An important milestone for the establishment of the new Technology Transfer Centre in the Lower Main region of Bavaria was celebrated on 16 October 2023, when the "Sustainable Energies Think Tank" moved into the building of Energieversorgung Alzenau (EVA).
The Bavarian Minister of State for Digital Affairs, Judith Gerlach, MdL, opened NETZ in Alzenau on behalf of the Bavarian Prime Minister Dr Markus Söder. Together with Winfried Bausback, a member of the state parliament who was also in attendance, she had advocated vigorously at the political level for the establishment of another TTZ in the region. She presented a plaque with the funding amount to Prof. Dr Eva-Maria Beck-Meuth, President of the Aschaffenburg UAS, and Prof. Dr.Ing. Klaus Zindler, Vice President for Research and Transfer.
In her speech, Digital Minister Gerlach provided information about the technology transfer offensive “Hightech Transfer Bavaria” and highlighted the importance of the TTZs for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Free State. “The establishment of the centres within the framework of the HighTech Agenda Bavaria creates innovative, applied research from universities for companies in all regions of the Free State. With the centres, we are strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas in particular and helping to ensure comparable development in the cities and the countryside”, Judith Gerlach says.
The Bavarian State Government has included the Technology Transfer Centres as a central element of the Bavarian technology offensive HighTech Transfer Bavaria launched in 2023 and is investing the amound of 103 million euros in a total of 15 new TTZs throughout Bavaria,” explains Judith Gerlach.
„Aschaffenburg UAS has a high level of expertise and research competence, particularly in the fields of sustainable energy generation, storage, and distribution. They also have a lot of knowledge in the area of transforming industrial processes. I can therefore think of no better partner for this TTZ.“
She also emphasised the role of digitisation in the success of the energy transition.
The Bavarian Ministry of Science and Art has approved a start-up funding of 5 million euros for Aschaffenburg UAS from October 2023 to September 2028 to establish NETZ in Alzenau in collaboration with regional companies and municipal partners. The provision of office and laboratory space free of charge by EVA and the town of Alzenau makes it possible to realise this groundbreaking project.
In addition to the think tank, the NETZ headquarters in the EVA offices, the new Technology Transfer Centre also includes a laboratory centre, which will be set up in the former music school building of the town of Alzenau. Additionally, there are “realworld laboratories” planned onsite at collaborating companies, where research will be conducted on selected topics such as year-round energy storage or energy management of smart home systems.
The main research areas of NETZ in Alzenau are of great social relevance and focus on sustainable energy generation, energy storage and distribution as well as the transformation of industrial processes towards higher energy efficiency. Aschaffenburg UAS brings a high level of expertise and research competence to these areas. In addition, the topic fits very well into the economic environment that has been established in Alzenau and the surrounding area.
The objectives of NETZ are diverse and include contributing to a successful energy transition in the Bavarian Main region, securing the competitiveness of the regional economy through close cooperation with companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, training skilled workers for the region, and attracting third-party funds through contract research and funding projects.
"We look forward to working closely with municipal partners and regional companies," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Zindler, Vice President for Research and Transfer.
„Together, with the Technology Transfer Centre for Sustainable Energies (NETZ), we want to make an important contribution to achieving a successful energy transition in the Bavarian Main region. Our special thanks go to the Free State of Bavaria for the start-up funding and to the town of Alzenau and Energieversorgung Alzenau GmbH for providing the premises.“
Stephan Noll, Mayor, emphasised the pioneering role of the town of Alzenau in the field of climate and environmental protection and highlighted the recent update of the climate protection concept. He also pointed out the activities of the Alzenau Hydrogen Group, which is working towards connecting the Bavarian Main region to a hydrogen pipeline and implementing hydrogen-based year-round storage.
„The TTZ for sustainable energies is a perfect fit for Alzenau. Whether it's a solar city, a hydrogen city, or a hub for the development of innovative energy storage, the TTZ can consolidate and initiate previous and future innovations in these areas onsite. Alzenau will thus become an even stronger incubator for forward-looking developments in the field of sustainable technologies.“
Dr. Alexander Legler, District Administrator of Aschaffenburg, praised the establishment of NETZ in his greeting as a successful example of cooperation between the university, the municipality, the district, and the government to promote the energy transition in the region.
Numerous renowned companies from the Aschaffenburg district are participating in this groundbreaking project, such as the Battery Assembly Center BMZ Group in Karlstein, a market leader in lithium-ion batteries and an important cooperation partner of the university, CMBlu Energy AG in Alzenau, a manufacturer of organic largescale storage systems, and Greenerity GmbH in Alzenau, which develops membranes for fuel cells and electrolysers for hydrogen production.
The deputy district administrator of the Miltenberg district, Bernd Schötterl, also emphasised how important NETZ is for the implementing the energy turnaround in the Lower Main region of Bavaria and highlighted what is necessary for this:
„Transformation, innovation and reflection need one thing in particular from all of us: Courage. The courage to change, the courage to never give up, and the courage to shape our collective future sustainably.“
During the guided tours of the “Think Tank for Sustainable Energies” in the EVA building, technical presentations and demonstrations provided insights into the current research at Aschaffenburg UAS on the topic of “Sustainable Energies”.
The research group led by Prof. Dr. Ing. Johannes Teigelkötter presented the LeMoStore project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. The project focuses on modular energy storage and its application in the public power grid and in companies with the aim of guaranteeing the quality and stability of the grid. The demonstrations highlighted the importance of this technology in the face of volatile renewable energies such as solar and wind power. A stage of the multi-level inverter unit including memory was shown as hardware and live measurements were carried out on the demonstrator (oscillogram).
The demonstration by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Kilian Hartmann focused on “Energy Sharing”. He presented a model that shows the basic functions of software that the doctoral candidate Sven Müller is working on in his research project. This software is intended to help optimise the use of electricity in industrial plants in the future and save money.
The research group led by Prof. Dr. Ing. Klaus Zindler presented posters on topics such as “Optimisation of Heat Pump Systems” and “Integration into Smart Home Systems”, “AI-Based Control Algorithms for Optimization of Intra-Company Energy Systems”, and the project “Cooperative Autonomous Intralogistics Systems” (KAnIS).
The cooperation project with a large consumer of gas and electricity was presented by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Mann. The group measured the company's energy consumption over a period of time and presented the data to the guests. The main goal of the collaboration between the University of Applied Sciences and the company is to plan a suitable photovoltaic system and develop an economically viable energy storage concept.
This example shows how the Technology Transfer Centre (TTZ) supports local companies in their efforts to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions by creating customised concepts.