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Dr. Rodoula Tryfonidou from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy welcomed all participants to the Berliner Energietage conference 2018. The researchers then had the opportunity to present their concepts for six future-oriented districts to a broad audience.
© BINE Informationsdienst, Uwe Friedrich
Energy-efficient city
05.06.2018

© BINE Informationsdienst, Uwe Friedrich

Testing climate-neutral districts in the real-world laboratory

How can energy efficiency measures and the utilisation of renewable energy sources enable districts to get by with virtually no fossil fuel? How can smart networking of power, heat and mobility be achieved? Scientists and other stakeholders are investigating these questions in six flagship projects. Initial results and local challenges were outlined by the research teams in a panel discussion at the Berliner Energietage conference.

Three quarters of Germany's population live in urban districts. A large proportion of Germany's final energy is consumed by private households, the transport sector, trade and infrastructure. The intention is to build and modernise highly energy-efficient buildings and districts together with an energy-optimised infrastructure. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Project Management Jülich have invited the projects to present concepts and results at the Berliner Energietage conference 2018 taking place under the title of “Energy-efficient city—districts as real-world laboratories”. Dr. Lukas Bo Völkel (BMBF) emphasised in his statement that it is now time to implement the transition in the ongoing operation of a district and to involve citizens. In her introduction, Dr. Rodoula Tryfonidou (BMWi) explained that the real-world laboratory will be anchored in the new energy research programme in the form of a new format and third pillar alongside basic and applied research.

Flagship project news

Using locally generated wind power within the district

The urban district “Rüsdorfer Kamp” in Heide is to be almost completely supplied by regional renewable energy sources in the future. Wind energy is abundant in the region, so up to 4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from wind energy remain unused every year. The aim is to use this electricity for the regional energy system by supplying heat, power and mobility and using excess electricity to produce hydrogen.

Climate-neutral district is being built on former factory compound

The city of Kaiserslautern is facing a special challenge by planning and building a new urban district on an old redevelopment area, the former Pfaff sewing machine factory. One focus of the research project is to involve all participants—including citizens—in the planning processes right from the beginning and combine energy-efficient district planning with urban land use planning.

Socially responsible and smart housing model in Zwickau

The scientists are investigating three supply concepts in the future zero-emission district of Marienthal. One part of the district serves as a reference area and is only being equipped with measurement technology. In contrast, the two other sub-areas pursue a centralised and a decentralised approach with their smart linking of existing energy supply structures. The aim is to flexibly adapt the supply of heat and electricity to the needs of the residents.

Former air base turns into energy-efficient neighbourhood

The example of a former military area of the city of Oldenburg will highlight what an innovative multi-modal energy network that links the electricity, heat and electromobility sectors could look like in practice. In the newly emerging climate-neutral residential neighbourhood, it is being planned to involve residents as energy producers and consumers in the construction and operation of an energy-efficient neighbourhood.

Urban districts 2050

In contrast to the other research projects, the “Urban district 2050” project aims to supply two districts in a climate-neutral way. On the one hand, there is a former hospital area in Stuttgart, an urban district and on the other a peripheral development in Überlingen, which is largely rural. Despite these differing situations, similar requirements apply to both districts, since both rural and urban areas occur. Results and experiences are to be made available to other municipalities via a city platform.

Climate-neutral urban district of Weststadt

A new urban district is being built in the new “Weststadt” in Esslingen. A key component of the concept is the utilisation of renewable electricity surpluses. A central supply structure is to be set up in the centre of the district. The heart of this central unit is an electrolyser that converts this electricity into hydrogen and then stores it. Most of the hydrogen produced is fed into the existing natural gas network, but it can also be used for mobility and by industry if required. If electricity is needed once again, hydrogen can be reconverted back into electricity in fuel cells or cogeneration plants.

The real-world laboratory in the urban district—the subject of lively discussions

The term “real-world laboratory” provided the fuel for many discussions. It was to emphasise that concepts and efficiency measures are being tested under real-world conditions in the district—of course in line with locally defined and accepted conditions. The participants of the panel discussion agreed on one thing: it is necessary to bring about the legal framework conditions for this type of experimental research or to adapt the existing conditions accordingly and to anchor them in the Renewable Energy Sources Act, the building code as well as in local urban land use planning. It would be helpful to explain the term “real-world laboratory” to the public in order to avoid future acceptance problems on site.

The Solar Construction / Energy-Efficient City support initiative

The projects are being funded as part of the Solar Construction/Energy-Efficient City support initiative set up by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Module 2, “Energy-Efficient City”, focuses on districts that utilise innovative ideas to combine energy efficiency and renewables.

A detailed description of this research news item can be found on the portal for the ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN research initiative.

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Districts treading new paths, tested in the real-world laboratory
Detailed version of this news article on the website ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN

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