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ELAB2 Schemata
Cross-linking of different energy carriers in the Energy Lab 2.0 (Graphics: KIT)

The energy system of the future is based on the intelligent coupling of fluctuating power generation from renewable energies, different storage technologies and optimized energy utilization.

In order to understand and control such interactions, new methods for simulation and analysis are being developed and tested at the “Smart Energy System Simulation and Control Center” (SEnSSiCC). The SEnSSiCC serves as a central platform for the investigation and  development of smart interlinked energy systems in the Energy Lab 2.0. Alongside information and communication technology, the SEnSSiCC also investigates and tests new hardware components in critical operating conditions.

Electricity generated from renewable sources – particularly from wind and sun (solar power storage park) – will be the primary form of energy in the future energy system. When viewed as a whole, it becomes clear that heat, gas and fuels also need to be integrated into the energy system, in addition to electricity. Power-to-X technologies enable the coupling of these sectors by the conversion of renewable power into heat (Power-to-Heat) and chemical energy carriers (Power-to-Gas and Power-to-Fuel) , which can then be stored and distributed.

Together with hydrogen, in the form of its oxides represents the starting material of the power-to-molecules processes for producing synthetic natural gas (power-to-gas) or synthetic liquid fuels (power-to-fuel, e.g. kerosene). Alongside renewable hydrogen, carbon can be sustainably integrated into the process chain using biogenic waste or carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or from industrial point sources (e.g. cement plants). Once produced in such a way, synthetic natural gas or synthetic liquid fuels can serve as an energy storage system for renewable electricity, enabling the carbon dioxide footprint to be drastically reduced – or even completely offset.

A plant network is being built in the Energy Lab 2.0 at the KIT to investigate this interplay. Micro gas turbines flexible to loads and fuels create the option of reconverting these energy carriers back into electricity in order to investigate a smart energy system with all the important facets of sector coupling.

Energy Lab 2.0 focuses on the following research questions:

  • How should we integrate different energy storage technologies with electricity generation and energy consumption in the grid to establish a smart energy system with greatly reduced carbon dioxide footprint?
  • How can we achieve more flexible electricity generation from chemical energy carriers with regard to load and fuel?
  • How can we compensate the role of decreasing availibility of rotating masses (spinning reserve) by energy system services based on decentralized components?
  • How can we achieve this by establishing a parallel energy information network?
    What kind of information grid is necessary for this task?
  • What kind of grid topologies are most appropriate for a scenario of a mainly decentralized power generation from renewable sources?