07 Juni 2024 Kathrin Haimerl, Abteilung Kommunikation, University of Passau

How can a stable grid be organised in times of renewable energies? In the “cells4.energy” project at the University of Passau, a team led by Professor Hermann de Meer is investigating whether the energy system can be restructured using regional energy cells.

The electricity grid in Europe is undergoing major changes. Renewable, decentralised energy sources are being massively expanded. As these energy sources are in most cases dependent on weather conditions, the number and capacity of storage facilities and controllable loads must be increased. Furthermore, the expansion of renewable sources is aimed at a reduction of electricity generation from fossil fuels. In addition to producing electricity, these traditional generation sources were previously also maintaining the grid frequency and voltage. Responsibilities for the electricity grid must now also be decentralised. For this reason, the converters of storage systems, photovoltaics, and wind turbines must be expanded to include essential system services (ancillary services).

“The massive expansion of renewable energy requiress a paradigm shift from centralised to decentralised generation,” says Professor de Meer, who holds the Chair of Computer Networks and Computer Communication at the University of Passau. “This means that energy no longer only flows from the transmission grid into the local grids, but a significant exchange of energy also takes place within the local grids.” Load balancing is also shifting at least partially to the consumer side. Due to the dynamics of the electricity grid, extensive sector coupling is becoming more important as long-term energy storage and as a flexibility resource.

A team of computer scientists at the University of Passau led by Professor de Meer is researching how this can be achieved in the "cells4energy" project. It is testing a concept for organising the energy system as system of regional cells. “These energy cells are characterised by the fact that they can be self-sufficient in terms of their energy balance, have the ability to store energy and provide system services,” says Professor de Meer. Based on the cells, a "multi-energy virtual power plant" is defined. This is an intelligent control system that coordinates consumer-side flexibility, storage and the provision of ancillary services. What is special about this is that the power plant coordinates the sector-coupling as well. "The energy cell concept could facilitate the integration of renewables and at the same time ensure that citizens have better control options,” says Professor de Meer.

In the "cells4.energy" project, several organisations from science and practice as well as from Austria, Germany and Norway have joined forces under the coordination of the Austrian Institute of Technology. In the overarching project, the research partners are exploring the concepts of the multi-energy virtual power plant and validating the feasibility of these concepts in practical studies in real-world laboratories in Austrian municipalities. Thematic focal points are being researched in sub-projects. The University of Passau is involved in the sub-projects on the design of the energy cell concept, grid formation through renewables and the information and communication system of an energy cell. Other topics include geothermal energy and the implementation of sector coupling with heating networks.

The Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG (www.ffg.at) is funding the "cells4.energy" project (project number FO999904664) over a period of four years.

Contact for scientific information:

Professor Herrmann de Meer
Chair of Computer Networks and Computer Communications
Innstraße 43
94032 Passau

E-mail: Hermann.DeMeer@uni-passau.de

Source: https://idw-online.de/de/news834890

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