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Results of the ADerN project: new local heating networks and satisfied participants

The two-year project “Expansion and digitalization of efficient renewable local heating networks” (ADerN) at the Institute for Hydrogen and Energy Technology at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iwe) has exceeded its targets: At least 60 companies from the Bavarian local heating sector were originally expected to benefit from the further training measures financed by the European Social Fund. In the end, over 100 people attended the training workshops, including 90 representatives from companies and cooperatives in the Bavarian and German local heating sector. At the final event, the project team was particularly satisfied with the networking effects and new project plans that resulted from the training series.

Final meeting of the ADerN project in November 2023. source: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

A total of 20 one-day workshops from the topic clusters of intelligent grid control and digitalization, simulation methods for grid design, alternative supplementary technologies and their implementation as well as customer acquisition and transparent communication took place between September 2022 and November 2023. The six-person project team is particularly satisfied with the construction projects that resulted from the networking during the training measures: Local heating networks are currently being planned or expanded in Naila and Erkersreuth. A local heating network was initiated in Jägersruh, but ultimately could not be realized.

However, WILO SE is now connecting itself to the agricultural farms in the neighborhood via local heating. This construction project is also a child of the university project. The impetus came from encounters, discussions and presentations during the workshops – and where required, the iwe was on hand to provide specialist input and advice.

At the start of the project, nobody thought that the topic would become so topical. Suddenly, however, it feels like local heating is relevant in every second housing estate.”

Dr. Andy Gradel, project manager and deputy director of iwe

The feedback on the project during the closing event, at which 30 workshop participants received their certificates of participation and recapitulated the project, was also consistently positive: “Thanks to the contacts in the project, we were suddenly no longer alone: many other cooperatives have similar challenges. The suggestions for increasing efficiency in the grid were particularly useful for us,” says Markus Pöhnlein, CEO of Bioenergie Nordhalben eG, on behalf of many participants.

The final meeting is almost like a family reunion, we have grown so close over the last two years.”

Prof. Dr. Tobias Plessing, Scientific Director iwe

Several companies and central trade associations enriched the project with specialist presentations. Green Innovations GmbH also founded the online forum for heating networks. It is intended to help improve communication between technology developers, manufacturers, planning offices, local authorities and network operators and enable a direct exchange of opinions. The platform is free of charge and can be accessed here.

The work from the project will be continued in 2024 via a new, ESF-funded project in the form of three networks for the heating, cooling and energy manager clusters.

Diana Stein
Dr. Andy Gradel
Katrin Müller

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