Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Aspern: The City Next Door

15.10.2015

Austria’s capital is spawning a new city in which buildings, the electrical grid and the electricity market will be networked to create and evaluate synergistic efficiencies. The vision behind the project: Creation of a world-class living laboratory in which energy-saving technologies and new distribution grid solutions can be tested and optimized according to the requirements of future electricity markets.

A former airfield on the northeastern outskirts of Vienna, Austria is providing a test bed for technologies that could make cities increasingly energy efficient. Today, approximately two years after construction began, the airfield has been transformed into a small city – perhaps the first ever to be built so that scientists and urban planners can learn how buildings, renewable energy sources, local electrical distribution networks, and the entire grid can optimize their interactions in order to maximize their efficiency and minimize their collective energy use.


Vienna's Aspern project has been designed to test technologies that could make future cities increasingly energy efficient.


Aspern's planned energy management system will integrate and coordinate information as well as energy.

Known as “Aspern – Vienna’s Urban Lakeside,” this new citadel of technology could be important for cities everywhere because, if the battle to contain climate change is to be won, it will be fought in cities, which is where 75 percent of the world’s energy is consumed and 85 percent of its greenhouse gases are produced.

At 240-hectares, Aspern is one of Europe’s biggest urban development projects. Already, it includes approximately 3,420 apartments, part of a school campus, dormitories, and a research center for the analysis of advanced manufacturing technologies (see insert).

By 2028 it is scheduled to have around 8,500 apartments, 20,000 jobs, and a commercial campus – all within a 25-minute subway ride from downtown Vienna and a 28-minute train trip to Bratislava’s central station in the Slovak Republic.

Measuring Urban Energy Efficiency

Aspern is not just another big real estate development project. What sets it apart from dozens of other major projects around the world is a € 40 million joint venture (JV) between the City of Vienna, the city’s utility companies (Wien Energie and Wiener Netze), and Siemens – the only industrial partner involved in the project.

Indeed, a coordinated research plan driven by Siemens Corporate Technology (CT), and the company’s Energy Management and Building Technologies divisions calls for the city to be a test bed for the integration of technologies that support energy efficiency and sustainable urban development.

Already Number 1 on the UN’s Livable Cities Index and heading the list of “The Top 10 Smart Cities on the Planet,” Vienna wants to learn how to further reduce its environmental footprint. But meeting that goal in a meaningful way calls for it to objectively determine its current level of energy efficiency, which is the first step on the road to measuring improvements over time.

And that’s exactly what Siemens is aiming for in Aspern. The company has assembled a three-part package, the essential components of which are technologies for power management in smart buildings, solutions for the low voltage grid – the electrical distribution system from transformers down to individual buildings and apartments – and solutions for managing “big data” that include the establishment of a City Data Center.

Unlike virtually any other large-scale urban development project, in Aspern all of the elements in these systems – regardless of manufacturer – must be able to communicate with one another in the interest of sharing data.

At 240-hectares, Aspern is one of Europe’s biggest urban development projects.


When Buildings Speak

But overcoming this challenge has a price – at least in terms of initial capital outlays. That’s why the Aspern JV is covering the difference in cost between conventional and smart components – as well as the installation of many renewable energy systems – and why such systems are being installed in only a representative selection of Aspern buildings. In order to maximize what it can learn about energy use optimization, the JV is therefore supporting installation of different “mixes” of technologies ranging from photovoltaic panels and heat pumps to a variety of energy storage solutions. Aside from optimizing energy use in buildings themselves, this research is being focused on the potential of buildings to flexibly generate energy for the grid. In order to accomplish this goal, two systems are required. The first is an onboard Building Energy Management System (BEMS) that calculates a building’s electricity use and level of energy flexibility at regular intervals. The second is an Energy Pool Manager that acts as an interface between individual buildings and an electricity exchange system.

With the express permission of more than 100 households, data for this research is now being generated. The data, which covers factors such as power consumption, air quality and room temperature, is collected and linked with data from the power grid, as well as real-time weather and public event-related information. In addition, Aspern’s new low voltage grid, which consists of twelve grid stations and 24 transformers, is equipped with a network of sensors for real-time measurements of its behavior. Eventually, all of the data generated by the above systems will flow into a City Data Center. All in all, by analyzing the most efficient mixes of technologies and their influence on end-user behavior, the Aspern JV expects this advanced combination of IT infrastructures to shed light on the correlations among underlying systems with a view to optimizing a wide range of services.


Making Sense of Hybrid Data

Understanding those correlations will, however, pose significant challenges in terms of interpretation. For instance, monitoring of the low voltage grid is basically a new area of research. Indeed, scientists are already beginning to evaluate the data generated by building systems in order to understand the relationships between variables and the factors affecting both the grid and the buildings. That, in turn, calls for the development of specialized algorithms capable of making sense of the new data. The resulting information will be particularly important because plans call for a high level of integration of renewable energy systems. Researchers will therefore be analyzing how different energy sources, working in different mixes, and under changing weather conditions will affect the grid and buildings – a line of research designed to lead to forecast optimization and steadily improving levels of energy efficiency.

Among the many unique features of Aspern’s “living lab” concept is that the cost efficiency of its electrical grid will not be based on a classic demand-response system. Instead, the idea is to maximize local generation, storage, and energy use. After that, the next level of research will focus on enhanced interaction of local generation and demand with the smart, low voltage grid, which will open the door to energy coordination between buildings and the grid.

Thus, in buildings equipped with energy-saving technologies from Aspern’s joint venture, a building management system will coordinate energy supply from photovoltaic or solar-thermal systems to the building’s heat pumps. Such systems will accomplish this by including data from energy forecasting, generation, and storage management – a huge data integration challenge.

In short, Aspern is on the road to becoming a very important proof point for smart grids – a living laboratory in which buildings, production plants and multi-modal energy systems are integrated, and a final proof of concept that the smart city really can work.


Arthur F. Pease

Redaktion
Sebastian Webel
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner
Dr. Johannes von Karczewski

Kontakt für Journalisten
Florian Martini
Tel.: +49 (89) 636-33446

Arthur F. Pease | Siemens Pictures of the Future
Further information:
http://www.siemens.com

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Construction Impact Guide
18.05.2018 | Hochschule RheinMain

nachricht New, forward-looking report outlines research path to sustainable cities
24.01.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>