A sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply in the future – this is the vision of Flexible Electrical Networks (FEN) Research Campus.
Therefore, FEN Research Campus researches and develops innovative grid technologies to ready electrical grids for a high share of fluctuating and decentralized renewable energy sources. In these grid technologies direct current technologies (DC) play a key role.
Why are new grid technologies required?
The change of the electrical supply system to more environmentally-friendly energy sources requires the development of a new grid infrastructure. Many decentralized energy sources like solar systems on roofs produce energy which needs to be distributed over the whole country. This means that the formerly exclusive consumer type customer becomes now a producer. At the same time large scale power generators, like offshore wind farms, have to be connected, sometimes over long distances. Consequently, the transmission, distribution and storage of electricity need to be more efficient and flexible, than it is currently possible in the existing three-phase alternating current (AC) supply system. This supply system was designed as a “top-down distribution” with few central power stations and is not constructed for decentralized feed-in and distribution of renewable energy sources. While this was an appropriate solution for the requirements and available technologies from the past, the situation has now fundamentally changed. Sustainable energy sources and new electronic power conversion technologies have become technically and economically feasible and AC transmission and distribution technology is no longer a must, but an obstacle.