Success stories from the energy industry
The transition to alternative energy presents a number of challenges, but making the transition will be necessary to halt progressive climate change. Not only will it entail switching to renewable energy for electricity supplies, the heating and travel industries will also need electrifying. This will be the only way to tap into the two renewable energy sources with the greatest potential for overall energy supplies: wind energy and photovoltaics. Experts working with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Braun at the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Renewable Energy Systems are taking on this challenge in business.
The Steinbeis Enterprise is working closely in this area with the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (Fraunhofer IEE) and e²n (the department of energy management and the operation of electric grids) at the University of Kassel, and has already completed several successful projects.
Optimization of energy infrastructures
The Steinbeis experts support Fraunhofer IEE with the development and implementation of TAZAN software at the Baden-Wuerttemberg distribution grid operator Netze BW GmbH. On behalf of the network carrier, this analysis and optimization software for grid infrastructures manages the automated drafting, calculation, and evaluation of a variety of possible solutions for expanding target grids. It also takes developments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other influential factors into account. By adapting interfaces and integration modules, a system called pandapower Pro was able to integrate data from the network calculation system, GIS systems, and ERP information into existing IT landscapes and the network planning processes.
Analysis of infrastructure efficiency
When operating grids, energy is lost every time electricity has to be transferred. One important task is to ascertain how much energy is lost and pinpoint measures for enhancing efficiency. Germany already performs well in this area and achieves extremely low losses compared to many other countries. Working in collaboration with Fraunhofer IEE, the Steinbeis experts in Kassel conducted a detailed analysis of grid losses for the electricity distribution company Avacon Netz GmbH, based on a wealth of available grid information, GIS data, and readings. One particular challenge with the project was that electricity grids currently have insufficient technology to take measurements in low-voltage networks. As a result, various data technologies based on data analytics were used for experimentation.
Standalone network operation with renewable energy
Given the transition to alternative energy sources, and in the interests of further improvements to the reliability of electricity supplies, there is a need to safeguard network operability during network-critical situations by turning to renewable energy sources. To this end, the experts at the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Renewable Energy Systems have been working with Fraunhofer IEE on behalf of the municipal utility company Städtische Werke Netz + Service GmbH (Kassel) with the aim of ascertaining ways to set up standalone operations by using a combined heat and power plant alongside renewable energy, especially nearby wind farms. This assignment is part of a research project called c/sells, which falls under a program funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: SINTEG (German abbreviation for “Smart Energy Showcase – Digital Agenda for Energy Transition”).