Intelligent energy management at the level of districts and neighborhoods is one of the keys to security of supply in a CO2-neutral, networked energy system. Local generators and flexible consumers are harmonized in low-voltage grids at the local level, helping to reduce complexity at higher voltage levels. 

Especially at district level, sector coupling plays an important role. For this reason, experts at Fraunhofer Energy Research are researching cross-sectoral and CO2-neutral concepts that optimally coordinate and bring together the multitude of market participants. In the area of districts, the inclusion of electromobility (e-mobility) is relevant. In addition, we work with our customers to develop market platforms for decentralized energy business models. Due to our comprehensive competencies in this area, we view challenges from a holistic perspective and are already working with our stakeholders on comprehensive solutions in real lighthouse districts.

Competencies of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance in the Field Energy Urban

Energy Supply in Districts - Cross-sectoral and CO2-neutral Concepts

Due to the complex interplay of new generators, storages and consumers as well as external framework conditions, the timely availability of all necessary information is a major challenge for the development of optimal district solutions. The institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research support customers by providing valid data of all relevant sectors, which are the basis for efficient CO2-neutral concepts. In this context, we offer various methods for (synthetic) mapping of the local generation and consumption structure. Our services include profiling for different user groups and stochastic modeling of individual device usage and electromobility. Here, too, a holistic view of the system is possible. On the basis of reliable data, our experts devote themselves, for example, to energy-efficient settlement planning, which is based on the optimal interaction of heat loss reduction and heat generation. In addition to the inclusion of the heating sector, the focus is on the integration of renewable energy systems and storage solutions.




Together with partners, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is working on developing integral solution approaches in neighborhood concepts in light of the energy transition, energy supply and building efficiency measures (more information in German).


Net-zero energy building

In 2018, Freiburg's »Rathaus im Stühlinger«, the world's first public building (net floor space 22,650m2) with a zero-energy concept, was completed. This means that the building supplies more energy than it consumes per year.



A joint study by Fraunhofer ISE and the Öko-Institut, examines and analyses existing districts in detail. Various parameter studies and sensitivities are being analyzed with an optimization tool for districts developed at Fraunhofer ISE.


Smart Quarter Durlach

The aim of the cooperative project is the design, implementation and evaluation of an innovative energy supply system to efficiently supply five, existing multi-family homes located in the City of Karlsruhe.


Future-iQ - Accekerating the energy transition

The »Future-iQ« project is developing integral district solutions for the socially responsible decarbonization of existing residential neighborhoods.



Das Projekt  »QUENTIN« project aims to save both resources and CO2 by intelligently coupling electricity and heat production. Therefore, the four local heating islands are gradually taking shape (more information in German).

Energy Supply in Districts - Cross-sectoral Operation

Beyond data collection and concept development, the institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research also offer consulting and solutions in the area of cross-sectoral operations management. The focus here is usually on intelligent energy management, which reconciles decentralized generators, flexible consumers and the fundamental multitude of market players as efficiently as possible. An important aspect in this context is the development of smart meters and their integration into the system. In this way, energy efficiency potential can be tapped on a large scale in the area of private households. Another tool is individual energy agents, which are tailored to the requirements of corresponding plants and convert user-specific targets into control commands. Agents act autonomously without a central control authority to optimize the operation of the individual plant and, in communication with other agents, the larger plant network. In order to harmonize all these exemplary solution approaches, the institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research are participating in model districts at many locations in Germany. There, the interaction of the individual components is analyzed and optimized together with our stakeholders under real conditions.



smood – smart neighborhood

In a consortium with 20 other stakeholders, Fraunhofer IKTA and IOSB are conducting research to create livable, efficient, environmentally friendly residential neighborhoods.



»MEO –Modell Experiments in operative energy system analysis« compares different model developments from energy system analysis. Fraunhofer IEE contributes to the project with the OpSim test and simulation environment (more information in German).



Can tomorrow’s energy supply be freed of CO2? Fraunhofer researchers want to answer that question with a consortium of partners in »ZO.RRO«  They are developing a complex IT ecosystem to facilitate the systemic exit from fossil fuels.



In the project »SimBench« a combined power-gas simulation was created. This tool enables investigations on how surplus renewable electric energy can be transferred to gas networks using power2gas units.


EnEff:Stadt: PED-urban

Within the framework of the project, two urban neighborhoods (in Freiburg and Berlin) are being scientifically supported and accompanied in their energy development into climate-neutral neighborhoods in the sense of a »Positive Energy Districts« (PEDs).


Optimized operation of thermal systems

The project aims to increase the system efficiency of thermal supply structures. Innovative operating strategies for thermal storage systems are developed and implemented (more information in German).


As one of the central pillars of sector coupling, the "transport sector" plays a central role in the energy system of the future: Model calculations already show 9 million electric vehicles in passenger transport by 2030. Such an increase in battery electric vehicles puts a strain on the power grid, especially at the low-voltage level. High charging powers can already lead to an overload of the cables or the transformer if only a few cars are charging at the same time. Intelligent control of the charging processes, on the other hand, can not only avoid overloading the power grid, but also make targeted use of renewable energies. In order to make the best possible use of the potential in this area, the institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research are not only working on technological issues such as optimized storage solutions for electromobility, battery remote diagnostics or charging technology, but also on the system integration of vehicles in terms of an intelligent charging infrastructure using smart meter gateways.




The controlable reversible DC substation GUW+ connects the existing infrastructure for the energy supply of light rails and trams with charging stations for electric buses .In addition, a battery storage unit is installed in GUW+.



In the joint project »ALEC - Alteration, Light, Electic, Construction« Fraunhofer IOSB-AST is conducting research to electrify work equipment and reduce emissions (more information in German).



In the joint project »sMobility«, Fraunhofer IOSB-AST is working on using electric vehicles in outpatient care under considerations of digitalization, deployment management, and load and charge management (more information in German).



The aim of the »EMILAS« project is to make used vehicle batteries usable as stationary buffer storages for charging stations in apartment blocks (from a technical and economic point of view).


Ladeinfrastruktur 2.0

»Ladeinfrastruktur 2.0 – Charging Infrastructure« examines various aspects of the impact of electromobility on the energy networks of the future, while making sure to find coordinated and economically efficient solutions (more information in German).



»LamA - Laden am Arbeitsplatz« (Charging at Work) is a joint project led by Fraunhofer IAO to build up charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at 37 locations across Germany.

Digital Market Platforms for Decentralized Energy Industry Business Models

In the energy-efficient district of the future, the focus is on individual solutions that intelligently harmonize the multitude of decentralized generators and prosumers. To achieve the goal of rolling out energy-efficient smart districts on a broad scale, experts at Fraunhofer are working on self-learning energy management systems and cybersecurity solutions, and are researching new open district hub ecosystems using and adapting open middleware and automatic learning methods. On this basis, we are developing digital market platforms for decentralized energy business models for model regions throughout Germany and testing them in real operations.




Specifically, the project involves the development of a self-learning energy management system that provides the right energy at the right time in the right place – at e-charging stations, as electricity in one's own household, or in the form of heat.



In the joint project »EnStadt:Pfaff«, Fraunhofer ISE is investigating and demonstrating purely DC-DC connected fast charging infrastructure. The goal is to increase the efficiency of this type of sector coupling significantly.



Together with partners, a Fraunhofer consortium is researching the development and testing of a variety of AI-based applications in the real-life labotory in the Brühl district of Erfurt. The applications are developed on a cloud platform.