Technologies for the future energy grid 

Together with universities and energy suppliers, Helmholtz researchers in the energy alliance “Technologies for the future energy grid” are developing solutions for a flexible and stable power grid that can withstand fluctuating input of electricity from renewable energies. This also involves the use of existing gas networks as energy storage facilities and the interlinking of electricity and gas networks. 

The alliance covers four central topics: “System management in the distribution network” concerns the intelligent guidance of the distribution network in the face of increasing feed from decentralised and fluctuating sources.

In the topic “System management and stability of a hybrid transport network” the focus is how a maximum voltage direct current network (HVDC) superimposed over the pre-existing alternating current maximum voltage network must be properly built, and how it must be operated. Maximum voltage direct current networks do not exist to date, therefore new technologies for its design and system management will be required. Further aspects in this field are the development of operational means on the basis of new technologies, for example super-conductors, as well as development of innovative technologies for the protection of network stability. This is because the increasing discontinuation of classic power stations diminishes the rotating mass of turbines and synchronous generators that today represent the so-called current reserve to compensate the difference between produced and consumed service.

With “Integration of storage in the future energy network” there is special emphasis on the coupling of the electricity and gas networks, whereby the gas network serves as a storage system for surplus-provided electric energy, e.g. wind-energy turbines. 

And finally, the alliance is involved with “Comparative technological assessment” according to various criteria, such as profitability and contribution to the energy transition. 

  • Duration: January 2013 to December 2014
  • Funding amount: ca. 3.2M euros
  • Leadership: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Leibfried, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Mathias Noe
  • Participating Helmholtz centres: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • Universities: Technische Universität Darmstadt, Technische Universität Dortmund, Aachen University (RWTH)
  • Associated partners: EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, MAINOVA AG, Stadtwerke Karlsruhe Netze GmbH
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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Leibfried

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Tel. +49 721 608-42520



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Mathias Noe

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Tel, +49 7247 82-3501