SynErgie II

Flexibly adjusting industrial processes to fluctuating power supply

© MarkusBeck/

The future of energy

SynErgie is one of the nationwide projects within the funding initiative of Kopernikus projects for the energy transition. The project is dedicated to the question of how a flexible alignment of industrial processes to a fluctuating energy supply can balance the electricity system. In tomorrow’s electricity system, the supply of electricity will no longer follow the demand for electricity as it has been in the past. Therefore, energy-intensive industries in particular must learn to use electricity when it is available and inexpensive and to dispense with it when it is scarce and expensive. In this way, the demand for electricity can be adapted to the fluctuating supply of electricity.

An interdisciplinary consortium

Overall, the consortium stands out from other initiatives due to its synergetic composition of leading research institutions, companies from the most important energy-intensive industries, electricity market representatives, IT providers and representatives of civil society. This holistic composition not only enables transdisciplinary research into new fundamentals, but also supports the industrial implementation and social acceptance of the solutions developed. Thus, the project will identify key industrial processes that can be used to compensate for fluctuating energy supplies by adjusting their energy requirements. In addition, efficient flexibilization methods and technologies for key industrial processes are being developed and tested in pilot plants. To this end, approaches from information and communication technology are also being used to control the supply and demand balance in the electricity grid. The focus here is on connecting the individual players (e.g. electricity producers, aggregators, electricity consumers, electricity network operators or forecasting service providers) with the help of information systems to enable automated adjustment of electricity consumption. The vision here is a continuous control of energy demand from the PV module or wind turbine to the production process. Finally, for the best possible monetization of industrial demand flexibility, decision support systems will be developed for companies and challenges for a promising market design 2030-2050 will be analyzed and possible design options will be developed.

Augsburg as pilot region

A special feature of the Kopernikus project SynErgie is the energy flexible pilot region Augsburg. Here, more than 20 local institutions have joined forces to investigate the behavior of energy-flexible consumers as well as the effects of a flexible alignment of industrial processes on the Augsburg region and to evaluate them under consideration of municipal conditions, opportunities, risks and consequences. In this way, key factors for the successful use of demand flexibility are derived. On the basis of the results obtained from the Augsburg pilot region, the possibility of transfer to other regions is also being investigated, which is why the Augsburg location deserves a significant pioneering role in the energy transition.

BMBF funding

Within the scope of the Kopernikus project SynErgie (Synchronized and energy-adaptive production technology for the flexible alignment of industrial processes to a fluctuating energy supply), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding around 60 partners from science, industry and civil society. The project group Business & Information System Engineering of Fraunhofer FIT in Augsburg and Bayreuth as well as the University of Augsburg, the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and the University of Luxembourg are significantly involved in this project. The second of a total of three planned funding phases is currently underway with a funding volume of around 30 million euros. The first funding phase from 2016 to 2019 has already been successfully completed.

Project coordinators and partners

Coordinators of the SynErgie project are Prof. Eberhard Abele, Technische Universität Darmstadt, and Prof. Alexander Sauer, University of Stuttgart. Besides Fraunhofer FIT consortium includes the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV, two renowned research institutes from Augsburg. Throughout Germany, another 20 research institutes from the RWTH Aachen University, the universities of Bayreuth, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Cologne and Stuttgart to the Technical University of Munich are participating in the consortium. In addition, 40 industrial companies from the energy-intensive industry are involved in the project.

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