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Energy managers, refrigeration engineers and local heating engineers – university offers free further training

The now completed project “Expansion and digitalization of efficient regenerative local heating networks” (ADerN) at the Institute for Hydrogen and Energy Technology at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iwe) was a great success: over 60 companies from the local heating sector benefited from the further training measures financed by the European Social Fund and in some cases pushed ahead with their own implementation plans – within two years of the project, several local heating networks were created, among other things. A follow-up project is now set to transfer the successful model to three new networks, focusing on heating networks, air conditioning and refrigeration technology and energy efficiency in industry. All three networks will be constituted at a kick-off meeting on April 22 at Hof University of Applied Sciences. It is still possible to participate in all three networks.

Lively participation at the local heating network meeting as part of the
project ADerN; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Energy policy in Germany is undergoing dynamic change: Legal framework conditions and opportunities are changing, sometimes at ever shorter intervals. It is therefore necessary to inform supply companies and decision-makers about the current technical and bureaucratic status and to ensure a transfer of knowledge to create a reliable and economical energy supply in Bavaria. However, the ADerN project, which expired at the end of 2023, achieved much more than this:

We actually only wanted to bring the stakeholders up to date in terms of local heating. But we were also able to help build 3 new grids, test them for efficiency and keep connecting new consumers.”

Dr.-Ing. Andy Gradel, Deputy Director of iwe

Projects in implementation

Many of the participants were very positive about the completed project:

“We were able to expand our knowledge considerably, made many new contacts and received a great many suggestions that will have a positive impact on our efficiency and profitability.”

Reinhold Behr, Friedrich-Wilhelm Raiffeisen Energie eG

He continued: “Some of the measures have already been successfully implemented, while others are still pending, either in the implementation phase or under review. This allows us to implement further grid connections with relatively little effort. Networking with Hof University of Applied Sciences, other heating network operators and companies was also very helpful. New ideas emerged that will also help us move forward in the future,” explains Reinhold Behr from Friedrich-Wilhelm Raiffeisen Energie eG in Großbardorf, for example. And Herbert Groh from the strategic infrastructure planning department of the city of Hof demands:

We also need a network like this to be able to talk openly about failures and learn from them together.”

Herbert Groh, City of Hof

Green Innovations GmbH from Olching also benefited from the interfaces created, which “was able to generate five further funding applications for heating networks with the help of the network and has eighteen more in the pipeline”, according to Managing Director Harald Ley. The project meetings were similarly fruitful for the companies WILO SE Werk Hof and Sandler AG, where new local heating networks are now being built. The work in the local heating network will now be continued in the new project phase under the name EnerNet.

Contact the local heating team: projekt-adern@hof-university.de

Two new networks are formed

The local heating network, financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Upper Franconia Foundation, is now to be expanded further: In future, for example, free further training courses are also to be offered in the areas of air conditioning and refrigeration technology as well as in the field of energy management in industry and trade, and people can now take part in these. The Institute for Hydrogen and Energy Technology at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iwe) will continue to play a key role here:

We will also network all parties involved here, provide them with independent advice and ensure the best possible transfer of knowledge – because the hurdles to local heating remain: They are often communication or bureaucratic obstacles that can be removed through the exchange of information between all parties involved within the value chain.”

Prof. Dr. Tobias Plessing, Head of the Institute for Hydrogen and Energy Technology (iwe)

Air conditioning and refrigeration technology network

Air conditioning and refrigeration technology are rapidly growing sectors, but they are facing major challenges: “The demand for air conditioning systems will continue to increase due to the rise in average temperatures. New digital system solutions and combinations of different systems are needed – for example, photovoltaics combined with air conditioning systems and cold accumulators. Despite full order books and often lucrative salaries, there is often a lack of young technical talentcompanies need to create incentives for young people to enter this industry,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. In addition, there is the switch to natural refrigerants and the many newly installed heat pumps that need to be repaired and maintained at some point. The switch to new materials as part of the PFAS regulation is also keeping manufacturers on their toes. The new network offers the opportunity for exchange at regular meetings and provides information about changes in the legal situation. In addition – in consultation with the refrigeration colleges in the region – further training courses are offered to supplement the training of mechatronics engineers for refrigeration technology, which are based on the current state of the art and the latest research. The training content includes documentation, flammable refrigerants, in particularCO2. There will also be further training opportunities for technicians. The network’s target group includes manufacturing companies, planning offices and trade businesses from the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

Contact the “Air conditioning and refrigeration” network: klima-kaelte@hof-university.de

Energy management network

Increasing energy efficiency in industrial processes is one of the key measures for achieving ambitious climate targets. Process energy in the form of heat, electricity and compressed air as well as the energy requirements for the vehicle fleet in the mobility sector are therefore the areas that industry will have to address in the future. The energy transition is more difficult to achieve for small and medium-sized companies than for large companies, which can hire external company representatives or specialist staff to make the energy transition.

The future network for energy managers offers a further training program to specifically train an employee for the tasks involved in the energy management of companies. There will also be network meetings to share challenges and solutions.”

Dr.-Ing. Andy Gradel

“As the progress of restructuring depends on the size of the company and investment opportunities and openness to innovation vary greatly, it is important to network the people responsible for energy management with each other,” say the network managers.

Dr.-Ing. Andy Gradel, Deputy Head of the Institute for Hydrogen and
Energy Technology at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iwe); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The target group of the energy management network includes people working in energy management at small, medium-sized and large companies. The content of the training program includes technical basics, legal framework conditions, profitability calculations and reporting in accordance with DIN 17463, technical energy management in companies in accordance with DIN EN 16247 and DIN EN ISO 5001, measurement applications and an overview of devices, software solutions and funding programs.

Contact the Energy Manager team: energiemanager@hof-university.de

Register now for the kick-off meeting!

You can register for the first meeting of all three networks here…

Rainer Krauß