Lower energy consumption, higher performance

Cross-sectional project: Energy efficiency

In light of rising energy costs, limited resources and ongoing climate change, energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important for industrial products and production systems. In order to remain competitive, machinery and devices must be developed and run in an energy-efficient manner. This can be facilitated by using innovative technologies to improve the energy efficiency of the components involved. Another approach is to optimize process management so as to reduce the total energy needed to carry out a particular task. For example, a production unit might use controllers that communicate with each other to coordinate components’ energy requirements. Considerable research is needed in this area.

The aim of the research project is to develop a set of tools for efficient and demand-based energy transformation, control and distribution in the production industry. The primary focus here is on energy transformation, energy management in equipment and devices, company electrical supplies, improving the efficiency of software and hardware components, and heating/cooling.

In the field of energy transformation, design processes that increase the efficiency of the energy used are developed for power electronics in devices and equipment. Efficient energy management in production units is facilitated by designing a methodology for optimized control of energy consuming, generating and storage components, as well as the necessary automation technology. Industrial electrical grids can be put to optimum use thanks to the provision of calculation methods that allow voltage drops, line outages and circuit feedback to be taken into account even in planning stages. In addition to this, concepts are developed to evaluate and improve the resource efficiency of hardware and software components. The results are then validated by cluster companies and converted into marketable products and production systems such as efficient energy transformers for electric vehicles, intelligent energy management in household appliances and decentralized small-scale power plant (micro-grid) implementation.

The results are made accessible to other manufacturing companies – e.g. those involved in mechanical engineering, the electrical industry and the automotive supply industry – through transfer projects and disseminated outside the cluster by engineering firms. They are also integrated into new university and further education programs. The project makes a key contribution to achieving the objectives of the 2020 High-Tech Strategy, for example with regard to CO2 reduction, energy efficiency in products and production systems, and intelligent industrial networks.

Project duration
01 July 2012 - 30 June 2017