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Energy Systems Integration ESI

Energy Systems Integration ESI
Project team:

Poganietz, Witold-Roger (Project leader); Annika Weiss; Jens Schippl


Helmholtz Association

Start date:


End date:


Project partners:

Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik (IPP), Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)

Research area:

Energy - resources, technologies, systems and Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

General description of ESI

Energy systems integration addresses those aspects of the energy system that make all individual components form a whole, i.e. all physical and IT-based interconnections as well as their structures and behaviors. It is incorporated in the broader challenge to coherently manage the resources energy, materials, and the natural environment. In addition, the interfaces to the “environment” of the energy system such as circular economy are of high importance. The systemic and, hence, trans-technological approaches pursued consist of the analysis and optimization of selected added value chains and sustainability paths that also consider technologies studied by the Helmholtz Centres and their own real data sets. The objective is to design an environmentally sound, viable, flexible, stable and resource-efficient energy system by integrating and combining individual technologies and sectors. Interactions within the energy system are represented by models, simulated for a variety of scenarios, and verified by real data sets. Modelling from the component level to the process level to the energy system level will lead to in-depth knowledge and applicable tools. Management, control, and optimization of the entire system as well as of individual subsystems will decisively determine stability and availability (robustness and resilience), economic efficiency, and ecology. The above aspects will be the focus of three work packages (WP1 – WP3), which in turn are dealt with in the comprehensive contexts of multimodal energy system models and, at a higher level, consistent energy scenarios. WP1 “Multimodal Energy System 2050+” will cover the design and optimization of system concepts for coupled multimodal networks connecting physical (power AC/DC, gas, heat, and large material flows) and IT infrastructures in a reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy system. WP2 “Flexibility of basic industrial process chains for providing dynamic system services” will address the extent to which flexibility of resource-intensive industries can contribute to system stability as a service and which technological innovation is required. WP3 “Challenges associated with energy systems integration at the market, regulatory, and socio-economic levels” will study, in the context of conclusive long-term scenarios, the transformation of the energy system into a system whose supply is primarily based on regenerative sources and centralized/decentralized structures and whose demand is highly flexible. The key future research project “Energy Systems Integration” proposed in the present document is an important element of the strategic development of the Research Field “Energy” as it will open up new, innovative areas of research for systemic solutions and serve as a nucleus for the “Energy Systems Integration” program that is to be newly established in POF IV.

ITAS within the ESI project

An option to overcome the fluctuating supply of renewable energies is the usage of battery technologies. The problem used to be the comparatively high costs and low energy densities of such battery systems. However, both factors improved considerably over the last years and in the meantime batteries for private households are starting to become commercialized, usually in combination with solar panels. A widespread usage of battery-based PV systems in, e.g., private households could have strong impacts on the overall design of energy infrastructures. A further increase to enhance decentralization leading to autonomous or semi-autonomous local energy systems may be possible. The reasons could be manifold (economic or social one) as well as the techno-economic-legal market designs (energy cooperatives, local utilities, etc.). However, the impact on the future energy system depends crucially on the diffusion process of technology which is influenced by a dynamic socio-technical framework. The changing socio-technical context of the process will not only influence the diffusion of the technology, but the technology shall influence the socio-technical context. The impacts of the interrelationship on energy futures will be captured by context scenarios.

The focus of the ITAS research will be on the long-run relevance of batteries using PV systems on energy systems. The proposed research will combine two different approaches to learn more about the interrelationship between innovation processes and the dynamic societal framework. The first approach will investigate the driving forces and barriers of the diffusion of battery-based solar technology in residential areas; for comparative purpose some selected commercial and industrial buildings will also be studied. Following the approach of Rogers, motivation of early adopter households to invest in battery storages will be analyzed by applying methods of qualitative social science research like surveys and focus groups. By this approach, a better understanding of the character and motivation of early adopters (maybe also the early majority that is following on the early adopters) in this field is achieved. The second approach aims at developing CIB-based context scenarios. In a first step, a CIB is built up, using, amongst others, the findings of the diffusion analysis. However, contrasting the typical approach, the interrelationship between the aforementioned factors is time-dependent and will (partly) change along the different stages of the diffusion process. Based on the time-dependent CIB matrices, context scenarios shall be developed and analyzed. The main finding is one or more storylines which claim the different societal frameworks for a successful or unsuccessful innovation of the technology under investigation.


Dr. Witold-Roger Poganietz
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-28180