Diesem Blog präsentiert verschiedene meiner privat verfassten Texte . Die Herangehensweise ist multilingual und interdisziplinär. Die Themen sind international und betreffen vor allem Politik, Nachhaltigkeit, soziale Aspekte und eine Auswahl bestimmter Wirtschaftszweige.
Viel Vergnügen! - JJ Bürger -

Ce blog rassemble une partie de mes textes, créés en dehors de mes activités professionnelles. L'approche est plurilingue et interdisciplinaire. Les sujets sont internationaux et concernent notamment la politique, la durabilité, des aspects sociaux et certains secteurs de l'économie. Bonne lecture! - JJ Bürger -

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Local Energy Transitions, City Planning and Business Models


By JJB

Energy transition continues to be a much-discussed topic, and local developments and cities play a crucial role for its implementation. But as this industry keeps on growing, solid methods and business models are needed in order to make sure that these changes, as well as profit, are made in a sustainable way. 

That is why a large number of researchers and entrepreneurs followed the invitation of the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) and the HFT Stuttgart to gather at the Urban Tech Hub by Grand Central Tech in New York City on November 27th and 28th, in order to discuss about “Energy Systems and Business Models for a Sustainable Urban Transformation” and, on a more technical level, “Urban Energy Systems and 3D Modeling for Low Carbon Cities”.

Sparkling energy (can you spot the metal workers in the above pictures?), architecture and city planning were at the center of discussions at Grand Central Tech and could also be observed outside, in a neigborhood full of energy.
Ursula Eicker from the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT) and its Reseach Center of Sustainable Energy TEchnologies (zafh) in Germany provided results from energy research and 3D city modeling aiming to improve urban energy planning and demand response.

Richard Graves from DC-based CleanChoice Energy shared insights from his company’s experience as one of the largest direct-to-consumer renewable retail energy providers in the United States. For instance, their Community Solar program allows clients to save on their bills by purchasing power from a close-by solar farm, without having to provide a roof space and without switching the utility provider.

Tooraj Arvajeh and his team from Blocpower presented their young company’s work, bringing energy efficiency, solar energy and other sustainable housing upgrades to underserved neighborhoods in New York and the US, while also analyzing the benefits of microgrids for challenged territories such as Puerto Rico and its ongoing power outages after the devastating 2017 hurricane season.

Michele Lunati explained how Potluck Energy works as broker bringing together roofing contractors, solar developers and owners of roof spaces, thanks to a patent-pending roof sensor system which allows to prevent roof leaks while tapping into the unused economic potential of roof spaces.

Dieter Hertweck, from the Hollerith Research Center and Graduate School for DigitalBusiness (HHZ) in Reutlingen, Germany, presented case studies on the benefits of distributed energy solutions. These benefits included local energy resiliency, optimized market value of solar power via batteries and blockchain, and a mid-sized town in Germany which created a virtuous cycle by combining circular economy and local energy planning.

Felix Thumm from Transsolar introduced the audience to several projects of climate-responsive urban design and architecture. In the case of a large campus building in Winnipeg, Canada, these eco- and user-friendly concepts not only helped to reduce energy consumption drastically, but also improved reported well-being of employees within the building. Even a reduction of 1.25 less sick days per employee per year was observed. 


Picture taken from HUB at GCT


Bernd Thomas from Reutlingen University, Germany, explained how Micro-CHP, solar energy and batteries can benefit from each other. One of his results showed that if adding Micro-CHP to a solar PV and battery combination, the battery may be much smaller (and thus cheaper) than if the Micro-CHP was left out, while still attaining the same degree of self-consumption.
Ahmed Mohamed from the City College of New York provided updates on research on improved microgrid control, reconciling the benefits of decentralized and centralized approaches.
Matthew Sachs from Peak Power described his company’s contributions to peak shaving powered by machine learning, which has the potential to reduce the public cost of infrastructure development while also reducing individual utility bills.

Alfred Helble from AH Consult, based in Stuttgart, Germany, shed a light on cost-saving strategies for waste water treatment plants thanks to energy planning, including for example biogas production.

Many participants voiced that they were impressed by the large number of insights and by the fact that many obstacles and goals are actually commonly shared by many projects in both America and in Germany. The talks were accompanied by lively discussions with the audience and were concluded with a closing reception as well as discussions on follow-up projects to further foster the transatlantic energy dialog. 

Grand Central Tech by night, in the city that never sleeps.