ENSURE Prepares Grids for the Energy Transition


The ENSURE consortium is receiving a grant as one of the federal government's four "Kopernikus Projects for Energy Transition." It aims to harmonize central and peripheral power supply with the 30 million Euros.



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Albert Moser



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Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka announced the consortia that the federal government is funding as Kopernikus Projects of Energy Transition. One of the four is ENSURE – Neue Energienetzstrukturen für die Energiewende, or New Power Grid Structures for the Energy Transition in English. The consortia includes Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT, the consortium leader; core partners RWTH Aachen, the energy supplier E.On, grid operator TenneT TSO, the technology groups Siemens and ABB; and an additional 15 partners. The project's objective is to develop and test efficient and innovative structures in central and peripheral energy supply.

"The energy transition represents a paradigm shift for the German energy system, a shift that, to a great extent, offers economic opportunities aside from challenges," said professor Holger Hanselka, president of KIT and speaker of ENSURE. RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg happily commented: "The joint research by strong partners in this field will significantly contribute to an energy transition that not only ensures an efficient and environmentally friendly energy supply for the future but also one that will be economically successful."

Structures for an Innovative Power Grid

The ENSURE consortium specifically wants to answer the question: what is a sensible energy structure when taking technical, economic, and social aspects into account and what amount of central and peripheral supply does it contain? In the project research will be conducted on efficient, new system structures, stable system steering mechanisms, and the integration of new technologies on a broad foundation. Particular attention will be given to the technical and social transformation processes that are to be mastered. Thus, focus is on both technologies for power transfer and information and communication technologies, which should ensure balance and stability in networked supply structures.

The ENSURE Kopernikus project has three phases. The first phase is for fundamental research from 2016 to 2019, the second is reserved to implement the pilot measure from 2019 to 2022, and a multimodal grid demonstrator is to be built during the third phase from 2022 to 2025. This large demonstrator will be used to show what the future energy supply of an urban system with a surrounding region can look like. Investigations will also be conduted on the possibilities for flexibilization and an increase in efficiency, for example through the energy system integration of power, gas, heat, and storage technologies or through direct current coupling at the medium or high voltage level.

ENSURE Board of Directors and Partners

The ENSURE consortium is composed of a board of directors, in which the six core partners are represented, and 15 additional project partners. The core partners are KIT and RWTH and representatives of research and teaching; the companies E.ON, an energy supplier and distributed grid operator, and TenneT TSO GmbH, a transmission grid operator; and the companies Siemens AG, integrated technology group, and ABB, energy and automatization technology group. The additional project partners include: (a) the Technical Universities of Dortmund and Darmstadt and the Universities of Cologne, Wuppertal, Hannover, Kiel, Erlangen-Nuremberg, (b) the non-university research institutions Forschungsgemeinschaft für Elektrische Anlagen und Stromwirtschaft e.V. Mannheim, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology, and OFFIS – Institut für Informatik Oldenburg, (c) project partners Öko-Institut e.V., Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., DVGW e.V., and (de) industrial companies Nexans GmbH and Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH. The federal government is contributing 30 million Euros to the 43 million Euro budget for the first three years.

About the "Kopernikus Projects for Energy Transition" Funding Initiative

With the 2050 Energy Concept the federal government aims to attain an environmentally friendly, reliable, and affordable energy supply. The goal of the "Kopernikus Projects for Energy Transition" funding initiative is to pave the way as part of a high tech strategy to find new collaborations industry, science, and society, and to efficiently and purposefully establish energy research in the future. The fundamental thought is that the energy transition can only be shaped if the population's needs and expectations are thoughtfully considered along with environmental compatibility and market-based demands. Profitable research fields need to be established that are defined by complexity, a high research risk, and particular potential for restructuring the energy system. Research and development in the Kopernikus project will contribute to bringing chances to the world market that result from technological advances.

RWTH Aachen

Aside from greatly varying research disciplines and specializations RWTH institutes effectively conduct transdisciplinary and tran-faculty collaborations in interdisciplinary centers such as the Center for Mobile Propulsion, the Center for Wind Drives, E.On Energy Research Center, and the Center for Flexible Electrical Grids. In close collaboration with institutes at Forschungszentrum Jülich – within the framework of the Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance JARA – and with the affiliated institute FGH, these centers research the current demands of society, the environment, economy, and industry.

RWTH's excellent teaching and research in the field of electrical energy engineering was already praised in 2012 in an evaluation report of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Seven professorships and over 280 academic staff members research in the fields of electromobility, energy conservation, and peripheral generators and grids. In the Sustainable Energy cluster on RWTH Aachen Campus the Institute of Power System and Power Economics with professor Albert Moser, the Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems with professor Antonello Monti, and the Institute for Power Generation and Storage Systems with professor Rik De Doncker are collaborating on the research campus project Flexible Elektrische Netze, FEN; funded by the BMBF.

A total of 15 RWTH institutes and over 25 companies in the FEN industry consortium are working on new developments for distributed grids. The FEN research topics focus strongly on the perfomance electronics of direct current grids and IKT for Automatization (Internet of Things), and the stabilization of distributed grids. The FEN research results will supplement those from the ENSURE research projects, which are based on new structures of energy transport grids.

A core partner in the recently granted ENSURE project, RWTH Aachen and its 260 institutes in nine faculties is one of the leading European science and research institutions. The work at RWTH Aachen's research centers is strongly oriented towards industry's current demands. This leads to numerous innovations, patents, and licenses. While RWTH Aachen's comptentence centers vary greatly in their disciplines and specializations, they also accomplish effective transdisciplinary and trans-faculty collaboration in interdisciplinary networks and forums.

RWTH is also a core partner of the Kopernikus project "P2X: Research, Validation, and Implementation of Power-To-X Processes." View our press release 057/2016 from April 5, 2016.

Source: Press and Communications