil­lion euros
“SmartFarm2” is being fund­ed by the Ger­man Fed­er­al Min­istry for Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Ener­gy for three years with over 1.4 mil­lion euros. In addi­tion to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men, the project part­ners are the Stein­beis Inno­va­tion Cen­ter for Opti­miza­tion, Con­trol and Reg­u­la­tion, which is coor­di­nat­ing the project, and the two SMEs nD-enerserve from Hanover and Q3 ENERGIE from Kaufbeuren.