Energy Digital

Digitization will play a major role in the future energy system and will profoundly change the energy sector. Large amounts of data are not only the core of digitization but also the basis for the future energy system and new business models. The Fraunhofer Energy Alliance is researching methods for collecting and transferring data in the energy system. In addition, we support our customers in the analysis and usage of energy data.

Business unit »Energy Digital«

Energy data system

Energy data are used for controlling and operating electricity grids as well as for processing business transactions. The above mentioned areas each have different requirements: low latency and highest reliability in technical operation – cost-effective usage of available IT infrastructure and data security for commercial transactions. Both are closely interlinked. Therefore, the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance is researching on IT infrastructure architectures meeting the high requirements that arise due to the decentralization of energy supply. Most important aspects are data security and data protection, resilience (durability) and low costs. For the components of different manufacturers to exchange data, interoperability and standardization are essential. The implementation will be guided by recent research findings on the Internet of Things (loT) that can be used flexibly in the energy data system.

Energy data collection

Energy data are the basis of digital methods and business models. But first they need to be collected. Energy self-sufficient sensor technologies measure physical parameters efficiently. Sensor networks with lowest energy consumption collect data and pass them to gateways. In this context, intelligent measurement systems like Smart Meter can make a crucial contribution, as they can record the consumption and generation of electricity, cold, heat, gas and water in a reliable, high-availability architecture.

State-of-the-art measurement devices like the Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) allow for precise condition monitoring of smart grids. These devices can synchronously measure the load in the grid und analyze errors.

The Fraunhofer Energy Alliance offers its customers reliable solutions for data collection to implement business transactions. They are the basis for the data pool, which allows for extensive utilization with regard to energy efficiency analysis, customer service and market integration.

Exchange of energy data

As the demands on electric grids are increasing, data exchange processes also become more complex. Modern, standardized interfaces allow for data streams to be implemented in a reliable way and ensure a permanent exchange of information. For future grid operations, standards like IEC 61850, IEC 61970, IEC 62351 and IEC 62325, that only describe a part of the interface requirements, are indispensable. Especially when using generally available communication lines, data security and availability are of utmost importance. Moreover, experts at Fraunhofer are working on new wireless procedures for narrowband communications to use the sensor data from the distributed energy grid in a cost-effective way.

The Fraunhofer Energy Alliance offers suitable solutions to ensure a safe and trouble-free data exchange between all participants.

Energy data analysis

An important benefit of the collected and transmitted data is the option to analyze them. In the easiest case, links generate alarms and alerts. Larger amounts of data provide a significant added-value in terms of preparation, aggregation and representation. While Data Analytics is the process of analyzing values of the past, forecasts will have a much larger influence in future. Systems of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance predict energy demands via model-based methods depending on season, weekday, time and other relevant parameters like meteorological constraints. The same is also true for Condition Monitoring. In this approach, operating data are collected in order to identify a significant change which is indicative of a developing fault.

Usage and application of energy data

The combination of ICT methods and procedures leads to improved and innovative applications. The Fraunhofer Energy Alliance also deals with the effects of flexible, fluctuating tariffs on electricity suppliers and their energy procurement strategies. Experts at Fraunhofer develop solutions for a comprehensive energy data management. Demand-side management systems play an important role in this context, as the energy consumption in these systems is controlled intelligently. Demand-response systems, in the form of Smart Energy Gateways, which allow for a decentralized optimization of use via predictive methods are also of great importance.

With regard to the growing grid requirements within the deregulated energy market, experts at Fraunhofer offer market players TÜV-proven (German organization for technical safety and certification) and comprehensive IT solutions for power usage and accounting grid management. At grid level, the institutes realize field trials on real grids for their national and international partners, which can be complemented by simulations. Energy management systems use the collected data to control different generators, storages and loads within the grid.

Virtual power plants are used for an integrated operational management of decentralized energy sources. These power plants aggregate many decentralized generators, storages and loads to one flexible power plant which sells the generated energy at the best price. During these processes, we closely collaborate with energy suppliers who pursue innovative business models.

Due to the high level of complexity, the rapid and precise condition assessment of networked infrastructures is more important than ever and will gain further importance in the future. New methods, which are based on linear algorithms, ensure faster and more precise results than conventional algorithms for a minimum investment.

The Fraunhofer Energy Alliance also offers trainings on the topic “Digitization of the energy world”.