“Living Lab” Micro Smart Grid

Research topics

What will intelligent, decentralized energy management look like in the future? Using its own micro smart grid and control systems developed in-house, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is exploring how to efficiently coordinate energy producers, storage systems, and consumers and demonstrates the innovative technologies required in practice.

An overview of Fraunhofer IAO’s research specialties and services relating to integrated mobility and energy concepts:

  • Energy concepts with respect to e-mobility and the linking of all energy flows (energy-management design of micro smart grids and charging infrastructures).
  • Evaluation and design tools (stand-alone applications) to assist in the scaling of energy supply facilities as well as semi-public and public charging infrastructures, including site selection.
  • Mobility concepts relating to the development of mobility strategies by both businesses and municipalities as well as to modular vehicle fleet analysis.
  • Hardware solutions based on technological research and innovative rapid prototyping technologies.

Facilities

Fraunhofer IAO’s micro smart grid serves as a “living lab” in the parking garage at the Fraunhofer Institute Center in Stuttgart. As well as demonstrating the latest technology in real-life conditions and under scientific supervision, it also serves as the basis for the institute’s own developments.

  • With over 30 charge spots for electric vehicles and Europe’s fastest high-capacity quick charging station, the facility is one of the largest charging infrastructure facilities ever installed in a parking garage. The entire vehicle power supply is produced by a photovoltaic system. A lithium-ion battery storage system achieves the best possible balance between differences in energy production and consumption.
  • Europe’s first liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) in regular operation bonds hydrogen within the molecules of a carrier oil, eliminating the need for expensive pressure storage solutions or refrigeration units for liquid hydrogen. With 2000 kWh of storage capacity, the LOHC system constitutes a high-energy and viable long-term storage option for the micro smart grid and is connected to the power supply via a fuel cell.
  • Using a control system developed in-house, the micro smart grid can be operated automatically for different optimization targets. Prediction algorithms for generation and consumption can also be used.
  • The EcoGuru fleet planning and charge management system, also developed in-house, manages the institute’s own fleet of over 25 electric vehicles on the site.

Fraunhofer IAO’s research also focuses on the development and application of scalable simulation models for planning and designing micro smart grids; especially for developing charging infrastructure facility concepts for electric vehicles.