The cooperation of the University of Bayreuth with the city of Wunsiedel around the energy park there will be further expanded. The Bavarian Minister President, Dr. Markus Söder, expressly supports the concept for a Future Energy Lab drawn up by the two partners and announced yesterday, September 14, 2022, that the Free State of Bavaria intends to provide a total of 15.5 million euros over the next five years for the construction and establishment of this real laboratory under the leadership of the University of Bayreuth.
The Minister President was a guest in Wunsiedel on the occasion of the commissioning of the largest electrolyzer in Bavaria. The plant installed by Siemens has a capacity of 8.75 MW and produces around 1,350 tons of hydrogen per year. The University of Bayreuth has already been involved in the realization of this plant with the ZET-Reallabor Energiezukunft Wunsiedel, which is funded by the Upper Franconia Foundation. Professor Dr.-Ing. Dieter Brüggemann, director of the Center for Energy Technology (ZET) at the University of Bayreuth, points out that the future Future Energy Lab will build on this cooperation, but that the range of topics will be specifically expanded with a competence team from the university: “With the funding that has now been concretely announced, we will be able to quickly address important aspects for our future energy supply through research and development and directly test them in the real lab.” These include digitization and artificial intelligence, sector coupling and hydrogen, innovative storage concepts and storage technologies. Another focus is on questions of legal regulation. The participation of local citizens is expressly desired in all these developments.
“We are actively tackling topics such as the further training of skilled workers and the establishment of new companies. We want to help ensure that young people continue to have attractive career prospects in the region in the future,” says Brüggemann. He sees the Future Energy Lab not only as a significant expansion of the existing energy park in Wunsiedel, but at the same time as an essential building block for the digitized, decarbonized, natural gas-independent, decentralized and CO2-neutral energy future in Bavaria: “What the University of Bayreuth and the city of Wunsiedel are building together over the next few years will serve as a model and pattern for many communities far beyond the state borders.”