Recap of the NEFI Technology Talk 'Economically viable flexibilities in industry - Low Hanging Fruits?'

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by Oxana Schmidt

On April 17th, 2024, 23 visitors gathered at the Chair of Energy Composite Technology at the Montanuniversität Leoben to discuss the flexibilisation of industrial energy consumption in the future renewable energy system.

Data-based process understanding as a basis

In his keynote, the host Prof. Dr. Thomas Kienberger (Head of the Innovation Lab NEFI_Lab & Chair of Energy Network Technology at Montanuniversität Leoben) provided an overview of the key elements on the way to a climate-neutral industry, which are covered within the framework of the NEFI program. As a key to controllability, he presented project results from the NEFI project "DSM_OPT" on the topic of "Forecasting methods for industrial energy consumption". With the help of a data-centric understanding of industrial energy consumption, it can also be adapted to the future, renewable and volatile grids.


Energy cost optimisation in the target system of production planning and control

Markus Gölles, Area Manager at BEST Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH, addressed the increasing economic relevance of energy cost optimisation in production planning and control in his keynote speech "How flexible is industrial production in general?" The project "FLEXcheck" was presented, in which a time-efficient guideline for the evaluation of industrial flexibility potentials is being developed.


The Value of Flexibility in Different Energy Markets

Regina Hemm, Industry4Redispatch expert and Research Engineer at AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, addressed the various ways in which energy flexibility can be used in her keynote speech "What is the value of energy flexibility?". In addition to the continuous balancing of the electricity supply, local balancing is becoming increasingly relevant in order to avoid regional grid overloads. Apart from the grid expansion, location-dependent control of demand and feed-in, known as "redispatch", is therefore becoming increasingly important. This topic, which is also very topical for legislation, was investigated as part of the "Industry4Redispatch" project and its results were presented.


Implementation in the virtual power plant

Alexander Kofink, Managing Director of CyberGrid GmbH, gave the impuls for "Monetisation of flexibility in the energy markets". This ranged from the integration of energy technology flexibilities into a virtual power plant to monetisation on balancing energy markets. It became clear that balancing energy is only the beginning of the topic of energy flexibility, and that the spot markets and the topic of redispatch offer the next major opportunities for exploitation.


Discussion and outlook

As part of a World Café, the obstacles and opportunities of flexibilisation were discussed. The following points became clear:

  • Data-based understanding of industrial processes is a key element in understanding and using flexibility
  • There are many opportunities in the energy markets, which are constantly changing
  • The industry needs a low-threshold access in order to be able to demonstrate individually realisable flexibility potentials

To answer the open questions, Kerstin Pfleger-Schopf gave an outlook on NEFI's activities in the field of flexibilisation. In the new NEFI+ innovation lab of the RTI Initiative for the Transformation of Industry, the thematic area will be increasingly involved in the development of demonstration projects in order to support industry on the way to climate neutrality.