Austrian DC Pilot Factory

Foto © FILL GmbH

The Austrian DC PilotFactory aims to develop and demonstrate a safe, flexible, and scalable direct current (DC) network with solar power integration and a bidirectional charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in an industrial environment. In line with decarbonizing production, this development will be transferable to any electricity-based industry.

Within the project, two demonstration facilities will be carried out:

The plant construction company Fill plans to build a new parking garage at the Gurten site, with an expansion of the environmentally friendly photovoltaic (PV) system (currently installed capacity of 1.9 MWpeak). One consideration is to future-proof the parking garage for charging a larger fleet of electric vehicles. To increase on-site self-consumption, there is a need to reduce the generation gap that occurs in the morning for production load, caused by the highly fluctuating yield of the PV system. In this case, an electric vehicle fleet at the site will buffer production for the first few hours through bidirectional charging, saving CO₂ emissions and costs. Then, around noon, during surplus solar power, the electric vehicles will be recharged. The conventional grid connection, designed for peak loads, will continue to be used to completely balance the remaining difference between generation and load, ensuring overall power supply reliability at the site. Furthermore, Fill will benefit from additional flexibility by integrating electric vehicles into the production process, opening up new business models and additional services such as optimizing electricity tariffs for grid feed-in, consumption, and employee vehicle charging.

The second demonstration will take place at the TU Wien Pilotfabrik Industrie 4.0 in Vienna-Seestadt, applying the above-described direct current (DC) network concept in conjunction with a pallet manipulation process using an industrial robot. This aims to improve the visibility of the research and demonstration platform, involving complex motion sequences and other load profiles.

Compared to the state of the art (alternating current supply), the following developments and demonstrations will be achieved using the direct current (DC) solution:

  • Direct energy recovery in frequency-controlled drives, eliminating conversion stages and the need for the third conductor for power transmission in the (high-power) DC network;
  • Higher energy efficiency;
  • In new installations, conductor material and field devices can be saved, reducing wiring effort and enabling more sustainability
  • In existing installations, conductors can be loaded more heavily, making expansion easier;
  • Integration of suitable storage systems reduces peak loads and increases outage security.

As a result, the potentially more cost-effective DC solution can be tested comprehensively, both in the typical main application case of mechanical post-processing (machine tools) after a casting process and through the integration of the electric vehicle fleet in combination with renewable energy sources (photovoltaic system).

The research project, incorporating an energy management IT platform, will proactively maximize self-consumption of a production facility with solar power integration while further minimizing energy and power demand at the alternating current grid connection point. Consequently, the sustainability impact of DC technologies will be further strengthened, ranging from savings in grid reinforcement measures to technological support for the formation of energy communities. After optimization at the component and system levels, this novel integrated approach will be demonstrated in industrial environments at FILL GmbH and TU Wien Pilotfabrik. Essential research questions will also be addressed, such as personal and plant safety in connection with DC technology. In parallel, usage and valorization strategies will be developed. The project will thus make a significant contribution to the standardisation and commercialization of this innovative technology.

„The direct current distribution networks demonstrated as part of the "Austrian DC Pilot Factory" project in an industrial setting will promote the standardisation and commercialisation of innovative DC solutions for decarbonisation and flexibility in the industry, infrastructure projects, and the energy utility sector in the medium and long term. These networks will contribute significantly to the energy transition. They are in addition to established applications such as traction systems or electrical systems in airplanes and ships.“

Gerhard Jambrich
Project manager Austrian DC Pilot Factory,
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology


  1. The complete set of selected DC network components/solutions and their associated component models is available;
  2. Control, automation, and ICT concepts as well as simulations for the DC network are available;
  3. Proof of DC network security and reliability concepts at the system level is provided;
  4. Experimental validation of DC network components and system setup completed;
  5. DC network demonstrated and optimised for use cases at Fill and TU Wien pilot factory.

The ADC Pilot Factory contributes to the NEFI innovation fields with its holistic system approach:

  • Industry to Grid,
  • Energy Efficiency and New Processes,
  • System Solutions and Infrastructure,
  • Renewable Energies, Storage, and DSM (Demand Side Management), and
  • New Business Models.

The project team will closely collaborate with the EU-DC Projekt HYPERRIDE, which is also coordinated by AIT/Gerhard Jambrich. We are pleased that the project is supported by the OVE DC Initiative. The Austrian Association for Electrical Engineering (OVE) aims to provide technological support to Austrian companies in the development and research of DC products and serves as an integration platform for all stakeholders.


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On January 24, 2024, the NEFI Technology Talk 'DC Industry' captivated a diverse and engaged audience in a dynamic online event. The Technology Talk introduced innovative DC solutions in the industry to over 80 participants from manufacturing companies, energy technology providers, and research, fostering a lively exchange of experiences about current and future solutions. The event provided an ideal platform for networking and expanding the NEFI community.

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NEFI Technology Talk: DC Industry

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Innovative direct current (DC) solutions can significantly contribute to the decarbonization and flexibilization of the industry. They simplify the system integration and coupling of renewable energies through the resource- and energy-efficient integration of electric machines, photovoltaic systems, battery storage, and electric mobility. The NEFI project Austrian DC Pilot Factory is dedicated to demonstrating a secure, flexible and scalable DC network in an industrial environment.

The NEFI Technology Talk introduces innovative DC solutions in the industry and serves as a platform for exchanging experiences with existing solutions and projects.

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Austrian DC Pilot Factory - Direct Current Networks for Industry: First Steps

20. July 2023

The Austrian DC Pilot Factory is a pioneering NEFI-project that aims to develop and demonstrate a secure, flexible and scalable direct current (DC) network for the industry. By integrating solar power generation and a bidirectional charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, the NEFI project sets new standards in sustainable energy supply and mobility.

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Project management
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Project manager
Gerhard Jambrich
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Key facts
Running time:
3/23 – 02/26
Project volume:
€ 1.700.000
Project overview