ZO.RRO - Zero Carbon Cross Energy System

A Climate-Neutral Industrial Sector: The ZO.RRO II Energy Research Projects Demonstrate Different Tools and Approaches

  • Climate neutral production is the key to preserving jobs and production sites.

  • The ZO.RRO simulation tool calculates possible energy transition trajectories and roadmaps for Thuringian companies and the entire Free State of Thuringia

  • The ZO.RRO 2 Project for the glass industry launched with federal funding.

Erfurt, October 26, 2023: Zero Carbon Cross Energy System. In the second phase, the ZO.RRO joint projects are now working on innovative solutions for a climate-neutral industrial sector, through the use of applied energy research. In addition to the state project ZO.RRO II SME, the federally funded project ZO.RRO 2 was launched in August 2023 with a focus on the glass industry.

The ZO.RRO II conference on October 26, 2023 brought key players of business, science and politics together, along with representatives of the state and federal ministries. Over 100 participants were present at the kick-off event for the project phase of this federally-funded project, focused on the glass industry. In addition, the ZO.RRO II SME project, funded by the Free State of Thuringia, presented simulations of Thuringian industrial companies that digitally demonstrate their path to decarbonization, in order to assist them in making investment decisions under dynamic conditions, regulations, and limitations.

“Renewable energy is an enormously important location factor. It makes Thuringia's economy independent, ensures predictable energy costs and creates added value here in the state. With ZO.RRO, we are bringing together different types of renewable energy with the energy-intensive processes in our economy. The expansion of the energy grid is also an important component of this. Our recently launched exchange with the key players lays down further groundwork for a successful climate-friendly economy in Thuringia," says Thuringian Minister for the Thuringian Minister for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation, Bernhard Stengele. (See original quote in German here).

The simulations are carried out using an open-source energy system modeling tool from the Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences, which is also used in the study "So geht´s" ("How it works”) (2021) to demonstrate possible paths to achieve climate neutrality for the entire state of Thuringia. The calculations at the state level were also updated and the tool was continuously developed further.

Professor Dr. Viktor Wesselak from the Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences, head of the ZO.RRO II SME project, emphasizes the need for concrete steps to be taken in the coming years: "The calculations show that wind energy and photovoltaics are particularly important for the energy system transition in Thuringia. It is also interesting to note that biogas will be too valuable for electricity generation in the future, as it will be crucially needed instead as a green fuel for the industrial sector". (See original quote in German here)

The ThEEN Association applies energy system modeling to calculate and depict what the optimal climate neutral energy supply would look like for different Thüringen industrial companies, through the creation of holistic transition concepts. Discussions with companies also make it clear that a local supply of renewable energy is an important locational advantage and economic factor in maintaining the companies’ competitiveness.

ThEEN Managing Director Jana Liebe has a positive outlook: "With the tools that we are developing in ZO.RRO II, we are creating the tools for climate-neutral production. Companies can calculate their energy transition trajectories with different scenarios. This also supports companies in their investment decisions. For Thuringia's economy in particular, decarbonization is an opportunity for creating added value in the region and is important for location and job security". (See original quote in German here)

Following their collaboration in the joint project ZO.RRO I (2019-2022), there was a reunion with researchers from the Technische Universität Ilmenau and other industry and research partners. After gaining approval, the ZO.RRO 2: Zero Carbon Cross Energy System for Glass Industry project began on August 1, 2023 with the aim of demonstrating how a highly available, sustainable and economical electrical energy supply can be implemented using the Thuringian glass industry and metalworking industry as examples.

Project leader Professor Dr. Dirk Westermann from the Technische Üniversität Ilmenau is proud of the successful continuation of the project into the second phase: "What is outstanding about ZORRO 2 is that we are looking at all of the relevant fields of action for the decarbonization of the industrial sector. This includes the adaptation of the public supply infrastructure and the transformation of core processes, as well as sector-coupling secondary processes such as the provision of heating the space or logistics. The optimized energy supply and the associated energy services are also considered. The resulting tools reduce the complexity of the topic making implementation more manageable for industry". (See original quote in German here)

The project received 2.9 million euros worth of funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection as part of the 7th Energy Research Program. The following organizations are involved in the research project with federal funding: Fraunhofer IOSB-AST- Applied Systems Technology Division, IfE GmbH - Ingenieurbüro für Energiewirtschaft, KoCoS Messtechnik AG, Wiegand-Glashüttenwerke GmbH, TEAG Thüringer Energie AG, TEN Thüringer Energienetze GmbH und Co KG, TMZ Thüringer Mess- und Zählerwesen Service GmbH, the HEINZ-GLAS Group, 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, HM Heizkörper GmbH Heating Technology.

ZO.RRO II Conference- A Climate Neutral Industrial Sector (Video in German)


Study: Prof. Dr. Viktor Wesselak/ M. Eng. Amelie Oberdorfer (2022) : Fortschreibung des Thüringer Klimagesetzes – Ergebnisse der Energiesystemmodellierung, Hochschule Nordhausen, Institut für Regenerative Energietechnik, Link: https://www.hs-nordhausen.de/fileadmin/Dateien/Forschung/ESY_Klimagesetz.pdf

Short Video (in German) : ZO.RRO II im Interview: Klimaneutralität bis 2035 mit Prof. Dr. Viktor Wesselak Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oldxxAqeRA&t=1s

Photo: FLTR

Dr.-Ing. Steffen Schlegel (TU Ilmenau), Frank Peter (Agora Energiewende), Minister Bernhard Stengele (TMUEN), Christoph Frenkel (ThEEN), Jana Liebe (ThEEN), Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Dirk Westermann (TU Ilmenau)

Source: ThEEN/Photograph: Tristan Vostry

Press Contact

Thuringian Ministry for Environment, Energy, and Natural Protection (Thüringer Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie und Naturschutz,)
Tom Wetzling, E-Mail:  Tel.: 0361 57-3911930

ThEEN e.V., Maria Siegl, E-Mail: maria.siegl@theen-ev.de, Tel.: 0361 663 82 286

About ZO.RRO II KMU-Zero Carbon Cross Energy System: Case Study Thuringia

ZO.RRO II is a Thuringian energy research project that investigates[HS1]  the transformation of our energy system. The Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences and the Thuringian Renewable Energy Network (ThEEN) e.V. want to demonstrate how Thuringian industrial companies can decarbonize their energy supply. A key tool for this is energy system modeling, which was developed as part of phase 1 of the project. The results were published in the study "How Thuringia can become climate-neutral by 2050 - the results of energy system modeling". The study shows that it is both feasible and affordable for Thuringia to become climate neutral by 2050. The calculated energy transition trajectories for Thuringia represent an important scientific basis for energy policy discussions in the state. The model behind the study was created using an open-source software and published in full. ZO.RRO II is receiving funding from the Thuringian Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation in the time period from Januay 1st, .2022 to December 31st, 2024.


About ThEEN e.V.

As an innovation cluster and competence network for renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency and sector coupling, the Thuringian Renewable Energy Network (ThEEN) e.V. represents more than 300 companies, individual members, research facilities, municipalities and institutions. Its member associations include the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Thüringer Wasserkraftwerke (Consortium of Thuringian Hydroelectric power plants), The German Wind Energy Association-Thuringian chapter  (Bundesverband WindEnergie - Landesgruppe Thüringen), Biogas Trade Association-Eastern Regional Office (Fachverband Biogas - Regionalbüro Ost), SolarInput. ThEEN is responsible for the communication work for both ZO.RRO projects.