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05. Jan 2015 - New funding announcement from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: Networking energy research topics and projects

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By 2050, the intention is to increase the efficiency of the energy system in Germany so that only half of the current primary energy consumption is required. The aim is that renewables shall meet 80 per cent of the electricity requirement by then and 60 per cent of the final energy consumption. For this purpose, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is bundling the measures in non-nuclear energy research and is thus expanding the 6th Energy Research Programme. The entire energy chain is now represented – from the generation and conversion of energy to its transport and distribution, including its storage, to the energy’s use in various application areas such as in municipalities. The aim of future funding projects is to reduce the economic and technological risks. The focus is on developing and integrating new information and communication technologies as well as on aspects concerned with the system security, system reliability and acceptance.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding research projects utilising all energy technologies (excluding biomass) as well as projects on systems analysis and interdisciplinary research projects. In addition it is planned to hold an ideas competition that brings together the research focus areas in order to further optimise the energy system. This competition is aimed at promoting projects that combine energy provision and savings with the storage, distribution and management of energy resources.

Buildings and cities are taking on an increasing share of the needs-based, decentralised provision of heating, cooling and electricity. The considerable interdependence between the building, district, decentralised and solar energy provision research areas therefore requires content-based networking and information sharing between the different areas. This shall be ensured by interdisciplinary, accompanying scientific research that, in addition to providing analyses and interdisciplinary evaluations, supports the transfer of information and knowledge in the context of the research network.

Research for energy-efficient heating and cooling networks (EnEff:Wärme)

Calculations estimate that by 2050 approximately 50% of the required heating could be provided by heating networks. This would therefore open up considerable potential for improving the efficiency. The aim of the funding is therefore to improve grid-connected heating and cooling supply systems in primary energy, exergy, economic and environmental terms. These include both district heating systems and decentralised supply structures. Solar thermal energy provides new prospects for district heating networks that are well developed in urban conurbations: it can both replace fossil fuels as well as tangibly improve the efficiency of district heating, in particular during the summer months. As part of its funding, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is therefore also focussing in future on the solarisation of heating networks, including by using system concepts concerned with the network hydraulics, integration and yield stability.

Research for the energy-efficient city (EnEff:Stadt)

The EnEff:Stadt research area promotes innovative, locally oriented holistic solutions for increasing energy efficiency and integrating renewable energies at the district level, which are simultaneously integrated into a city-wide, long-term strategy. It funds exemplary, cost-optimised district concepts, selected aspects concerned with their implementation and the associated scientific evaluation. The aim is to accelerate the necessary transformation processes in urban energy supply structures by overcoming existing barriers in realising large-scale energy efficiency projects. In addition to the use of innovative technologies, it is also concerned with the further development and use of modern, integrated planning tools and the use of modern methods for managing complex projects.

An indefinite Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of research, development and demonstration projects in Germany, Austria and Switzerland facilitates transnational (D-A-CH) research collaborations. These are given priority provided that they meet national funding guidelines.

European and international cooperation

The European cooperation is primarily carried out with Member States and the European Commission as part of the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. The SET Plan also provides for cooperation between the national programmes – with and without the involvement of the Commission – in the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. One focus of the international cooperation is the participation in programmes and projects run by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Germany is currently participating in 25 from 40 ongoing Implementing Agreements.


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