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Prof. Dr. Wolf Fichtner, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Dr. Patrick Jochem, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Dr. Valentin Bertsch, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Dr. Christian Feißt, GreenCom Networks


The rearrangement of the energy system as a result of the ambitious targets concerning the expansion of renewable energy on a European as well as on a national level, accompanied by the trend towards an increasingly decentralized energy supply structure, has a significant impact on the future development of energy service requirements and, consequently, constitutes a particular challenge. For instance, the effects resulting from a conversion of traditional energy suppliers to energy service providers are of special interest in this context. Thus, a special emphasis is on short-, medium-, and long-term techno-economic analysis of energy systems enabling an evaluation of new, service related business models in order to offer decision support. Typically, an interdisciplinary approach is chosen since such system analyses involve not only economic criteria, but also aspects of engineering, IT or social sciences.

With the research project MeRegio (“Minimum emission Regions”) our aim is to use energy intelligently, increase energy-efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. How could we achieve this in practice? E.g. by interconnecting centralised and decentralised energy production plants with an effective communication system. The permanent exchange of data guarantees that electricity is always produced, fed and used as required ("energy on demand"). Moreover, electricity (e.g. from a photovoltaic solar power plant) can be stored directly in the home, e.g. in an electric vehicle or in a stationary storage device. The short transmission path for energy production means that losses are reduced and the overload of networks is avoided. In this context, MeRegioMobil developed and built up the infrastructure for a large number of electric vehicle users in Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2010 and put it to a regional field test by the end of 2011. Along with the installation of intelligent battery-charging stations and the usage of batteries as dynamic buffer storage systems in the power grid, the project additionally comprises the development of new business models and incentive systems as well as the conception of novel location-based telematics services.

The Energy Smart Home Lab of the MeRegioMobil project is a prefabricated house covering an area of about 80 square meters. It is a prototype of an energy-efficient smart household of the future. Electric vehicles are integrated in the intelligent energy management system of the household as electricity storage devices and consumers. The smart home is equipped with the typical elements such as smart home appliances (e.g. smart washing machine, dryer and dish washer), generators (e.g. CHP and photovoltaic), smart consumers, and energy storage devices which are all controlled by the central energy management system. The Energy Smart Home Lab will be visited after the presentation and discussion.

Distributed power generation is growing rapidly in Europe. Germany has an installed base of 1.2m photovoltaic units, 500k heat pumps and 40k micro CHPs. The Germany Ministry of Environment estimates growth-rates that would double the installed base until 2020. The fact that distributed generation is not integrated into today’s energy system causes a lot of challenges due to uncontrolled demand and supply. New communication technologies help integrating those distributed energy sources to better balance fluctuations and to unleash the complete potential of distributed energy management. GreenCom Networks is engaged in various international projects to set up communication infrastructure enabling distributed energy management.