Technische Universität Berlin

1) Distributed Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (DAI lab)

The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (DAI lab) bridges the gap between research and industry. Headed by Prof. Dr. Sahin Albayrak, it employs over 100 scientists and students.

The DAI lab has been active in numerous projects on the digitisation of the energy system for many years. Examples are the grid integration of e-mobility, the analysis, forecast and optimal control of other consumers and producers in smart buildings, micro grids and the Smart Home.

Short description of the project contribution

Flexibilisation of smart districts for the renewable energy system

Together with its partners, the Borderstep Institute, Riedel Automatisierungstechnik and the Berliner Energieagentur, the DAI lab researches and tests to what extent smart digitised districts can be used as flexibility for the renewable energy system of the future. For this purpose, the grid-supporting operation of CHP installations (combined heat and power generation) with Power-to-Heat and storage options is studied.

Part of the sub-project is to analyse to what extent smart residential quarters can contribute to the integration of renewable energy into the energy system and to the support of the stability of the distribution grid. To that end, we are investigating how flexibility can be characterised and predicted and what the marketing of electrical flexibility could look like in future energy systems. This involves both technical, economic and legal points of view.

This is made possible by using smart building automation techniques and a modular cogeneration (CHP) unit, which have already been installed in the Berlin city district of Prenzlauer Berg and supply the tenants with heat and electricity. The Prenzlauer Berg district consists of six residential buildings with 224 homes. The owner is the Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft Zentrum e.V. The buildings form a closed quarter and since October 2015 have their own local heating grid. These are supplied with heat and power by a CHP unit and an additional peak load boiler. The entire installation is controlled by a hierarchically structured smart energy management system, consisting of home, building and quarter controllers. This system controls the energy generation based on the heat and electricity demands at the room (individual room temperature control) or home level. The technology enables both a modulation of the capacity of the CHP unit (heat-controlled or current-oriented operational management) as well as the registration and forecast of load profiles of the heat and electricity consumption at the home, building and quarter level.

The existing quarter will be expanded with additional flexibility and will go into test operation as of 2018. That way, the flexibility can be tested and compared to previously simulated data. Finally, the object should also be linked to emerging platforms and infrastructures for the activation of flexibility in order to be able to map and demonstrate the entire value chain.


8: City district concepts and Smart City

  • 8.2: Model region Berlin / Prenzlauer Berg district

2) Department of Energy Systems (EnSys)

The Department of Energy Systems (EnSys) headed by Prof. Dr. Georg Erdmann is an academic institution with a focus on the energy industry of high renown in Germany and abroad. Within the Institute of Energy Technology at the TU Berlin, the Department performs interdisciplinary tasks and deals with the complex interactions between technology, politics, society and the energy markets.

Short description of the project contribution

Performance assessment and marketing of the smart energy system

The main objective is to develop parameters and methods that make it possible to assess the performance of the smart energy system and the overall system efficiency. This involves a careful and fundamental consideration of the question of which classification and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be used to characterise the smart energy system. Based on these objective and quantitative metrics, alternative paths of action are compared using the developed metrics and benchmark studies are conducted. Additionally, monitoring of the WindNODE region itself becomes possible.

We furthermore strive towards the involvement of the interested public in energy subjects as well as approaches to emotionalise the energy supply. For example, fun experimental formats and a concept for a WindNODE Academy are developed. By the end of the project, there should be a textbook, training concepts, a role-playing game and art projects.


5: Market design and regulation

  • 5.1: Assessment of the overall system efficiency
  • 5.3: WindNODE - value proposition and business models

9: Participation and dissemination

  • 9.5: Understanding Electricity
  • 9.8: The user perspective: acceptance and participation

3) Department of Energy Supply Grids and Integration of Renewable Energy (SENSE)

Our research focuses on the model creation of future-oriented energy supply concepts that excel in sustainability, efficiency and resilience. We mainly develop modern solutions to integrate renewable energy and storage units into local as well as global grid and market structures. As a basis, we are therefore elaborating innovative methods to simulate and optimise the planning and operation of inclusive energy systems.

Short description of the project contribution

The real-time energy transition lab for interactive grid simulations

By 2050, the targeted share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in gross consumption should be increased to 80 per cent. This transformation goes hand in hand with the use of new technologies of which the effect on system behaviour and grid stability is not sufficiently clear. Resilient electricity supply is nevertheless indispensable, even if generation is for the most part renewable. To this end, the SENSE department develops a real-time laboratory to map out the future WindNODE grid.

In this laboratory, the effect of new technologies on the energy transition is outlined, evaluated and tested. To this end, models of the future grid of the WindNODE control area are created. An important focal point is the design of an interactive real-time simulation platform for this area. Test functions are developed to assess the influence of smart grid technologies such as virtual power plants or controllable loads.

The main objective is the tangible demonstration of the WindNODE grid and its corresponding operation. In this manner, the project provides a comprehensive overview of a secure and efficient electricity supply. Students and experts will learn about future grid operation management, taking into account the WindNODE concepts.


3: Efficient operating concepts for electrical grids

  • 3.1: Real-Time Lab for the Energy Transition

4) Department of Site Studies & Soil Protection

The Department of Site Studies /  Soil Protection of the Technische Universität Berlin answers questions on the water, heat, gas and mineral balance of sites and landscapes. In particular, we are working on the following research topics:

  • Determination of hydraulic and thermal properties of porous media
  • Calculation of the water balance of sites and landscapes
  • Working on urban issues such as sealing, cable routes, green facades
  • Development of hydrological calculation methods
  • Measurement and calculation of the heat conductivity, simulation of the heating of underground cables
  • Artistic conversion of research topics: ‘Art meets Science’

Short description of the project contribution

Optimisation of grid operation: CableEarth method for 110 kV cable routes

Climate, site, soil and laying conditions have a decisive influence on cable heating and the current-carrying capacity of underground cables. Through the further development of numerical simulation models, the cable performance and maximum current-carrying capacity of cables can be calculated. With the simulation models, it is possible to

  • optimise the required cable and laying technology, resulting in a lower investment cost for new routes
  • the impact of cable routes on the environment (through soil heating and compaction) can be better evaluated.

In order to develop and improve simulation modes, real cable routes have to be closely observed. To this end, cable temperature and heat emission monitoring is performed on a new 110 kV cable route with a renewable energy current load. This serves the calibration and validation of a new calculation method (CableEarth). The CableEarth method was developed at TU Berlin and by applying it within the sub-project should be evaluated and developed further in terms of its usefulness for the planning and optimisation of underground cables.

This can provide information that can be used to derive future strategies for the efficient operation of cable routes with high shares of renewable energy. This added value will be made accessible by promoting the sub-project. The CableEarth method and its application possibilities should be used as engineering services and as a tool for system operators to plan new routes and for an improved use of the capacity in existing grids.

Energy meets Art

With inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches, knowledge transfer to professionals and interested citizens becomes possible. Experience shows that it is difficult to convey technical findings and developments in a purely disciplinary fashion, especially when complex technical developments are concerned (e.g. smart energy network).

To this end, this sub-project is developing projects, objects, films, comics on the WindNODE themes together with students and artists. In this context, the following main objectives are achieved through artistic and cultural means:

  • Explaining the initiated technical project,
  • Demonstrating the connected social transformation and
  • Turning the local, national and global opportunities and possibilities of the ‘new, smart and networked energy path’ into an international export article (e.g. for international guests and consortia).

The objectives are developed and implemented together with Berlin Partner GmbH.


3: Efficient operating concepts for electrical grids

  • 3.3c: CableEarth for 110 kV cable routes

9: Participation and dissemination

  • 9.2: WindNODE Live! - a walk-through index

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