Since the launch of the project and the start of construction works in 2013, the ETA Factory on the Lichtwiese Campus of the Technical University Darmstadt (TU Darmstad) is being used to research the energy-saving potential of industrial processes. To achieve this, a metalworking production process chain was installed after the completion of the building in 2016. During the course of the two years that this typical industrial manufacturing plant was in operation, the interdisciplinary team of researchers managed to reduce its energy consumption by 40%.
This was mainly achieved through the order of the individual process steps and the resulting particularly efficient use of the energy available. The innovative design and construction of the factory building also contributed to this. The factory is, for instance, composed of a modular structure, a three-layered building shell with a thermally activated building interior and exterior facades that are able to store surplus process energy.
However, the now celebrated succesful completion of the project does not mean the end of the ETA factory – follow-up projects are already underway at TU Darmstadt. Hence, for instance, in the ETA Transfer project, the identified energy efficiency measures are to be transferred to industry and made marketable across the board; another project called "SynErgie" is investigating how German industry can best be adapted to cope with the volatile supply of energy in future.
The ETA Factory project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).