Multi-Carrier Energy Management by Distributed Control Agents


In the course of the energy transition in Germany and other parts of the world, conventional power plants are replaced by Renewable Energy Generation (REG). Due to its volatility, new energy storage systems and innovative grid control techniques are required to ensure safe grid operation. By coupling different energy domains (e.g. power, gas and heat) additional synergy effects can be created through the optimization of power flows. For example renewable electric energy can be used to lift the temperature in district heating networks, in times of high REG, instead of curtailing the REG.

Research is aimed at achieving an optimal temporal and spatial coordination of producers, consumers, storage systems, and energy converters in coupled electric power and district heating networks. The complex task of multi-carrier market-based energy management is solved by a transactive control approach. Thereby, market and control mechanisms are designed in a concerted complementary form.

Contact: M. Sc. Jona Maurer

Coupled multi-agent systems and distributed optimal controls


For reasons of sustainability and due the climate emergency, an energy transition towards renewable energy is taking place throughout the world. In 2018, 38% of the electrical energy consumed in Germany was generated by renewable energy. According to the German law EEG, renewable energy has to account for 80% of the total electrical energy needs of Germany in 2050. Thus, conventional power plants are being steadily replaced by a huge amount of generators based on renewable energy resources. 

These huge amount of generators form, together with flexible loads and other components, microgrids. The control of such microgrids (frequency and voltage) is already well explored. However, the benefits of an interconnection of various microgirds remains unexplored. Research is aimed at the study of such an interconnection from a system theoretic point of view. Especially, fundamental importance will be given on the information that needs to be shared and the kind of optimality achieved by an interconnection.

Contact: M. Sc. Pol Jané Soneira

High Level Plug-and-Play-Based Control Strategies for Multi-Carrier Energy Systems


Multi-Carrier Energy Systems: Future energy systems will no longer simply comprise the disjointed electricity, heating and gas networks, but will instead focus on an interconnected, holistic approach. The aim of a joint consideration of these energy systems is the increased the robustness and flexibility achievable by balancing out the energy surpluses or deficiencies amongst the various energy systems. In light of the accelerating trend towards renewable energy sources (RESs) in the electrical grid especially, interconnecting the various energy domains provides a potential means of compensating for the inherent intermittency with which RESs generate power.

Plug-and-Play: Due to the large number of RESs needed to satisfy current and future electricity demands, the tried and tested centralised control structures traditionally used for regulating large power stations are unsuited for an electrical grid dominated by numerous sources spread out over a large distance. Similar to the peripherals of modern computer, a Plug-and-Play compatible approach would allow energy sources to connect to and disconnect from the energy networks seamlessly and without a central authority required to govern and configure the sources.

High Level: Beyond simply regulating the fundamental variables of the energy networks (e.g. the voltages and frequency for the electrical grid), high-level objectives – such as the interaction and coordination of components in and among the various energy systems and considerations for the flow of power – must be considered to realise efficient and symbiotic interactions between the various energy systems.

Contact: M. Sc. Albertus Malan

Decentralized, Passivity-Based Control of Networked Multi-Energy Systems


A sustainable energy supply requires to rethink energy systems. In order to achieve true climate neutrality, not only electrical power grids, but networked multi-energy systems consisting of electricity, district heating, gas, hydrogen, etc. grids have to be considered. In my research, I develop decentralized control methods for components such as generators, consumers, and storage devices in different energy grids. For this, I exploit the unifying, generalizing property of physical-based methods (e.g. generalized equivalent circuits, port-Hamiltonian systems), the modularity of the system property of "passivity", and its relation to Lyapunov stability. The control methods developed in this way are modular and scalable, allowing to cope with the very high complexity of networked multi-energy systems.

In particular, the increasing number of components (generators, consumers, storage devices) that dynamically interact with each other at an ever-faster rate (i.e. on smaller time scales) due to the integration of renewable technologies can thus be managed. Components can be connected or disconnected without adapting the controllers of other components or jeopardizing stability ("plug-and-play").If you are interested in a research collaboration (for PhD students), a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, a Hiwi job, or a research internship, please do not hesitate to contact me. Besides the open calls, there is usually always something to do.

Contact: M. Sc. Felix Strehle

Multimodal real-time dispatch


All transactions that take place on the energy market have a direct influence on the feed-in and feed-out from the energy grid and thus on grid operation and grid stability. In the energy market, on the other hand, the market is cleared only every 15 minutes and corresponding electricity sales and purchases take place. However, the generation output from renewable power generation can change significantly within a few seconds. This cannot be accommodated in the current market design.

Therefore, in research real-time markets for the power grid in which the price can respond correctly to the short-term fluctuations from renewable generation are proposed. Due to the faster price changes, the market dynamics are no longer decoupled from the grid dynamics and for stability analysis and control approaches, the coupled techno-economic energy market/energy grid needs to be studied. The goal is therefore to investigate the stability of the techno-economic energy system and to analyze domain couplings (e.g., through power-to-gas or combined heat and power plants) and the coupled energy markets and grids that result.

Contact: M. Sc. Lukas Rausche

Techno-economic energy management


In the fight against climate change and for reasons of sustainability, the share of renewable energy sources in the electrical energy supply continues to increase. The increasing number of volatile energy sources (e.g. solar energy and wind power) and the limited storage options for electrical energy pose a major challenge for power grids.

An important role in the energy industry is played by the balancing group manager, who predicts the feed-ins and withdrawals in his balancing group or rather distribution grid (e.g. microgrid) and forwards this forecast to the transmission system operator (TSO). Based on these forecasts, the TSO creates its schedule management, which ensures stability in the power grid. In case of forecast deviations, balancing energy costs arise, which are partly passed to the end customer via network fees. In the course of my research, I develop methods for smart energy management of cooperating balancing groups, which improves the forecast fidelity of balancing groups and optimally utilizes renewable energies. The goal is to improve the economics, ecology, and energy efficiency of the energy grid while maintaining stability and reliability.

Since the energy industry is highly regulated, the considerations take place in a techno-economic framework that considers the interplay of politics, economics, science and sustainability. Furthermore, I ask myself how the grid operation (grid architecture and regulations) of the future electricity industry must look like in order to ensure a safe, cheap, efficient and environmentally friendly supply of electricity to the general public.

Contact: M. Sc. Armin Gießler