In an overall energy system, local elements as well as technical information and communication elements play an increasingly significant role. This is why the interaction of various spatial levels, the interplay of individual technologies, the adjustment of generation and demand, and increasing digitalisation are such central subjects of research. On the one hand, this refers to questions of electrical engineering regarding the network and the management or interdependency of technological components; on the other, this also refers to questions on the fundamental architecture of any future energy system. Due to the high proportion of renewable energies, increased decentralisation of future energy systems will occur and the focus is increasingly being placed on distribution networks. Measures for the flexibilisation of energy grids are becoming more important too, in the form of energy sector coupling, for example. This particularly affects urban infrastructure, and there is great potential in particular in the linking of the electricity, heat and mobility sectors for homes, businesses and local transport. This has already been partially implemented at component level.
Work is being carried out at the DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems with the involvement of the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, the DLR Institute of Solar Research and the DLR Institute of Combustion Technology.
Energy sector coupling, solutions for buildings, cities and districts
In a future energy system, sector coupling as a flexibilisation option and the integration of electricity-based renewable energies will play an important role. Combined electricity/heat technologies such as combined heat power (CHP) or heat pumps will be examined and optimised as components in concepts for building- and district-heating systems. Integrated energy also refers to electricity/fuel technologies (hydrogen, hydrocarbons) and electromobility, which will allow decarbonisation of the transport sector. In addition, energy supply solutions and their intelligent management will also be developed. As well as the use of solar energy in solar thermal power plants, new concepts of energy conversion for the local energy supply of urban areas will also be developed in the field of energy system technology.
Power grids will also play an important role in future energy systems. In this research area, we are investigating and developing electrotechnical components in the grid system, in both direct-current and alternating-current grids and their integration. Direct-current solutions have a great significance in the future due to the use of renewable energies. Grid protection, management and control concepts are being examined, as previous mechanisms of grid management and stabilisation are increasingly being taken over by power electronic components.
Flexibilisation, system services and energy management
Intelligent energy management is becoming increasingly important on different levels. On the one hand, there are the various grid levels, but on the other hand there are also local structures, for example, decentralised provision of energy through renewable energies and the interactions of these levels with various sectors (electricity, heat, e-mobility) at building, district and city level. The central questions here are how energy provision, load flows and energy requirements can be optimised (Smart Home, Smart City, and Smart Grid). Future flexibilisation measures using complex network simulations are being explored regarding the synchronisation of fluctuating generation and consumption. The conversion of the scala of electricity generation technologies into a system increasingly dominated by electrotechnology additionally requires the use of new system services to stabilise the power system.