Altmaier Issues First Funding Decision for Real Laboratory of the Energy Turnaround Copyright: © BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

On 16th December German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier handed over the funding decision for the first "real laboratory of the energy turnaround". The "SmartQuart" project will start in January 2020, with RWTH Aachen University represented by the Chair for Building and Indoor Climate Technology (EBC), the Chair for Energy-efficient Building (E3D) and the Chair and Research Institute for Real Estate Development (IPE).

The SmartQuart project is being carried out by a consortium that brings together all the central players in a neighbourhood, from the planning stage to the residents and the energy supplier. The central project goal is the development of a modular blueprint for a decentralized energy and heat turnaround at the neighborhood level. In order to achieve the climate targets, the transformation of electricity supply must be transformed into a "real" energy turnaround, linking the energy, heating and mobility sectors more closely than before.

SmartQuart is intended to show that this is already technically and economically possible today within a neighbourhood and in interaction with neighbouring neighbourhoods. Essen and Bedburg in North Rhine-Westphalia and Kaisersesch in Rhineland-Palatinate together form this real laboratory. The urban districts are each networked within themselves and also with each other so that the existing energy infrastructures can be used efficiently. Smart Grid solutions intelligently combine heat, cold, "green" electricity, hydrogen and mobility. The aim is to achieve a climate-neutral energy supply in the model regions. Residents, energy suppliers and local technology providers are involved in all three urban districts. SmartQuart represents typical urban quarters in a densely populated rural and urban area, so that the concepts can be transferred to other quarters.

In the sub-project "Holistic potential analysis and evaluation", the possibilities and limits of energy-optimised neighbourhood planning, implementation and use are being investigated. Based on a project-specific data management system for system modelling and analysis, use cases are derived. These provide the basis for the development of products and solutions that bring additional benefits to neighbourhood users and planners. The scientific validation serves to evaluate the transferability of the project results as a blueprint for other regions.

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