ERC wins the "Reallabore der Energiewende" ideas competition


Several RWTH institutes have submitted project outlines for the "Reallabore der Energiewende", i.e. "Living Labs for the Energy Transition" competition launched by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi). At a press conference on Thursday July 18 Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister of Economics, announced the 20 winners of the 90 consortia that had applied for funding. The Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate (EBC) at the E.ON Energy Research Center (E.ON ERC), headed by Prof. Dirk Müller, is represented in two different projects that can be assigned to the area of energy-optimized districts ("SmartQuart" and "TransUrbanNRW").

  Explanation of Reallabore Copyright: © Projektträger Jülich

In the new format Living Lab, sustainable energy technologies can be tested under real conditions and on an industrial scale. The 20 winners of the ideas competition can now submit their applications for funding in the coming weeks and months. BMWi is making more than 100 million euros available annually for this purpose.

SmartQuart - Smart energy quarters

To achieve the climate targets, a "real" energy transition has to be created around the electrical power transition, linking the energy, heat and mobility sectors more close than before. SmartQuart will show that this is already technically and economically possible within a district and in interaction with neighbouring districts. Essen and Bedburg in North Rhine-Westphalia and Kaisersesch in Rhineland-Palatinate together form this Living Lab.

The city districts are connected internally as well as externally to one another, so that the existing energy infrastructures can be used efficiently. Smart Grid solutions intelligently combine heat, cold, "green" electricity, hydrogen and mobility. The aim is to achieve a climate-neutral energy supply in the model regions. Residents, energy suppliers and local technology providers are involved in all three districts. SmartQuart represents typical city districts in a densely populated, rural and urban area, so that the concepts can be transferred to other districts.

The consortium for this Living Lab is headed by innogy SE. In addition to the Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate (EBC) of E.ON ERC, RWTH is also represented by the Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building (e3d) and the Teaching and Research Field for Real Estate Development (IPE). Other partners from industry and the start-up scene are Cisco Systems Holding GmbH, gridX GmbH, Hydrogenious Technologies GmbH, OFB Projektentwicklung GmbH, RWE Power AG, Bedburg City Council, Kaisersesch Municipality and Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG.


The TransUrbanNRW Living Lab transforms the heat supply at five locations in North Rhine-Westphalia. Up to now, the districts characterised by lignite mining have been supplied via district heating networks. In the Living Lab, the consortium focuses on 5th-generation heating networks that integrate renewable energies and waste heat at all temperature levels.

5th-generation heating networks act as an energy platform for "prosumers" - i.e. consumers who both use energy and provide it themselves, for example via their PV system on their own roof. The necessary generation mix for heating and cooling can be synthesized from fossil and CO2-free generation capacities in these heating networks. This enables a step-by-step conversion from today's fossil fuel generation to an electricity-based and increasingly renewable heating and cooling supply. With the phase-out of coal, the role of the traditional district heating supplier is thus changing into that of an energy platform provider for heating, cooling, electricity and mobility.

E.ON Energy Solutions GmbH will coordinate the project with Stadtwerke Herne AG, Uniper Wärme GmbH, Innovation City Management GmbH, heatbeat engineering GmbH and aedifion GmbH as further industry partners and start-up. Scientific partners are several institutes of the E.ON ERC of RWTH Aachen University as well as the Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Further information on the winners of the ideas competition can be found on the BMWi website.