FUBIC All Electricity - Realization: Demonstration project for the electricity-based heat sector transformation in technology districts

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In Berlin Steglitz, a former hospital is currently being transformed into a technology district called FUBIC (Business and Innovation Center next to Freie Universität Berlin) with approx. 1,000 jobs by 2024. This construction project is scientifically accompanied by the joint project FAE-R by designing and implementing an innovative electricity-only energy system with an intelligent energy management system. The aim of the project is to establish Germany's first demonstrator for an emission-free, electricity-only energy system in non-residential districts.


The aim of the project is to establish Germany's first demonstrator for an emission-free, electricity-only energy system in non-residential districts. The project aims at developping long-term economically viable business and operating models and thus creating a blueprint for implementing the electricity-based transition of the building heating sector. In addition to holistic planning and operation approaches, a cloud-based energy management system is to be developed that allows tenants to actively participate.

  Current situation district Copyright: © EBC

Holistic approach and sustainability are a top priority at FAE-R

The project continues the works from the BMWK funded project "FAE - FUBIC: All-Electricity for Technology Quarters" and implements the electricity-only concept developed there. In this context, the research project accompanies the ongoing building planning and construction process. A central project challenge is not only to develop technically feasible solutions on the way to a climate-neutral neighborhood, but also to design them in a way that is economically viable, socially acceptable and integrates the regulatory framework. This diversity of the challenge is also reflected in the project consortium. It consists of the WISTA Management GmbH (WISTA), which will operate the FUBIC, the building automation start-up aedifion GmbH, the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin), the Blockheizkraftwerksträger- und Betreibergesellschaft Berlin mbH (BTB), and the Institute of Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate at RWTH Aachen University. The project consortium supports the electrification of the heating sector at the neighborhood level through the following contributions:

  • Technical realization of Germany's first electricity-based, emission-free energy system for technology districts.
  • Development of an economic as well as socially acceptable framework and a long-term business model that enables an economically viable energy supply for the users and tenants even after the end of the funding phase.
  • Creation of a blueprint for the realization of electricity-only systems with assurance of transferability.

Development and implementation of a holistic planning and construction process for the energy system for the conversion of the building stock at district level.

  Vision of the district Copyright: © EBC

User participation and acceptance as a component of an innovative cloud energy management system.

Within FAE-R, an innovative energy management system is being developed that will operate the FUBIC from the cloud. This is a particular technical challenge, as the energy system of the FUBIC is a highly complex interconnected system (see Figure 4). The coupling of electricity-based systems (battery, photovoltaic system, electric vehicle charging stations) with the heating and cooling supply of the building (reversible heat pump, ice storage, thermal storage) results in nonlinear interactions that can be captured by optimization-based operating concepts. Another challenge is that heating and cooling demands may exist simultaneously due to laboratory operation. Here, too, the cloud-based energy management system optimizes the plant technology with the aim of minimizing operating costs and CO2 emissions without sacrificing user comfort. The use of purely electricity-based components results in a high peak load that can burden the grid. To prevent this, the operation of a battery is optimized by the cloud-based energy management system, too. This involves maximizing self-consumption from the photovoltaic system as well as peak load shaving, so that the higher-level grid is relieved. In this way, the FAE project contributes to a grid-serving heat sector transition.

  Energy System Copyright: © EBC

FUBIC as a blueprint for the electricity-based transition of the heating sector and the planning process at district level

The aim of the research project is not to not only gain knowledge that applies to the FUBIC alone. Instead, the aim is to create a blueprint for the electricity-based heat transition at district level. In order to realize this, the research project accompanies the ongoing planning and realization process and is actively involved in decision-making processes. The aim is to develop and implement a holistic planning approach that unites all disciplines. A transformation of the heating sector to an electricity-based system requires a rethinking of traditional planning structures, as this leads to new interfaces between different disciplines. One example of this is the planning of the power supply and the heating, ventilation and cooling system.

In addition to the ideal planning process for the electricity-based transition, the research project also aims at developing a blueprint for a regulatory framework that will enable the electricity-only system to operate economically, in Germany. Currently, regulatory requirements immensely influence the economic profitability of technically feasible concepts. Within the FAE-R project, regulatory levers are therefore to be identified, the relaxation or adjustment of which would support the economic viability of the envisaged concept. One example is the composition of the electricity price, which is majorily subject to taxes, or the integration of time-variant electricity tariffs and their potential.


Project information and partners

Start: 02/2021

End: 01/2025

Duration: 4 years

Project partners: WISTA Management GmbH | aedifion GmbH | FU Berlin | BTB GmbH

Sponsor: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK); Funding number: 03EN3026C

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