Number of the month #NEFI_number: 3

NEFI number of the month: 3. In the framework of the NEFI_Lab a concept for a physical laboratory infrastructure was implemented which is designed to develop technologies and promote cross-sector cooperation and is at the disposal of the consortium members of the NEFI Innovation Network. The overall aim is to drive the NEFI innovation process by using the physical NEFI laboratory infrastructure to scientifically support sub-projects, enable knowledge transfer within the flagship region, and engage existing and new stakeholders. The comprehensive concept builds on THREE interconnected physical laboratory infrastructures that allow investigations of industrial energy systems at different levels. The laboratories are the N2P – NEFI_Lab:InToPublic, the SES – Stakeholder Enabling Space and the E.Factory.


N2P – NEFI_Lab:InToPublic

The physical infrastructure N2P – NEFI_Lab:InToPublic is currently implemented at University of Leoben, whereby the structure follows the approach of„Hardware in the Loop – HiL“. This approach allows novel energy supply and consumption technologies and flexible components (storage, DSM technologies, etc…) to be combined as an overall system depending on the task at hand. This allows to create as realistic a picture as possible of the entire hybrid energy system. Each of the subsystems is connected at its inputs and outputs via ICT (information and communication technology) to adapted counterparts. In this way, the HiL approach allows to integrate non-hardware elements via simulation models in near real time and to integrate external generators and external consumers (e.g. industry, electro-mobility, etc.) via the connection of HiL-capable measuring devices.

This means that both the overall system and its components can be optimised at technology, system integration and operation management levels in the field for flexible applications without being at the same location. In the field of industrial energy system technology, this approach represents an innovation for the research and development of energy systems and an optimal integration strategy in complex (hybrid) energy systems.

SES – Stakeholder Enabling Space

The Stakeholder Enabling Space at Business Upper Austria is intended to support the brainstorming and development of innovative and ongoing projects in the implementation of industrial decarbonisation. The laboratory aims to consolidate the strengths of the existing sustainable manufacturing industry in Austria and to promote innovative solutions to increase the long-term competitiveness of Austrian companies. To support the generation of ideas, the development of new projects and the further development of ongoing projects for the implementation of industrial decarbonisation, existing and newly created physical and virtual innovation spaces will be networked. This will result in a large shared innovation space for all NEFI innovation fields. This improved environment with online and physical workshops is intended to accelerate technological and systemic innovation development. For this purpose, the TechCenter located in Linz is implementing a room equipped with state-of-the-art media technology and workshop infrastructure that can be used by all sub-project partners and stakeholders for the NEFI_Lab innovation process. A NEFI_Lab toolbox is being developed to drive innovation on-site at the companies as well, which will provide significant support in the idea generation process. In addition, innovation experts from Business Upper Austria will guide the innovation processes with their methodological knowledge.


The Energy.Factory Lab of the OÖ Energiesparverband is addressing one of the major challenges of the industrial energy transition: the shortage of skilled workers in industry and research. The Energy.Factory Lab aims to arouse interest in the industrial energy transition in schools and universities and to train the next generation for this important field of activity. With age- and target group-specific information and communication activities, pupils and students are motivated to investigate the energy transition in industry and to consider it as a future career field. Overall, the E.Factory is based on a modular structure with interactive didactic concepts that are implemented step by step as an integrated part of the NEFI innovation process. A software will be implemented that simulates an “energy system factory” and thus visualises possible decarbonisation scenarios through the interactive adaptation of input parameters. In a further step, the software will be expanded to include “mini-hardware components” to allow that the simulated results can be displayed even more interactively. In total, the E.Factory should not only simulate individual industrial processes and their interactions, but also generate a system understanding of the respective target group.

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