On April 28, 2020 was the official launch of the »Fraunhofer Center for Digital Energy«. It has received € 5.1 million in an initial phase of funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is being set up by the Fraunhofer FIT together with the Fraunhofer FKIE, the IAEW, and the E.ON ACS institutes of energy technology at RWTH Aachen University.
The center was selected as a first step towards a successful structural transformation of the Rhenish mining area. The funds serve as start-up financing for the new construction project in the form of planning and preparatory tasks, initial investments in technical equipment and the development of continuing education measures. Furthermore, the center is integrated by name as a prioritized measure of the federal government into the Structural Development Act (Strukturstärkungsgesetz). This sets the course for the subsequent financing of an infrastructure to accomodate more than 100 employees.
At the ceremonial presentation of the grant awards, Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Rachel emphasized: »Digitization is a central enabler for a successful energy transition. With the Fraunhofer Center for Digital Energy we can help our companies to develop innovative technologies and new business models while attracting qualified personnel. By bringing together science and industry in applied fields of research, the center will have an impact that will radiate out across the entire region. This funding thus makes a key contribution to making the structural transformation in the Rhineland mining region into an energy region of the future a real success story.«
The new center combines in-depth knowledge of digitalization and its financial management (Fraunhofer FIT) and IT security (Fraunhofer FKIE) with the expertise of prestigious RWTH chairs in Energy Technology and Computer Science. In a targeted manner, it addresses three pillars: »Research & Development« of new technologies and business models, »Training & Continuing Education« to attract qualified personnel, and »Testing & Inspection« to ensure that research findings can be integrated into products and services. The integration of an independent 10,000-volt distribution network enables the development of IT security and digital technologies for future digitalized energy supply systems to be designed and tested in a controlled manner in a real system.