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The Challenges and Opportunities of Energy-Flexible Factories: A Holistic Case Study of the Model Region Augsburg in Germany

: Roth, Stefan; Schott, Paul; Ebinger, Katharina; Halbrügge, Stephanie; Kleinertz, Britta; Köberlein, Jana; Püschel, Danny; Buhl, Hans Ulrich; Ober, Steffi; Reinhart, Gunther; Roon, Serafin von

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Sustainability 12 (2020), No.1, Art. 360, 24 pp.
ISSN: 2071-1050
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
​03SFK3Q0; SynErgie
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FIT ()
sustainable manufacturing; energy flexibility; transdisciplinarity; energy supply system; renewable energy; life-cycle assessment; market mechanisms; model region Augsburg

Economic solutions for the integration of volatile renewable electricity generation aredecisive for a socially supported energy transition. So-called energy-flexible factories can adapt theirelectricity consumption process efficiently to power generation. These adaptions can support thesystem balance and counteract local network bottlenecks. Within part of the model regionAugsburg, a research and demonstration area of a federal research project, the potential, obstacles,effects, and opportunities of the energy-flexible factory were considered holistically. Exemplaryflexibilization measures of industrial companies were identified and modeled. Simulations wereperformed to analyze these measures in supply scenarios with advanced expansion of fluctuatingrenewable electricity generation . The simulations demonstrate that industrial energy flexibility canmake a positive contribution to regional energy balancing, thus enabling the integration of morevolatile renewable electricity generation. Based on these fundamentals, profiles for regional marketmechanisms for energy flexibility were investigated and elaborated. The associated environmentaladditional expenses of the companies for the implementation of the flexibility measures wereidentified in a life-cycle assessment, with the result that the negative effects are mitigated by theincreased share of renewable energy. Therefore, from a technical perspective, energy-flexiblefactories can make a significant contribution to a sustainable energy system without greaterenvironmental impact. In terms of a holistic approach, a network of actors from science, industry,associations, and civil society organizations was established and actively collaborated in atransdisciplinary work process. Using design-thinking methods, profiles of stakeholders in theregion, as well as their mutual interactions and interests, were created. This resulted in requirementsfor the development of suitable business models and reduced regulatory barriers.