Please note: The ZO.RRO I - project has ended on June, 30th 2022.

Current information about the ZO.RRO II - project can be found here.

ZO.RRO – Zero Carbon Cross Energy System

Transformation of the energy system using the example of Thuringia

The first phase of energy transition has been realized by the establishment of renewable energies. The current second phase is determined by further efforts in: the expansion of renewable energies, the reduction of energy consumption (CO2 emissions), the increase of energy efficiency, the optimization of energy systems and the coupling of the electricity, gas, heating and mobility sectors.

This is exactly where ZO.RRO comes in, researching novel approaches and solutions for the systemic energy transition.

For more information download our ZO.RRO project flyer.

The joint project ZO.RRO is headed by the Technische Universität Ilmenau.

ZO.RRO is researching how the future energy supply can be made CO2-free and aims to optimize the energy system with self-developed solutions. One of the important research goals is the development and testing of CO2-free ancillary services by using cross-sectoral flexibility options.

In addition, ZO.RRO uses the example of Thuringia to test how generators and consumers could interact in an optimal system and how consumers can exploit synergies among themselves. ZO.RRO integrates important Thuringian experts, multipliers and companies into the project. It explicitly addresses small and medium-sized enterprises in industry, trade and the energy sector with an interest in supporting the project in the research, development and testing of flexibility options on the industry side.

The research work could serve as a model for other regions in Germany in the future.

Project objectives

Power generation with renewable energies is well established in Germany. The energy transition is entering the next phase and is focused on the decarbonization of the entire energy supply. The use of more efficient technologies and systems, the coupling of the electricity, heat and mobility sectors, and improved interaction between consumers and generators play an important role in this process.

Development of concepts, methods and solutions for a CO2-free energy supply with focus on CO2-free ancillary services

Development of methods and algorithms to measure the contribution to CO2 emissions from energy consumption

Derivation of scenarios for minimizing the CO2 contribution through the contribution of flexibility options

Development of flexibilization potentials in industry

Testing of the concepts by integration in companies

This is where ZO.RRO comes in, researching novel approaches and solutions for the systemic energy system transformation. The research goal is to enable a CO2-free energy supply in the future. The project focuses on ancillary services, as they account for up to 20 percent of CO2 emissions in energy supply. After a concept phase, the solutions developed are to be tested and evaluated in terms of their feasibility together with representative demonstrators.

Fields of work

  • Energy system analysis & deployment optimization

    Simulative investigation of practice-relevant generation and consumption scenarios in a developed model for cross-sectoral energy systems. We optimize the use of all available generation plants, storage facilities and flexibility potentials within the framework of the energy-economic management of the cross-sectoral energy supply system, taking into account fluctuating feed-ins and energy demands.

  • Cross-sectoral grid operation

    We design the cross-sectoral grid operation and develop a system design for the provision of ancillary services in order to derive and demonstrate deployment and security concepts for CO2-free energy supply.

  • IT infrastructure & IT systems

    We design, conceptualize and test exemplary new IT infrastructure and systems in which deployment plans for CO2-free ancillary services can be created and implemented. These can be, for example, management systems for storage and flexibility offers (storage-flexibility-offer-platform). For this purpose, a new type of supervision instance will be set up as a superordinate recording, planning/coordination, monitoring and accounting instance.

  • Industry & large-scale business

    We identify state-wide, cross-sectoral flexibility potentials in industry and commerce with a focus on CO2-free options. We address the most important sectors in all regions of Thuringia and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) with prior experience from energy efficiency projects. The aim is to identify standard solutions and recommendations for action and to concretize flexibilization potentials in the respective sectors.

  • Demonstration projects & overall integration

    We are preparing the demonstrator phase, in which the cross-sectoral energy supply will be implemented with demonstrators in Thuringia and examined for feasibility. We integrate this into an overall concept. The aim of the investigation is to answer the question of what capacities are required to minimize the use of conventional power plants.

  • Research scenario Thuringia

    We determine Thuringia-specific parameters (typical profiles or requirements for feed-in, final energy, utilization energy, loads) for a future, CO2-free and cross-sectoral energy supply system. In doing so, we involve partners from the Thuringian economy, companies and multipliers by offering workshops and specialist events throughout the entire project. Our targeted public relations work ensures transparency and addresses the broadest possible audience in Thuringia.

ZO.RRO I Consortium

Who was part of the ZO.RRO-Team in the first phase of the project? All joint partners, their motivation and goals can be found here. Follow the link below to learn more:

Consortium ZO.RRO I Project.

Field test vision ZO.RRO I

The vision of the field test of the ZO.RRO I Project with all details can be found here.

ZO.RRO I Field Test

Key terms

  • Systemic energy transition

    Following an overall system approach, all individual components of the system are considered, evaluated in terms of their efficiency and cost-effectiveness and finally interconnected. The central components are the sectors (electricity, heating / cooling, mobility and industry), the options of flexibility, the interaction of generators and consumers, the digitalization of the energy industry as well as the CO2-free provision of ancillary services.

  • Sector coupling

    Why does the ZO.RRO project focus on sector coupling?
    ZO.RRO demonstrates how companies can reduce their CO2 emissions. One option is to implement technologies which connect the sectors of electricity, heat, gas and mobility in order to use renewable energies in various ways. Sector coupling comprises e.g. usage of electric batteries, heat pumps (power-to-heat), e-mobility (power-to-mobility) as well as green hydrogen generation (power-to-gas).

    Sector coupling is understood as the connection of electricity, heat, mobility and industrial processes in terms of energy technology and economy. [BDEW] The coupling enables more flexibility between the sectors and enables the increased use of renewable energies in the heating and mobility sector. Source: BDEW2

    Quelle: BDEW2

  • Decarbonization

    85 percent of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to the provision of energy in the form of electricity, heat and mobility. 98 percent of the emissions are carbon dioxide, the rest consists of methane and nitrous oxide. Since 1990, carbon dioxide emissions have decreased from 990 million tons to 750 million tons, which corresponds to a reduction of 27.5 percent [UBA]. Germany's main targets are to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and 80-95 percent by 2050. In the Paris Agreement, Germany committed itself internationally to taking actions to limit global warming to <2 degrees Celsius.

    Source: UBA1

  • Interaction between consumers and generators:

    State of the art is that the generation output is controlled in accordance with the current demand. New concepts extend this control system and include consumers who can vary the scope or timing of their energy demand. This flexibility can be expanded with storage solutions. The expanded control includes the expansion of communication with, for example, "smart meters" and new legal regulations.

  • Ancillary services

    Why does the ZO.RRO project focus on ancillary services?
    For a CO2-free energy system in the future, it is essential that not only energy generation but also all necessary measures to secure and restore grid stability (so called ancillary services) must be provided CO2-free.

    Ancillary services include measures that ensure stable grid operation. In addition to control power, i.e. compensation for differences between actual consumption and scheduled generation, the most important measures include black start service after a supply failure and reactive power compensation.

  • Demand Side Management

    Why does the ZO.RRO project focus on Demand Side Management?
    The ZO.RRO project recommends individually how companies can reduce their CO2 emissions. One option is demand side management. Depending on the availability of renewable energy, process steps can be delayed (load shifting) or production machines can be utilized differently (partial load operation).

    Demand Side Management
    To learn more about this principle of managing production processes in a flexible manner, read the newsletter article issued by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. (source: newsletter of Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, issue 01/2017, 25th January, 2017)
    Also, you can find detailed information by visiting the English Website of the German Energy Agency (dena | Deutsche Energie Agentur).

  • Industrial flexibility options

    Why does the ZO.RRO project focus on industrial flexibility options?

    The ZO.RRO project provides individual recommendations on how companies can react on the fluctuating availability of renewable energies in the future in order to enable a production process free from interference while reducing CO2 emissions and costs (starting 2022).

Project funding

In behalf of the entire consortium, we would like to thank our funding providers:

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
On the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag
Funding code: 03ET4080A-E

The Free State of Thuringia – Thuringian Ministry for the environment, energy and nature conservation