Press Release 096/2022

Future Energy System: Federal Research Minister Starts Large-scale Simulation at KIT

At KIT’s Energy Lab 2.0, Bettina Stark-Watzinger Started Model of an Energy System Based on Renewable Sources
2022_096_Energiesystem der Zukunft_Bundesforschungsministerin startet Grosssimulation am KIT_72dpi
Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (second from the left) started the simulation at KIT’s Energy Lab 2.0. (Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT; the detailed caption can be found at the end of the text).

With the goal of climate neutrality in mind, researchers of Energy Lab 2.0 of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have built a detailed “digital twin” of the German energy system. It integrates real technical plants, such as a solar park, grid storage systems, and power-to-X facilities, and can now be used to virtually test the future energy system with all its components. Today (October 28, 2022), Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger started the simulation during her visit of KIT.

The Minister was accompanied by Michael Theurer, Undersecretary of State with the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

Research at Energy Lab 2.0 is aimed at finding out how a climate-neutral and resilient energy system should be designed and how it can be controlled safely and reliably. The simulation is based on renewable energy sources and a closed carbon loop, that is on the energy system the Federal Government plans to establish by 2045. A large part of the work at Energy Lab 2.0 is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

“Progressing climate change and the energy crisis clearly show that we have to speed up the transformation of our energy supply system,” said Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger. “To reach our ambitious goals, we rely on extensive research. Energy research here at KIT and in the Helmholtz Association decisively contributes to accelerating the energy transition and to specifically developing future energy supply based on green hydrogen, for instance.” 

“With our Energy Lab 2.0, we can show that a climate-neutral energy system will be feasible in future,” said Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice-President for Transfer and International Affairs, who welcomed the guests on behalf of the Executive Board. “Although Germany will probably always remain a country dependent on importing energy, we can provide the technologies and develop the know-how needed for implementing a climate-neutral energy system on the national and international levels. Energy research here at Energy Lab 2.0 is a good example of how close science is to practice and how science addresses the big challenges of our time in a practically relevant way.”

Energy Lab 2.0: Test Field for Sector Coupling

Energy Lab 2.0 is Europe’s biggest infrastructure for research into renewable energy sources and sector coupling. The highly performing models developed here are used to realistically simulate the flexible interaction of electrical, thermal, and chemical energy carriers. Here, smart connection of future hydrogen infrastructures or planned wind parks with real power-to-X plants, energy storage systems, and other energy system components is trained. The Lab includes a solar park and a geothermal plant as well as innovative energy storage systems, power-to-X plants, residential houses, electric cars, and very large computers. In the next years, a new generation of experts will be trained to operate the future energy system and to successfully cope with periods of little or no wind and solar power production and attacks of cyber criminals. 

Speeding up the Energy Transition 

Research at KIT’s Energy Lab 2.0 extends from basic studies to prototype development. Plants for fuel production based on renewables and ambient CO2, redox flow storage systems, or fabrication strategies for various key components are developed to maturity in cooperation with industry. Industry is also invited to use the sophisticated simulation tools and test self-developed energy system components in a realistic environment. Politics can use Energy Lab 2.0 as a real-world lab: Here, it can be studied quickly how lacking gas supplies from Russia can be compensated by renewable energy sources or savings and how a ramp-up of hydrogen economy can be organized technically.

Further Information:

More about the KIT Energy Center:  

Detailed figure caption:

Start of the simulation at Energy Lab 2.0 (from left to right): Professor Michael Decker, Head of the KIT Division of Informatics, Economics, and Society; Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research; Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice-President for Transfer and International Affairs; Michael Theurer, Undersecretary of State with the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport; Professor Andrea Robitzki, Head of the KIT Division of Biology, Chemistry, and Process Engineering. (Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT).

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

mhe, 28.10.2022

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