How will a secure CO2-neutral energy supply be achieved in the future?

The Smart Grid LAB Hessen project is investigating this question. As a project partner, our experts present the first findings.

The energy transition calls for innovative solutions. Three important building blocks for its success are decentralization, digitization and decarbonization. However, the volatility of renewable energies and fluctuating consumption levels caused by consumers such as electric vehicles (EV) are pushing current power grids to their technical and thermal limits. Existing systems are therefore being upgraded. For a permanent solution, however, a reliable, sustainable and smart network is needed. 

In the Smart Grid LAB Hessen projectfunded by the European Union and the German state of Hesse, our experts are working with the consortium partners to develop a hardware-in-the-loop simulation. This is when complex systems are tested in real time and under real conditions in different network situations. The aim is to find ways and derive control strategies to improve the stability of smart networks. 

Ongoing investigations 

While the physical laboratory is currently still being built in Rödermark, Germany, on the premises of project partner Engineering Office Pfeffer (Ingenieurbüro Pfeffer), our experts have already started their work. The focus is to develop and simulate future scenarios, such as how renewable energy sources and energy storage systems can be integrated in emerging countries. 

The smart grid design models real future networks with electrical equipment as well as information and communication components. External project-related data is collected and anonymized in order to create various operating scenarios. 

First work packages completed 

Initial results and findings of the project are now available in the first of a series of white papers. The report Smart Grid Components: Functionalities and Benefits deals with smart grid devices and technologies, as well as their effects on the grid: which components and technologies are transforming the grid in the direction of digitization, and how can these be used for a successful energy transition. 

An ongoing study is assessing the current status of smart networks and their degree of maturity in emerging countries. To this end, the team developed case studies and investment plans for reference countries. 

In addition, the project group organized a series of workshops with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), financial institutions (development banks) and distribution system operators (DSOs) to better understand the needs and perspectives of the various stakeholders. This helps in further defining and developing realistic scenarios and can encourage willingness of those involved to invest in certain technologies. 

The laboratory building in Rödermark is expected to be completed by mid-2022. Then the second phase of the project starts, in which the developed test scenarios will be implemented and tested in the laboratory. In addition, the control algorithms will be optimized to derive the principles of future network construction and operating strategies. 

The results of the various studies are expected to be published in an integral report in the spring of 2023.  

“The energy transition requires smart and, above all, secure energy systems. That is our focus in the Smart Grid LAB Hessen project,” says Hassan Abouelgheit, Smart Grid LAB Hessen Technical Team Lead at Tractebel. 


-> Discover the initial study results and find out more about smart grids in the first of a series of reports: Smart Grid Components: Functionalities and Benefits.