How can politicians and energy policymakers quickly find out how to replace a sudden loss of gas supply with renewable sources? Or how the hydrogen economy could be ramped-up through decentralised sector coupling? Or what would happen in the case of a major cyber-attack on the grid?
Germany needs a large-scale simulation of its future energy system, capable of integrating all renewable energy sources, sector coupling initiatives and grid storage facilities to provide a macro-perspective. And that’s precisely what scientists at the renowned Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have set out to do at the Energy Lab 2.0, Europe’s largest research infrastructure centre for renewables and sector coupling.
The Lab 2.0 researchers want to ascertain how a carbon-neutral and shock-resilient energy system should be set up and operated. It must include the intelligent networking of hydrogen plants and Power-to-X, wind, solar, bio-energy and geothermal plants, electric charging networks, energy storage and grid operations; in other words, it’s a landmark digital infrastructure project.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is providing a large chunk of the research funding for the project which was opened last month by Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger: "Advancing climate change and the energy crisis make it clear that we need more speed in the transformation of our energy supply", she said at the ceremony, according to a KIT .
Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs, commented: "Even though Germany will probably always remain an energy importing country, we can provide the technologies and build up the know-how to realise this internationally and locally. Energy research, as it is carried out here at the Energy Lab 2.0, makes clear in the best sense how practically oriented science is to solve the great challenges of our time."