The last years have brought a fundamental political change towards energy management in Germany: As soon as possible regenerative energies on all scales like wind and solar power are to replace nuclear as well as fossil fuel energies. Decentralized compact power stations with combined heat and power generation will have to be established and optimally linked. Electromobility is changing traffic profiles, in particular in urban areas. Apart from these individual aspects, the overall issue of energy efficiency has gained a dominant importance.
All of these topics induce numerous new quantitative problems of high complexity, which are the source of new mathematical challenges.
Energy performance of buildings. Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Thus, in order to save energy, an important task is to reduce the building energy cost. One key issue for this purpose is the performance of building service systems, which can affect the climate and energy inside buildings. The control objective of buildings’ climate is to keep the room temperature in a predefined comfort zone. Matheon develops new strategies for the optimal placement of sensors, which sample the temperature and send back to the control center in the building, from where the control action (cool or heat) is made and then realized by a set of actuators.
Decentralized power station networks. In the years to come, an increasing number of buildings will produce energy in a regenerative way, e.g. via solar cell roofs and walls. Whenever the produced electrical energy is not needed at the homes, it will have to be fed into the communal electrical network system. This gives rise to multiple problems of energy distribution and optimal network management, problems of utmost mathematical and computational complexity. Within Matheon, the stability of power networks is analyzed subject to adding extra power lines into the network grid or by removing some power lines. In addition, complex optimal control problems arising in energy production, storage, and trading on energy markets are studied, e.g., hydro-electricity production and storage coupled with a stochastic model of the electricity market.
One million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 and least six million in 2030: that is the objective of the German Government, announced in the "National Development Plan for Electromobility" in 2009 and in the energy concept of September 2010. Nevertheless, on Germany’s way to become the announced lead market for electromobility, major technological challenges still have to be mastered. The key words are fuel cells, novel batteries or plug-in hybrids.
Matheon helps to reach these ambitious goals by providing a novel modelling approach and a new simulation concept for the charging and discharging of lithium-ion batteries, which are currently the most promising devices to store and convert chemical energy into electrical energy and vice versa.