Smart Consumer – More Energy Efficiency through Intelligent Coupling of Energy Fluxes in Industrial Companies

Start of the largest IdE research project to date, with strong Hessian participation

Kassel. At the IdE Institut dezentrale Energietechnologien (Institute for Decentralized Energy Technologies), the starting pistol for the project Smart Consumer has been fired. For this large- scale project with a budget of 10 million Euro, the experts of the IdE Institut dezentrale Energietechnologien, together with those of Arburg, Imtech and Limón, implement and test measures for increasing industrial energy efficiency at Ferrero and Junghans Kunststoffwarenfabrik (Junghans Plastic Ware Factory). Ferrero and Junghans Kunststoffwarenfabrik, both of which are located in Hessen, Germany, are making their manufacturing plants available for this research work. The project will be supported over the next three and a half years by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. A central goal of the project is the implementation of intelligent solutions for the control and reduction of energy needs within a real-life production environment. ‘In pursuing this goal, it is important to us that the solutions we work out can also be implemented in other companies’, says Prof. Hesselbach, head of the scientific department at IdE.

The project Smart Consumer consists of two sub-projects. In the sub-project Smart CHP, the focal point is the optimization of the power supply of factories that are processing plastic. Using the company Junghans as a test case, the primary energy need and the energy costs are supposed to be lowered by fifty percent. ‘Sustainable economizing has always been an essential part of our company. This research project offers us the opportunity to become the most energy efficient plastic injection moulding company in Europe. The future reduction of our energy need by fifty percent is a milestone in our company’s history and our contribution to the energy turnaround’, says CEO Klaus Junghans. To achieve this, however, the current electrical heating of the production machines has to be changed to thermal oil heating. This creates greater flexibility in being able to run the machines either through heat from CHP processes, through burning of gas or through electrical energy. The main idea is to make greater use of the heat that is being generated.

This makes it necessary to, among other things, rebuild the injection moulding machines as well as the building technology and the heat grids in the plastic factory.

At the confectioner Ferrero, the focus lies on energy saving in the area of refrigeration and air- conditioning. On the one hand, there will be a change to alternative, more efficient cooling technology; on the other hand, cooling will only take place where cool temperatures are actually necessary. For the production this means that, for example, only a small part of the production line will be cooled instead of the entire production hall. The goal is to make the cooling as precise as possible by making constructive changes in controlling the air. ‘We expect to be able to save up to fifty percent of thermal energy in this way’, explains Prof. Hesselbach.

In addition to the reconstruction, it is important for both sub-projects that energy fluxes can be measured, evaluated and controlled. That is why Junghans as well as Ferrero will have an energy monitoring system installed, which is fundamental for an intelligent control of energy fluxes and helps predict future energy needs. Such predictions about future energy needs make it possible to optimize electricity costs and, at the same time, contribute to a less strained energy grid. In this way, the consumer becomes a Smart Consumer and thus an essential building block of a future Smart Grid.

Using simulation, the intelligent control systems of the energy fluxes of both sub-projects will be developed together by Imtech und Limón. Limón integrates the production technology and Imtech is responsible for the energy flow of the power supply and the technical building equipment

About IdE: The IdE Institut dezentrale Energietechnologien (IdE Institute of Decentralized Energy Technologies) was founded as a non-profit limited company in 2011. The institute develops concepts, strategies, products and services for the growing market of decentralized energy management. The focus of the company is application-oriented research and development as well as energy transfer in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Its projects draw on the scientific expertise of Kassel University, which is also the chief partner of IdE Ltd. The close cooperation of IdE between business, science and politics strengthens northern Hessen as a location for decentralized energy technologies.

Partner involved in IdE are: Kassel University, the commercial enterprises EAM Beteiligungen GmbH, Städtische Werke AG, SMA Solar Technology AG, Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG and Wingas GmbH as well as the city of Kassel, the municipality of Niestetal and deENet Kompetenznetzwerk dezentrale Energietechnologien e.V.. Through a cooperation agreement, the Volkswagen AG is closely integrated into the structures of IdE. For more information, visit

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