FOREnergy – Energy flexibility in production

Funding Bavarian Research Foundation
Duration September 2012 to August 2015

Along with the turnaround in energy policy in Germany comes a steady increase in renewable energy sources. Due to the stochastic nature of wind and solar power the energy supply grows volatile resulting in fluctuating energy prices. In this environment, companies are forced to adapt their production plants and systems in a way that they react flexibly to the changes in energy supply.

The aim of the joint research project FOREnergy granted by the Bavarian Research Foundation is to explore concepts and solutions for energy flexibility in production.

The project combines over 20 industry partners as well as 5 academic partners from different institutes. The Institute for Energy Economy and Application Technology executes two of eight subprojects.

Subproject 3: Energy storage and on-site power generation


Franken Guss GmbH & Co. KG
Kaeser Kompressoren AG

Lech-Stahlwerke GmbH

Contact Dipl.-Ing. Dennis Atabay


In manufacturing companies the energy demand is highly variable over time. In many cases the fluctuation has an effect on the power consumption of the factory and result in an uneven load profile with high peaks.

Energy storage and distributed generation provide the facility to actively influence the electrical load profile by shifting the electrical load, without disturbing the process of production. An intelligent operation of existing energy storages, for example compressed air vessels, can increase the load shifting potential. The aim of the project is to identify the potential of possible energy storage and power generation technologies and to evaluate them on a testing plant as well as in a real production environment.

The potential of energy storages and on-site power generation within a factory to improve the flexibility of the electrical demand will be investigated and evaluated. In addition to theoretical studies about available energy storage and power generation technologies, an experimental compressed air system will be built. This provides the possibility to simulate real measured load profiles in a defined environment and to investigate the cost-optimal operation of the storages by shifting the load assuring that the demand is covered. The theoretical and practical experience gained on the use of storage and power generation will be examined in terms of general applicability to other factories and summarized in a software tool. This tool can be used as an implementation guide for the obtained results.

Subproject 6: Electricity supply

Partner Lechwerke AG
Molkerei Gropper GmbH & Co. KG
Vereinigte Wertach-Elektrizitätswerke GmbH
Contact Dipl.-Ing. Rita Dornmair


The expansion of the electricity grid and the installation of centralized and decentralized energy storage systems are being discussed as possible flexibilization technologies in order to reconcile electricity supply and demand even with a very high proportion of renewable energies. Another possibility is the flexible adjustment of electricity demand to the current energy supply. In addition to households, the integration of manufacturing companies as micro-suppliers in the electricity market promises great potential.

While manufacturing companies and factories today often either do not plan their electricity procurement at all or only optimize it for business purposes as part of peak load management, in the future a higher-level, energy-optimized control of electricity procurement could contribute to the improved integration of renewable energies within process-related and economically justifiable limits. A macroeconomically optimal and efficient form of coordination of electricity supply and demand can be achieved through the use of market mechanisms.

A macroeconomically optimal and efficient form of balancing electricity supply and demand can be achieved through the use of market mechanisms. However, the current market structures and rules were not designed for such participation by flexible consumers, so that technical, regulatory and economic obstacles still stand in the way of implementing flexibility measures on the consumer side. Price functions and market structures must therefore first be derived that offer incentives for producing companies to manage their electricity demand in a way that is advantageous for the energy supplier. Furthermore, concepts for the technical integration of companies into the electricity grid must be developed. These research tasks are to be carried out as part of the energy supply sub-project.