The transformation of the German energy supply as part of the energy revolution embodies an enormous challenge for the following decades. Further expansion of renewable, fluctuating power plants leads to temporary and local mismatches between generation and demand of electricity. Thus, flexibility measures are necessary. The purpose is to bring the supply into accordance with the demand as efficently and as cost-effectively as possible, but still be able to ensure the security of electricity supply. Due to delays in the expansion of the power grid regarding the local compensation, measures for the temporary compensation take on greater significance. Theses measures inlcude, in particular, demand-side management (DSM) as well as the conversion of renewable (surplus) electricity to heat (Power-to-Heat, PtH), to gases (Power-to-Gas, PtG), to chemical products (Power-to-Chemicals, PtC) and to fuels (Power-to-Fuels, PtF). The latter four belong to the same versatile technological family and are summarised under the term of Power-to-X. As a result, research increasingly focuses on the subject of coupling various sectors like electricity, gas, heat, industry or mobility.
In the "Virtual Institute - electricity to gas and heat", eight institutes from North Rhine-Westphalia are working together on behalf of the state government on further development of the technologies as well as the development of expansion and application strategies. Coordination is carried out by the Gas and Heat Institute Essen and the Energy Economics Institute at the University of Cologne (ewi). Further partners are the Research Center Jülich with its task forces IEK-3 and IEK-STE, the Wuppertal Institute, the Center for Fuel Cell Technology, Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the professorial chair "Technical Chemistry" of the Ruhr-University of Bochum.
As part of the "System Analysis" group, the Wuppertal Institute examines the application of the technologies in interaction with other components of the energy system within the framework of modelling energy systems. In addition to the development and analysis of future scenarios, the Wuppertal Institute also deals with a multicriteria location assessment for future PtG capacities as well as with technologies, potentials and perspectives of PtH in industry.