3rd Fraunhofer Energy Days: Energy efficiency as an opportunity for German industry

April 09, 2015

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI addresses the topic of energy efficiency in industry from a comprehensive innovation policy perspective. Professor Harald Bradke, an expert on the topic of energy and head of the Competence Center Energy Technology and Energy Systems at the Fraunhofer ISI, presents some of the main findings in his lecture at the third Fraunhofer Energy Days. These are due to take place on 29 and 30 April 2015 at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities under the heading “Energiewende in Germany’s industry”.

With the Energiewende (energy transition), Germany wants to turn its energy supply into a safe, environmentally-compatible and economic system and become less dependent on oil and gas imports. In order to reach these goals, the existing energy supply system has to be completely transformed. For a modern industrial nation like Germany, this transformation process is a huge challenge. At the same time, however, the Energiewende presents companies with the opportunity to develop innovative energy technologies and save energy costs, both of which can strengthen their international competitiveness.

The topic of energy efficiency plays a decisive role in the success of the Energiewende and is addressed by several presentations on the agenda of the 3rd Fraunhofer Energy Days, which, this year, are all about the “Energiewende in Germany’s industry“. Professor Harald Bradke explains the innovation research and innovation policy‘s perspective with a view to energy efficiency in his presentation “Doubling the energy technology progress in industry from an innovation policy perspective”. Bradke is particularly concerned with the saving potentials that companies can harvest without major organizational or financial outlay and also looks at why these are often not being exploited. To improve energy efficiency in companies, researchers from the Fraunhofer ISI have been working together with colleagues from other research institutes for more than ten years on the “Learning Energy Efficiency Networks (LEEN)” concept and are developing this continuously.

The idea behind the LEEN networks is that firms come together in small networks and show each other simple and cost-effective ways they can save energy. The annual energy saving potential of the 370 companies taking part in the 30 networks so far was two percent per year – about twice as much as the average German industrial enterprise. Based on this success, the German government and German industry have agreed to set up a total of 500 additional energy efficiency networks by 2020 in medium-sized and large enterprises, which should lower industrial energy consumption by around three percent.

The Energy Efficiency Networks are only one of the projects on the topic “Energiewende in Germany’s industry” being presented at this year’s Fraunhofer Energy Days and discussed with high-ranking representatives from government, industry and science. Other pertinent questions include: How will companies manage their energy supply in the future? How can they achieve greater energy efficiency in production and commerce? And how will their market environment develop? 

As a leading European research institution, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft developed a strategy early on and pooled its knowledge and skills about energy in the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance. 19 institutes are already working today on the answers for tomorrow – for a sustainable and energy-efficient German industry.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.