Research Unit

Systems and Infrastructures

The Research Unit Systems and Infrastructures analyses the interaction of technologies, infrastructures and energy sources for the transformation to a sustainable energy system.

The focus of research is on transformation processes that will lead from today's established technologies and infrastructures to a sustainable energy system and industrial sector. This involves the identification, analysis and optimisation of suitable systems and technologies, taking into account path dependencies and interactions of technical as well as spatial and temporal nature.

Infrastructures, such as electricity grids, gas pipelines, product pipelines and heat grids, play a special role in security of supply and the conversion of the energy system and can be both a prerequisite and an obstacle to transformation of the energy system. Such infrastructures are large-scale and durable; once investments have been made, they should be used over several decades. It is therefore essential to identify robust paths so that the expansion of infrastructures purposefully contributes to the transformation of the energy system and no undesirable lock-in effects occur.
But it is not only technical issues that influence the implementation of the infrastructure expansion, but also acceptance issues, for example. The research methods therefore include not only specific, mainly techno-economic, modelling of energy infrastructures and energy systems, but also non-technical – such as multi-criteria – analyses.

Thematic focus

The Research Unit Systems and Infrastructures focuses in particular on

  • analysis of changes in energy and other low-carbon infrastructures caused by energy and industrial transformation
  • concepts and analyses for sector coupling, flexibilisation and electrification, especially in the long term (long-term flexibilisation challenges)
  • the co-evolution of infrastructures and (industrial) energy demand within the framework of a sustainable transformation towards a climate-neutral system
  • system analytical investigations of coupled energy and industrial systems, including the characteristics of large energy consumers
Objectives

The scientists in the Research Unit Systems and Infrastructures are working on concepts and implementation strategies for the transformation to climate-neutral and sustainable energy and industrial systems. They focus in particular on the optimisation of the low-carbon infrastructures required for this purpose and the interaction between energy supply systems and large energy consumers. In addition, they follow current debates on energy economics and energy technology, in which they participate with their own findings.

Projects

Here you can find projects of the Research Unit: