• EUREF Campus: View from the top of the Gasometer, Brain City Berlinb

    Hands-on Energy Transition

Research and business work together synergistically in Brain City Berlin in many areas. The transfer of knowledge works particularly impressively on the site of the EUREF-Campus in Berlin-Schoeneberg. The area is one of 11 future locations in Berlin. Thematically, everything in this “Energy transition field test laboratory” revolves around climate-neutral, resource-saving and intelligent solutions for the city of tomorrow.

“The EUREF-Campus is a place for research and teaching. We want to show that the energy transition is feasible with the help of green technologies.” Karin Teichmann is a member of the board and at the same time spokeswoman for this “Energy transition field test laboratory”, which has developed around an iconic industrial monument since 2008: “The Gasometer more or less set the theme,” says Karin Teichmann. “The site was already a historic energy site. So it made sense to set up a campus here on the subject of energy transition.”

Over the past 14 years, more than 150 companies have settled on the approximately 5,000 square metre site in the Tempelhof-Schoeneberg district of Berlin. These include start-ups and small and medium-sized companies as well as Deutsche Bahn, Schneider Electric, NBB and GASAG. Important industry associations and trade organisations such as the German Energy Agency (DENA) and the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) are also now located on the EUREF campus. And not without reason, because they all benefit from the synergies that arise from the close exchange with the top-class research institutions on site. The Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) is represented on campus with an affiliated institute and four master’s courses. Other examples include Fraunhofer Energy Research, the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and the TMG Think-Tank for Sustainability, whose founders include former German Foreign Minister Klaus Töpfer.

“What sets us apart as a location is the top-class scientific expertise regarding energy and transport transition. Local companies benefit from this not only through joint projects, but also through direct contact with students via master’s theses and scholarships. In view of today’s skills shortage, having tomorrow’s experts right on your doorstep is an unbeatable advantage. Knowledge transfer is practically part of our DNA,” explains Karin Teichmann. 

Innovative systems for a climate-neutral city

The hub of knowledge transfer between science and business on the EUREF-Campus is the Mobility2Grid research campus funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Under the direction of the TU Berlin, scientific partners such as the HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW Berlin), the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development have been working together with companies since 2011 on central issues of the energy transition and innovative mobility solutions. The cores of the recently launched second funding phase also reflect the broad range of content of the research campus: Grid integration, automated charging and driving, electrification of fleets and depots, neomobility, transfer areas and participation & acceptance. “The aim of the Mobility2Grid research campus is to develop efficient and networked systems for the climate-neutral city and to transfer the knowledge gained on the EUREF-Campus to the city,” says Karin Teichmann.

In order to transfer research results from the individual subject areas into practice in a targeted manner and to be able to implement them in projects throughout Germany, an exploitation company was founded within the framework of Mobility2Grid: inno2Grid GmbH is based on the EUREF-Campus and sees itself as a “consulting and project company that brings together the core competencies and services of its partners and combines them into customer-specific solutions.” The reference projects supported by inno2Grid include the area around the BER Airport, the construction of a charging infrastructure for Stadtwerke Potsdam, a smart mobility and infrastructure concept for “Das Neue Gartenfeld” in Spandau, a mobility concept for the district near Berlin Central Station Heidestrasse and also an integrated mobility station on the EUREF-Campus site, which combines green energy in mobility and digitally networks it. zeeMobase is the name of this first micro smart grid in Germany, which was developed and set up in cooperation with Schneider Electric.

Bringing the world of tomorrow to life

The zeeMobase, which opened in 2016 as a showroom for the intelligent networking of energy and mobility, is just one of the projects and objects on the EUREF-Campus site that make it possible to experience the energy transition in a real test environment. As private land, the campus is closed to conventionally powered vehicles. However, e-mobiles are allowed to drive everywhere. In this respect, e-mobiles such as the autonomous road sweeper from the Swiss start-up Enway can do their testing undisturbed on the site. A self-driving electric minibus from the French company EasyMile was also tested here for two years. “We are a hands-on place. A place where ideas are tried out,” says Karin Teichmann, and specifies “Making the energy transition come alive is very interesting not only for our visitors, but also for our tenants. It’s like having a trade fair on the premises here virtually all year round.”

The energy workshop on the EUREF-Campus, designed and operated by Gasag Solution Plus, is also exciting for delegations from all over the world. This supplies all buildings on the site with electricity, heat and also cooling via a biomethane-fuelled combined heat and power plant. Surplus electricity is fed into the Berlin power grid. Power-to-heat/power-to-cold technology also enables the intelligently controlled system to store surplus energy from solar farms and wind turbines and use it to heat or cool water as needed. The energy supply on the EUREF-Campus has been CO2-neutral since 2014. The Berlin future location is already fulfilling the climate target of the Federal government of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality in Germany by 2045.

“We want to show in our field test laboratory what can be achieved with products that are already available on the market. The capital Berlin is a good location for us, because the top-class events and the proximity to politics and industry associations help us to bring together the right players from research and business on the campus,” says Karin Teichmann.

The ground floor of the Gasometer is currently being converted into a modern conference centre. Office space will be created on the upper floors of the listed tower. This is where Deutsche Bahn will move in with its digital division “Digital Rail”. The expansion should be completed in 2024. And with that, the EUREF-Campus will then be finished. However, construction work continues on the EUREF-Campus in Düsseldorf. “The Berlin Research Campus will accompany us there – in close cooperation with the TU Berlin,” says Karin Teichmann. An inter-State example of sustainable science transfer and of ideas that go out from Brain City Berlin into the world. (vdo)

Further information

EUREF-Campus Berlin
Zulkunftsorte Berlin

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