TransDE – Transformation of the German Infrastructure by 2050 in Harmony with the Energy Transformation of all Consumption Sectors

Duration: 9/2019 - 8/2022
Contracting Authority/ Sponsors: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)
Project Partners: Volkswagen AG, DBI Gas- und Umwelttechnik GmbH
Project Focus:  
Energiesystemmodell REMod: Schematische Abbildung
© Fraunhofer ISE
Schematic representation of the REMod energy system model.

Given the highly decentralized, fluctuating and geographically uneven nature of the energy transition, flexibility and regional aspects are gaining importance. Significant and rapid expansion of power grids to compensate for geographical imbalances between potential supplies of renewable energy and load sinks faces a variety of obstacles. Moreover, even if these obstacles are overcome, the systematic challenges of the energy transition will remain. New storage solutions and forms of sector coupling will be required, along with infrastructure to compensate for discrepancies in the times when energy is available and when it is needed. The decarbonization of the industrial, heating and transportation sectors is also essential.

This research project takes a comprehensive look at the question of infrastructure planning in Germany for the first time. To this end, it will further develop the intersectoral energy system model called “REMod” to include regional optimization and infrastructure expansion. This involves using an energy system model to evaluate grid-bound infrastructures for electricity, heating and gas (CH4 and H2) as whole for the first time in order to reveal the changes needed to achieve a virtually climate-neutral energy system by 2050, defined as an 80–95% reduction in energy-induced carbon emissions as compared to 1990. Fraunhofer ISE is developing the models in close cooperation with its two industrial partners, “Volkswagen AG” and “DBI Gas- und Umwelttechnik GmbH”, to ensure that the modules meet strict scientific standards, while also achieving a high degree of economic relevance for commercial enterprises.

The project addresses the following scientific and technical issues:

  • Which cross-sector infrastructure needs can be expected in Germany in order to achieve a defined target for reducing carbon emissions?
  • How can the REMod model be used to quantify the path of transformation in infrastructure expansion (electricity, CH4, H2, heating)?
  • How much must be invested in infrastructure and in the energy system as a whole in order to achieve an optimal infrastructure that can supply all sectors of consumption cost efficiently?
  • What are the ecological implications of an infrastructure transformation (LCA)?
  • Based on this research, which actions should the electricity, heating and gas supply sectors as well as the transportation sector take in order to support the (German) energy transition both ecologically and economically?
  • What would an advantageous mix of drive systems for road vehicles look like from an economic point of view, taking into account an economically cost-optimized overall energy system?