Our energy-supply system is increasingly shaped by renewable energy sources. This produces challenges for the existing grid infrastructure and energy-supplies as a whole. Smart grids are needed to counter these challenges and to integrate the renewable energy sources into our power system as flexibly and as efficiently as possible. Aachen’s “Flexible Electrical Grids” (FEG) research campus is therefore developing technologies for future electrical grids fed by a high percentage of regenerative and decentralised energy sources.
One central research focus here is the further development and integration of direct-current (DC) technology at all voltage levels. This technology simplifies a whole series of tasks which could be implemented with the alternating current used up to now only at additional cost and with additional control input. DC power grids are also more suitable than AC grids for achievement of flexible, bi-directional flow of energy between generators and consumers. They are easier to control, and react much less critically when energy is fed in at many locations simultaneously.
The FEG research campus is a consortium of RWTH Aachen University research institutes and industrial participants from a range of technical fields and focal topics. The model for the research campus is based on the eponymous “Research Campus - Public-Private Partnership for Innovation” promotion initiative of the federal ministry of education and research (BMBF), which is thus supporting long-term cooperation between science and industry.
Together, the cooperating parties from science and industry are conducting research within the FEG research campus under a single roof, the FEG Think Tank at the RWTH Aachen University’s Melaten campus. The FEG research campus’s open structure means that other companies can join the consortium at any time and participate in the research work, as well as benefiting from the jointly achieved results. Such a transdisciplinary interchange of diverse experience, disciplines and countries is necessary in order to successfully master the challenges of our future energy supplies, and in order that innovations are implemented beyond both geographical and disciplinary boundaries. In addition, the joint, application-orientated research of the scientific and industrial partners is being pursued under a single roof. Research results can thus be quickly translated by the industrial partners into innovative products and services.
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