Energy systems are in a state of flux: New technological solutions are called for - particularly if it’s a matter of renewable energy sources or smart grids. In order to meet these challenges, VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company, and Vienna University of Technology, Austria’s largest university of science and technology, are joining forces in a five-year energy research alliance. The common goal is to promote forward-looking research in the energy sector, strengthen the university teachings and recruit especially bright sparks for the energy sector. In the process, the themes extend from electric mobility and energy management right through to new innovative methods of electricity storage.
Jointly financed research 2011 - 2015
The cooperation agreement was signed on 9 March 2011 by the dean of Vienna University of Technology, Peter Skalicky, and VERBUND CEO, Wolfgang Anzengruber, in the presence of Federal Minister for Science and Research, Beatrix Karl. There is a long list of jointly targeted research projects, the costs of which are to be shared in accordance with the skills on both sides; the funding-quota will be optimised.
An optimistic look at future projects
Dean Peter Skalicky is hoping that the cooperation will result in scientific successes: "In our capacity as a technical university, we not only undertake academic fundamental research, but rather also seek solutions for concrete technological problems. VERBUND is a valuable partner for us - one with whom we wish to provide new impetus for research in the energy sector."
VERBUND CEO Wolfgang Anzengruber also views the cooperation with a great deal of optimism: "The energy research alliance with Vienna University of Technology is a strategic and trans-sectoral partnership that has European standards of excellence in order to jointly meet the challenges in the energy sector. The close link between science and the economy enables us to design the energy system of the future with the spirit of innovation, know-how and economic strength for responsible people."
The development of sustainable solutions in the energy sector is an issue of major global importance for Federal Minister Beatrix Karl. "The cooperation between Vienna University of Technology and VERBUND is a win-win situation and strengthens the domestic scientific and economic landscape," says the science and research minister. "I am proud that domestic universities and companies make a significant contribution by means of top-level scientific research and application orientation, and therewith also position themselves internationally."
Hydropower and alternative energy
The spectrum of planned key areas of research is extensive. An important role is played by the issue of hydropower – both for Vienna University of Technology, as well as for VERBUND. Here there is a need for research into new turbine concepts and plant construction. In addition, engineering hydrology attempts to predict the characteristics of rivers and river basins. Renewable energy carriers are of great importance for the future of the electrical industry. In the case of technologies such as wind power or photovoltaics, VERBUND wishes to play a leading role with the aid of Vienna University of Technology research. It is also intended that research be made into new methods of energy storage.
Electric vehicles and modern power grids
One issue that is becoming increasingly important for our daily lives is that of electric mobility. If increasing numbers of combustion engines are to be replaced by electric vehicles, not only do charging stations and battery systems need to be created - the power grid will face new challenges too. A modern, locally controlled power grid will require intelligent electronic control mechanisms. Last but not least, studies dealing with long-term scenarios and trends in electricity consumption and electricity production are also important for the energy industry - not just in Austria, but throughout the world.