Active leadership of associations and participation in research and development projects is an integral part of innovation managementat 50Hertz. In various cooperations with academic as well as industrial partners, activities in the areas of new technologies, energy markets, and system security, the integration of renewable energies and the necessary development of the electrical system are key elements. Overall, around EUR 2m (prior year: around EUR 2m) was spent on research and development projects in 2019. This was compensated by EUR 0.25m (prior year: around EUR 0.15m) that 50Hertz received inpublic non-repayable subsidies.
Furthermore, 50Hertz is the lead coordinator of the WindNODE joint project, in which more than 70 partners in the northeast German model region are currently underway in joint solutions to integrate even larger amounts of renewable energy into the power grids as efficiently as possible. In addition to energy suppliers, grid operators, and high-tech specialists, companies from the automotive industry, supply and disposal industry, housing industry, and retail trade, as well as several universities and research institutes from the region are onboard.
In the "Connect+" project, the four transmission and 16 distribution system operators have joined forces to cooperatively face the challenges of implementing the Network Expansion Acceleration Act (NABEG). The legislator has hereby determined that in the future, all plants for the generation or storage of electrical energy with a nominal output of 100 kilowatts or more can be used to prevent foreseeable bottlenecks in the electricity grid from occurring from the outset.
The Scientific Council was established for the purpose of regular exchanges between science and practice. The voluntary committee currently consists of 16 professors from the fields of energy technology, economics, law, and politics. The council meets once or twice a year to discuss and evaluate current topics and future issues in relation to 50Hertz. In 2019 the focus of the two meetings was on the subjects "Consequences of the coal phase-out for grid development", "Active grid management" and "Assistance systems for system management" as well as "Use of AI".
Additionally, 50Hertz has been collaborating with a number of universities in the grid area for a number of years. The topics of joint studies relate, for example, to the quality of extra-high voltage grids, the operation of three-phase and direct current on a single pylon, the determination of critical conditions in the 50Hertz grid or the implications of the energy transition for the economy, politics, and society. Moreover, we regularly share our expertise within universities and research institutes through a series of practice-oriented lectures and workshops.
Collectively with various European environmental associations and other transmission system operators, 50Hertz is a founding member of the "Renewables Grid Initiative" (RGI), which promotes grid expansion throughout Europe for the effective integration of renewable energies and promotes the distribution of innovative participation practices.
In the project "GreenHydroChem Central German Chemical Triangle" the material use of hydrogen plays a crucial role. To this end, water at the Leuna site is to be split into hydrogen and oxygen in a 50-megawatt electrolyser using renewable electricity. The hydrogen will then be converted into basic materials such as methanol in local chemical plants, for example. The real-world laboratory concept "Reference Power Plant Lausitz" goes one step further: Here, hydrogen is to be produced with green electricity in an electrolyser, made available for transport and industry and ,if necessary, converted back into electricity using the heat generated. A hydrogen storage tank as well as a battery and a supercapacitor for storing electricity will enhance the plant. Both projects are designed to contribute to system and supply security in the grid. 50Hertz expects the projects to make progress in the development of Power to-X technologies, which will play an important role in the energy transition.