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Germany is already well positioned when it comes to generating electricity from renewable energy sources. Now the goal is to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The project ZO.RRO (Zero Carbon Cross Energy System) strives for CO2-free sector coupling – the integration of electricity, heating and gas networks – in Thuringia.

In the first step, the system models the optimal technology mix for Thuringia. There are two scenarios here: one guided by renewable energy systems as well as storage and hydrogen technologies, the other includes power-to-gas and gas-fired power plants in the calculation. "Our goal is to make Thuringia’s energy supply CO2-neutral by 2050 and to find the most cost-effective way of doing this. CO2 emissions are determined when the calculated cross-sector technology mix is sufficient for stable grid operations. If stable operations are not possible, this feedback flows to the energy system planning entity," says Steffi Naumann, project manager at Fraunhofer.

Plant operations require IT systems that monitor current CO2 emissions and manage flexibility options. The CO2 monitoring tool enables live monitoring and thus identifies the main sources of CO2. The management tool uses the existing flexibility of shifting gas, heat and electricity loads in order to minimize the CO2 footprint and to offer CO2-free system services. In this way, companies can minimize their CO2 expenditure and save the corresponding costs of CO2 certificates.

Thuringia serves as a model for a cost-effective and climate-neutral energy supply system that Germany could roll out nationwide.

Fraunhofer at HANNOVER MESSE