09.2016 - 07.2026

The Kopernikus Project SynErgie

With the Kopernikus projects, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the largest research initiative on the energy transition in 2016. Over a period of ten years, technological and economic solutions will be developed in the four key areas of new grid structures, power-to-X, industrial processes and system integration. A total of 400 million euros is available for this.

In the SynErgie project, FfE is working on making industrial processes more flexible. In line with legal and social aspects, the project aims to create all technical and market-related prerequisites to synchronize the energy requirements of German industry with the volatile energy supply.

SynErgie thus contributes to the socially accepted and cost-efficient realization of the energy transition based on renewable energies. The gained insights also form the basis for Germany to become a leading international provider of flexible industrial processes and technologies.


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

The research areas

  • Industrial sectors – Key production processes
  • Production infrastructure
  • Information and communication technology (ICT)
  • Market and electricity system
  • Potential analysis and systemic consideration
  • Energy-flexible model region

Start of the third phase of the Kopernikus project SynErgie

In collaboration with other research institutes and industry representatives, FfE will be working on the following topics until July 2026:

For industrial districts and sector coupling FfE is involved in the work package “Energy flexibility in the Stadtbach industrial quarter“. In the Augsburg model region, the energy and CO2-intensive industrial district is being prepared with regard to its energy, economic and climate-related potential for implementing the transformation. The focus of the industrial quarter is on the question of how a climate-neutral heat supply can be designed using different energy sources and how it can be achieved economically with regard to the current and possible future regulatory framework conditions. FfE is concentrating on the evaluation of the overall heat planning, including the comparison, validation and evaluation of the derived energy flexibility of the municipal heat planning and the Stadtbach industrial district. The aim of “Energy flexibilization through bidirectional charging management” is to develop and implement a bidirectional e-fleet charging management system. FfE is supporting the implementation of flexible charging management with simulations and thus investigating the economic and ecological potential.

As part of the potential analysis, SynErgie 3 is examining the following areas of work:

  • In the international market analysis and business model development for export technologies, FfE is investigating the significance of energy flexibility in an international context with the help of its partners. The knowledge gained is to be used to develop a guideline that quantifies possible realizations of energy flexibility provision in other countries (market analysis, business models).
  • For the continuous survey and aggregation of practical energy flexibility potentials, the flexibility potentials and perspectives of various industrial sectors, which were extensively surveyed in the first and second project phases, will be regularly updated and supplemented by the analysis of other processes. This makes it possible to further refine the quantification of the industrial flexibility potential in Germany.
  • The aim of the industrial transformation and interactions with industrial energy flexibility work package is to investigate sector-specific transformation plans and the future role of hydrogen in industry. In addition, the effects of these findings on energy flexibility potentials will be analyzed.

In the energy-flexible model region of Augsburg, FfE is carrying out a practice-oriented energy flexibility analysis of grid-bound district heating supply systems in combination with commercial waste heat utilization. Contributions to the flexibilization of energy demand include the development of flexibility marketing strategies and the development of recommendations for the transferability of these strategies to other regions in cooperation with the Augsburg municipal utilities.

In the further development of regulation, FfE is developing and testing a method for deriving recommendations for the expansion of the energy management standard DIN EN ISO 50001 to include the topic energy flexibility. The energy management standard currently requires certified companies to continuously improve their performance-related energy indicators, which can conflict with an energy-flexible approach. The aim is to develop a white paper with recommendations for action to expand DIN 50001 to include the topic of energy flexibility.

A look at FfE’s results from the second funding phase of the Kopernikus project SynErgie

Abbildung 2: Gesamtprojekttreffen 2019 (Quelle: SynErgie Koordinierungsstelle)

To expand on the book from the first funding phase, a second volume entitled “Market and electricity system, management systems and technologies of energy-flexible factories” was published to summarize the results. In the second project phase, FfE once again focused on analyzing energy flexibility potentials (EFP) and their effects on the energy system.  To analyze and identify flexibilities, the energy flexibility audit was developed as a practical tool with which companies can pursue their energy flexibility goals both technically and economically. This audit was successfully implemented at two sites of the project partners Kärcher and Alois Müller, enabling a total of 28 energy flexibility measures (EFM) to be identified and characterized

For the aggregation of the energy flexibility potentials and prospects of the key production processes and cross-section technologies considered in SynErgie, an EFP of 9.0 GW or 46 TWh/a results in the case of a load increase and a call-off duration of at least 15 minutes. In the case of load reduction, an EFP of 10.7 GW or 48 TWh/a results for the same call-off duration. The data is tracked in an energy flexibility database. This was revised as part of the preparations for the third funding phase. The methodology is based on the questionnaires developed in the first funding phase.

For the identified EFM and their EFP, a CO2 avoidance potential of approx. 700,000 t CO2 has been identified so far, which could be achieved by making electricity more flexible in industry. Selected disruptive CO2 reduction measures in industry result in an additional positive and negative EFP of 7.7 GW and 6.3 GW respectively in 2050 compared to 2018. Energy flexibility increases to 10.8 TWh in the same period. Capping CO2 emission peaks by reducing load will continue to offer great potential for reducing CO2 emissions in the future, but from an economic point of view, the use of load increases has greater potential for reducing costs. The regional distribution of EFP is crucial for grid-friendly use. Particularly high EFP can be seen in the German industrial centers (North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate). A systemic cost-benefit assessment was carried out to classify industrial EFM against competing flexibility options. The results allow conclusions to be drawn on attractive areas of application from a system perspective with implications for future priorities and regulatory framework conditions.

Successful completion of the first project phase in the Kopernikus project SynErgie

As part of the first project phase, the book “Energy Flexibility in German Industry” was compiled and summarizes all relevant results and findings.

The first project phase was successfully completed for FfE in 2019. As part of the SynErgie project, FfE developed a methodology for surveying flexibility potential in collaboration with other research institutes and industry representatives. The initial focus was on the following sectors of the basic materials industry – chemicals, refractories, glass, steel and cement. Typical processes in the individual sectors were identified together with industry representatives. The potential for load flexibilization was initially determined at process level for chlor-alkali electrolysis, raw material smelting plants, container glass production, electric arc furnaces and raw material and cement grinding.

The focus was on developing a questionnaire to survey the flexibility potential and identify existing obstacles. In order to analyze the hurdles to implementation in more detail, additional on-site visits were made to companies.

It was found that the processes in the basic materials industry are, in principle, well suited for use in load flexibilization due to their comparatively high connected loads. However, capacity utilization in these industries is particularly high, i.e. production runs almost all year round, with the exception of necessary maintenance intervals. This often leaves little room for flexibility. The particular challenge is to compensate for a reduction in production due to a temporary load reduction in order to avoid a loss of production. In addition, the high capacity utilization limits the options for increasing the load, as the systems are usually already operating at almost full load. Nevertheless, the sectors under consideration could make an important contribution to flexibility in the future.

A first step in this direction has already been taken in the course of the project by investigating future potential through technical interventions or changes to processes – so-called flexibility perspectives. These primarily include the hybridization and electrification of processes as well as other measures that enable more flexible plant operation.

In addition, FfE was involved in the development of requirement profiles. These describe characteristic energy industry situations for the provision of flexibility:

The “Short-term load adjustment” profile was defined based on the minute reserve. It describes short-term load reductions or increases that are necessary to compensate for short-term fluctuations in generation and consumption.

The “Load adjustment over several hours” profile covers electricity price fluctuations due to the fluctuating feed-in from photovoltaics and wind energy over the course of the day. By adjusting consumption, the costs for electricity procurement can be reduced.

The “dark doldrums” require a reduction in load over several days. In winter, weaker solar radiation and several consecutive windless and cloudy days can lead to very unfavorable situations for generation from renewable energies and thus extreme price peaks. Significant revenues can be generated by reducing the load during this period and reselling the electricity that has already been contracted.

You can find fact sheets and exemplary evaluations of the requirement profiles in the download area.


The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMBF) (funding codes: 03SFK3E3-3 (e.V.) & 03SFK3O0-3 (GmbH)).

Study „Flexibilitätsoptionen in der Grundstoffindustrie – Methodik, Potenziale, Hemmnisse“

In cooperation with other research institutes and industry representatives, the FfE has published a comprehensive study entitled ” Flexibilitätsoptionen in der Grundstoffindustrie – Methodik, Potenziale, Hemmnisse”. This is available for download here.

Study „Flexibilitätsoptionen in der Grundstoffindustrie II – Analysen, Technologien, Beispiele“

In cooperation with other research institutes and industry representatives, FfE has published a comprehensive study entitled ” Flexibilitätsoptionen in der Grundstoffindustrie II – Analysen, Technologien, Beispiele”. This is available for download here.