The energy turnaround aims at changing the primary energy sources used by society. The change is driven by the goal of minimizing carbon dioxide emissions.
Industrial companies depend on a reliable and cost-efficient supply of high-quality energy with guaranteed availability. This supply is threatened by increasing instabilities in the electrical grid as well as rising energy prices and grid fees. The price of fossil fuels has been artificially raised due to a new tax on carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fuels such as oil or gas.
Fraunhofer IPA views this change as an opportunity to strengthen your competitiveness. Our approach increases your room for maneuver, for example, as far as flexibility or changing energy sources are concerned, both today and in the future.
But instead of a fixed vendor-specific solution, our approach enables you to prepare your company today for developments in the future.
Power converters (e.g. inverters) use powerful semiconductors to achieve an efficiency of over 95 % in converting DC voltages - a modern alternative to the transformer. Highly automated productions rely on inverters to allow specific motion sequences. An increasing proportion of industrial drives for pumps, conveyor belts, saws and fans are operated with frequency inverters.
Power converters convert your energy in two conversion stages: first, the AC voltage from the grid is converted to DC voltage in order to generate an AC voltage signal with a variable frequency and amplitude.
Together with partners from industry, we are developing an industrial energy supply system that uses DC voltage to transmit power. It saves on conversion sites and enables energy stored in the processes to be recovered and reused.
“Tests on CNC machines show a potential energy saving of more than 6% per work cycle”.
Already today, we are integrating DC grids with pioneers dedicated to an efficient and climate-neutral energy supply. We show you what a direct current grid looks like, the advantages it offers your company and how we assist our partners in their projects.
The transmission of electrical energy can use a DC or AC voltage to generate a current. In 1880, the Pearl Street Station in New York was the first commercial electrical grid with direct voltage. The fact that AC voltage dominates today is due to the invention of the transformer by Galard and Gibbs in 1885 and the invention of the AC motor by the Westinghouse company. Transformers enable voltage to be efficiently converted and electricity to be transmitted over long distances. The AC motor paved the way for industrial applications. Today, power converters are the reason why we are reliant on transformers and directly operated AC drives.
A microgrid is a local network of electrical generators, storage systems and consumers, which can be operated independently of the external grid using its own control system.
Microgrids open up a range of optimization possibilities for your electrical supply. For example, you can guarantee supply reliability, consume your own power that you have generated using renewable sources, cap peak loads or operate consumers in an energy-flexible manner.
We have made it our business to help you convert to a reliable and sustainable electrical supply. With this in mind, we offer a range of planning services that go beyond the state of the art:
Development of a strategic transformation process towards sustainable supply
Optimization of the overall system with models
Electricity is a medium that transmits energy. It is generated in one place and simultaneously consumed in another. Only small quantities of electricity can be stored temporarily.
The interconnected grid links up the majority of electrical consumers and power plants in a common supply system. Thanks to its size, the fluctuating demand for electrical power is stochastically balanced out as the number of consumers in the total load increases. As expected, the installed power plant capacity increases as the size of the interconnected grid grows, but the reserve capacity of maximum loads and thus the supply costs decrease in proportion.
These days, with the energy turnaround, this model is being called into question:
You can turn this threat to your production into a competitive advantage.
Energy efficiency according to DIN ISO 50001 has so far been accomplished with individual measures: the use of frequency inverters for electric drives or LED lighting in production halls. The success of these measures can be easily quantified, but the potential to tap further isolated efficiency potential declines with increasing maturity.
Only by thinking “energy in the system” can further potential towards a sustainable energy supply be realized. For example, by installing regenerative power plants or energy storage systems that enable you to optimize your energy consumption in the production hall.
So that you can cope with the increasing complexity, we have developed an energy control system that automatically directs energy flows. What is more, we are researching how this can adapt autonomously to changing environmental conditions in the future.
Decide when production is running which energy source minimizes costs and use it immediately
Minimize your local carbon emissions and maximize your energy consumption from your own regenerative power plants
Operate loads flexibly to obtain electricity from the grid at low cost
Production machines display high load fluctuations at the point where they are connected to the grid. Thus, the amount of energy consumed during acceleration phases is often 5 to 10 times higher than during normal operation. Energy storage devices, such as double-layer capacitors or flywheel mass storage devices, make it possible to reduce these power peaks.
But do you want to adjust each of these systems individually and to the specific conditions of a machine? We are working on this problem. The field of computational intelligence includes, among others, artificial neural networks. We combine these methods to adapt industrial control systems to the specific application.
Just imagine - a new machine and no commissioning required. Taking the flywheel mass storage system as an example, let us show you how machines will be commissioned in the future.
At our location in Stuttgart, we operate a research laboratory where we work together with our industrial partners to transfer new ideas into practice.
We have selected some current examples to demonstrate how our results from the laboratory can benefit you. If you require more information, please visit us in person in Stuttgart or give us a call.
Setting up a direct current grid in reality
DC-ready: converting a production machine to direct current
Parallel operated power converters
Self-adjusting flywheel mass energy storage system