Flexibly adjusting industrial processes to fluctuating power supply

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The SynErgie (Synchronized energy management for energy-adaptive processes) project studies how energy-hungry, yet flexible production processes can make use of the volatile power supply from renewable sources and thus help balance supply and demand in a future power grid.

The project aims to identify key production processes whose electricity demand can be restructured in a way that allows using them to balance fluctuating power supply without affecting their overall profitability. Finally the project will develop efficient operations, procedures and technologies for key industrial processes and test them in pilot plants.

State-of-the-art information technology will be deployed to network the different players, such as electricity producers, large-scale energy consumers, electricity markets and grid operators. The aim is to use these integrated information systems to achieve an automatic, economically favorable adaptation of power consumption. The guiding idea is that of an integrated control of power demand linking photovoltaic plants or wind generators, markets and production processes.

Economic value of demand flexibility

A subset of the SynErgie consortium, headed by Fraunhofer FIT's project group Business & Information Systems Engineering in Augsburg and Bayreuth, focuses on market and power grid systems. One main issue here is to determine economic valuations of the flexibilities of industrial power consumption and to develop mechanisms for the financial compensation of these flexibilities.

Fraunhofer FIT's User-Centered Computing group, a member of the ICT subgroup of the SynErgie consortium, is working on requirements analysis and the development of interfaces and consults on security issues with regard to data exchange between the players in the electricity market.

BMBF funding

SynErgie is one of four Kopernikus projects for the national energy turnaround. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is expected to play a major role in guaranteeing a reliable, affordable und sustainable power supply in Germany. The initial phase of the SynErgie project will be funded for three years with an annual budget of 10 million €. The BMBF plans to fund each of the four Kopernikus projects for up to 10 years with a total budget of 100 million €.

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 and two more Fraunhofer institutes, 19 research institutes as well as 40 companies from the major electricity-hungry industries in Germany are actively involved in the project.

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