Energy research

Energy research has a special role to play in the transformation.

Since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement at the latest, the global energy supply has been facing a profound transition away from fossil fuels such as coal and oil, towards renewable energy. This is particularly true for the industrialised federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

North Rhine-Westphalia can only achieve its climate goals with innovation and progress in all areas of the energy supply system. The prerequisite for this is excellent technological and socio-economic research and accelerated transfer to application. This is where energy research comes into play. 


Important driver of the energy transition

Energy research is an important instrument for making North Rhine-Westphalia a modern and climate-friendly economic location. This is because many technological and social innovations and business models for the energy system of the future have not yet been sufficiently researched or are not yet ready for widespread use. To ensure that the transformation of our energy supply system succeeds, NRW.Energy4Climate strengthens and supports innovative projects between science, business and society, initiates collaboration and organises rapid transfer to application. Research topics and innovative ideas for this can also be found in Düsseldorf, Berlin and Brussels.


Pioneer North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia is already one of the world’s strongest locations for energy research. More than 30 renowned universities and 20 excellent non-university research institutions are conducting research on the central topics of the energy system of the future. Additionally, numerous companies are also investing in research to maintain their economic success. From 2014 to 2020 alone, North Rhine-Westphalian energy research projects received more than 226 million euros in funding from the federal state and the European Union. 


A comprehensive research landscape

The strengths of energy research include solar research, storage technology development, smart grids and transformation research. Examples of outstanding research in North Rhine-Westphalia are: 

  • The Helmholtz Cluster for Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy (HC-H2) is working to develop the Rhineland area as a hydrogen model region.
  • The DLR Institute for Future Fuels in Jülich operates Synlight, the world’s largest research facility for generating artificial sunlight. The solar simulator achieves ten thousand times the intensity of natural solar radiation on Earth and is primarily used to develop solar fuels.
  • With the TESS 2.0 thermal high-temperature storage system, Aachen University of Applied Sciences is realising the Power-to-Power&Heat utilisation chain for the first time in the form of a pilot plant.
  • The Center for Wind Power Drives at RWTH Aachen University is researching and advancing drive technologies for wind turbines.
  • At the Research Centre for High Voltage Direct Current Transmission (HVDC), scientists are researching the future of power transmission and the power grid. 


Other future technologies that will increasingly be the focus of energy research in the future are, in particular, the use of hydrogen and synthetic fuels and raw materials as well as new processes for the carbon cycle. The industrial sector especially needs new technological developments and innovations to make its products and production processes climate neutral. 


In addition to technological research, socio-economic research is also exceedingly important. Starting in 2013, various research institutions from North Rhine-Westphalia joined forces to form the Virtual Institute Transformation – Energy Transition NRW, which researches the socio-economic and cultural impacts of the energy transition in North Rhine-Westphalia. 


A joint strategy for energy research

NRW.Energy4Climate wants to contribute to making energy research even more interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and focused on application and to integrating it into social discourse. To do this, the state agency cooperates closely with the EnergyResearchOffensive.NRW. The aim of this initiative is to quickly put promising research results into practice and to promote innovative technologies, processes and products that serve as role models. For this purpose NRW.Energy4Climate will support companies to initiate projects, promote future technologies and conduct innovation workshops, as well as help communicate the results to the general public. 

Your contact

Portrait des Projektmanagers für Energiewirtschaft Georg Unger. Im Hintergrund ist eine große Glasfront zu sehen.

Georg Unger

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 86-450

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