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In Short

In the “SynErgie” research project, Fraunhofer IPA is working closely with industry to develop technologies, concepts and measures to adapt production processes to a volatile energy supply. A second focus is on the development of an integrated IT platform that enables companies to map, automate and market energy flexibility from the production machine to the energy market.

In Detail

To supply industry significantly with electricity from renewable energies and thus successfully shape the energy transition - that is the goal of the “SynErgie” research project launched in September 2016. In the BMBF-funded project, which involves around 100 partners from research, industry and society, the experts are analyzing how companies can design their processes and operational organization in such a way that energy consumption adapts flexibly to the volatile energy supply. The project is now in its second funding phase (2019-2022), which will practically implement and validate the solutions developed in the first funding phase (2016-2019).

Production processes and cross-sectional technologies

In terms of industry, this means industry-specific adaptation of production processes and cross-sectional technologies in order to be able to operate them in an energy-flexible manner. Fraunhofer IPA has identified more than 40 conceivable energy flexibilization measures for the automotive industry at an automobile manufacturer and several supplier companies. One example is the bivalent heating of a magnesium die casting machine. Fraunhofer IPA is currently developing the design and control of an energy-flexible factory structure in collaboration with the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP) at the University of Stuttgart. In addition to load and flexibility management, sector-specific energy storage systems will be integrated along with the use of hybrid and bivalent operating strategies. In parallel, the promising flexibility measure - the change of energy source - will be realized in a hybrid research furnace in cooperation with Hindenlang GmbH. Fraunhofer IPA and the EEP support the development process with simulative evaluations of newly deployed technologies that are required for hybrid operation.


Platform-based automation

Fraunhofer IPA's second technological focus is on the platform-based automation of energy flexibility marketing using the energy synchronization platform. This enables standardized and automated marketing of the described energy flexibility measures from the production machine to the energy market. In addition to designing the corresponding IT platforms (corporate and market platform), it is necessary to map energy flexibility in a data model and to derive suitable optimization strategies for companies and map them in the form of IT services. Currently, a reference architecture is being defined for the energy synchronization platform and the energy flexibility data model is being further developed and supplemented by additional services and a community. A first prototype of the cloud-based corporate platform was realized and successfully validated together with our project partner TRIMET Aluminium SE. Currently, more partners such as Torun Bark and Alois Müller are being introduced to the platform. At Torun Bark, the platform is being used to test the intelligent operation management of several melting furnaces.


Energy-flexible factory

Another example of flexibility measures in an energy-flexible factory, which can be automated via the energy synchronization platform, are automated guided vehicles. When the energy supply is high and electricity costs are low, and at the same time production is not running at full capacity, several automated guided vehicles head for the charging station even though their batteries are only half discharged. Swarm intelligence now makes it possible. If electricity is scarce and expensive, the mobile robots discharge their batteries and provide power. The ventilation of the factory hall can also be adapted to the intelligent power supply. The temperature is then temporarily slightly above or below the average value, but always within the specified temperature band. At the same time, the bivalent thermal burners, which provide process heat for industrial processes, switch automatically to gas or hydrogen operation and are replaced again by electric heating coils when electricity is cheaper.

Overview of the project

Funding phase II


01.11.2019 – 31.10.2022


approx. 90 partners from science, industry and civil society organisations

Supervised by

Project Management Organisation Jülich

Funding amount

approx. €30m

Funding phase I

Duration 01.09.2016 – 31.10.2019
Partner approx. 100 partners from science, industry and civil society organisations
Supervised by Project Management Organisation Jülich
Funding amount approx. €30m in the first three years

Insights into the project

Automated and standardized marketing of flexibility via the energy synchronization platform
Velocity and temperature distribution with surface burner in stationary operation
Construction of a hybrid compressed air demonstrator on a laboratory scale

“Our goal is for companies to use energy right when it is available. We want to give them strategies and tools to do that.“

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Sauer


This might also interest you

Project website

(incl. list of project partners, in German)


News from the SynErgie project on Twitter (in German)

Video about the project SynErgie (in German)

Game for the project SynErgie (in German)

Specialist book on energy flexibility in the German industry (in German)