The ambitious project of the Energiewende implies a comprehensive remodelling of the German energy system. To succeed, the development of innovative energy efficient technologies and of solutions to integrate renewable energy sources is key. To facilitate the transfer of technology and innovation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) started the so called “Regulatory Sandboxes (in German: Reallabore der Energiewende)”.

Being part of the 7th edition of the energy research programme, these industrial scale “laboratories” allow for a comprehensive testing of new technologies within the current legal framework. By testing new concepts as well as German energy solutions in real life, not only the technology itself can be examined but also its interaction with other parts of the German energy system – key for successful sectorcoupling. The projects eligible for funding under the programme pursue a truly holistic approach: As real life testing implies the integration of energy consumers, socioeconomic questions are also examined.

Topics covered by the regulatory sandbox-projects range from sectorcoupling and hydrogen technologies to energy storage in the electricity sector as well as energetically optimized urban districts. One of the projects submitted for funding is GreenPower2Jet: The aim of the consortium behind it is to replace kerosene in aviation by synthetic hydrocarbons. Therefore, the project partners from industry and investigation plan to install a power-to-liquid plant set to produce climate-neutral kerosene which will be refined and then used in Airbus aircraft at Hamburg Airport.

The start of the first regulatory sandbox is set for the beginning of 2020. The BMWi is funding projects within the timeframe 2019-2022 in an amount of up to 100 millions euros per year.