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Fraunhofer IESE develops intelligent energy management

From Solar Cells to the Internet of Energy

Over the next few years, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE will establish a future-oriented energy management concept with strategic investments of more than one million euros at its site in Kaiserslautern. Work will focus especially on high-performance, safe software systems for use in plants for decentralized power generation or for renewable energies.

A research and demonstration facility, consisting of solar plant, combined heat and power plant, electrical vehicles, and computer-supported control centers for integrated energy management, shall be created at the Fraunhofer Center in Kaiserslautern for this purpose. Major funding for this project will come from the Federal Government's economic stimulus package as well as from subsidies of the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Environmental Affairs.

"In the research facility at the Fraunhofer Center, we will combine a future-oriented power-controlled cogeneration plant with modern photovoltaics. Even the waste heat from our computer centers will flow into the system as a "source of energy"", says Prof. Frank Bomarius from Fraunhofer IESE. The core of the plant - and a major subject of research - will be a computer-controlled energy management system with intelligent software controls.

As to size, the entire setup will be comparable to a small industrial business, with the test user being the institute itself. "In this way, we can show small businesses what their energy management could look like in the future, respectively which products and services will be in demand in this area in the future."

In addition, the integration of a fleet of electrical vehicles into the energy concept shall be evaluated. Software platforms that are suitable for energy management systems, interfaces with devices and facilities, as well as approaches for automating energy management and for user interaction will be the first research topics in the context of this project.

For project manager Bomarius at least, only such system concepts will be eligible that fulfill the highest requirements: "Future energy management systems will be much more complex than current ones. On the basis of our industry-proven know-how, we will develop concepts and methods that ensure that these facilities will function perfectly, will have the maximum degree of safety, and will be self-organizing to a certain extent without any user input." The scientists at Fraunhofer IESE also want to use the research facility at the Fraunhofer Center to optimize non-functional characteristics such as the usability of energy management systems.

Decentralized energy generation from regenerative energies offers to provide an escape from the dilemma between decreasing resources and increasing consumption. At the same time, it also leads to huge control engineering problems, which are reflected in increased energy costs. In order to find a sensible balance between energy demands and the respective energy offers, a network must be created between all generators and consumers using Internet technology. By exchanging information, they can all collaborate in an economically and ecologically optimized manner. The so-called "Internet of Energy" thus created will become one of the life veins of our modern society, together with other central communication networks. The research performed at Fraunhofer IESE will contribute to developing the software that will form the basis of this network.

Alexander Rabe
Phone +49 (631) 6800 1002
Fraunhofer-Institut für Experimentelles Software Engineering IESE
Fraunhofer-Platz 1
67663 Kaiserslautern
Fraunhofer-Institute for Experimental Software Engineering
Fraunhofer IESE is one of the worldwide leading research institutes in the area of software and systems development. A major portion of the products offered by our collaboration partners is defined by software. These products range from automotive and transportation systems to telecommunication and telematics equipment, from information systems and medical devices to software systems for the public sector. Our solutions allow flexible scaling. This makes us a competent technology partner for organizations of any size - from small companies to major corporations.

Under the leadership of Prof. Dieter Rombach and Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer, the past decade has seen us making major contributions to strengthening the emerging IT location Kaiserslautern.

In the Fraunhofer Information and Communication Technology Group, we are cooperating with other Fraunhofer institutes on developing trend-setting key technologies for the future.

Fraunhofer IESE is one of 57 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Together we have a major impact on shaping applied research in Europe and contribute to Germany's competitiveness in international markets. As part of the Fraunhofer Center Kaiserslautern, the institute is officially a "Selected Landmark 2009" in the contest "365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas".

Patrick Leibbrand | idw
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