Designing the Energy System of the Future

Our future energy supply should be carbon neutral, affordable, and socially sustainable. With our “Energy System Design” program, we aim to lead the way and make a significant contribution to the transition to a sustainable global energy system.

Our holistic approach: We understand the transformation of the energy system as a complex process that not only involves innovative technologies, but also affects numerous societal actors. Our scientists investigate ethical, social, political, economic, technological, and environmental aspects involved in this transition and use these as the basis for concrete recommendations on how the entire system can be successfully restructured.

Our goal is to develop an integrated energy system where energy is stored and transported in various forms, intelligent distribution networks control the flow of energy, and consumers become energy producers and can even feed electricity into the network themselves. Our researchers design all the methods and technologies required for this – from smart residential areas and urban districts through to digitally controlled European transmission grids.

By pooling our expertise in this way, we aim to play a role in transforming every area of the energy system by 2050 and beyond. We involve interest groups, political decision-makers, and the general public in this process, for example by assessing new technologies at the system level and providing access to models, methods, and tools for designing and operating energy systems. We team up with stakeholders from society in real-world laboratories, where we address current issues such as urban development, sustainability, and mobility. Together with partners from the industrial sector, we develop solutions that allow us to rapidly transfer our findings into applications.

The research infrastructure in the participating Helmholtz Centers plays a key role in our work. The “Energy Lab 2.0”, “Living Lab Energy Campus”, and “NESTEC” examine whether new approaches are technically feasible at the system level. They link energy networks and components that can be operated with real hardware under controlled conditions. These are complemented by large-scale software platforms that create models for energy systems, for instance, or simulate various scenarios depending on the weather conditions.


  • In the “Energy System Design” program we are aiming to design the integrated energy system of the future.
  • We are pursuing this goal by taking a holistic approach and incorporating ethical, social, political, economic, technological, and environmental aspects in our work.
  • Our scientists assess new technologies and provide access to models, methods, and tools that can be used to design and operate the energy system of the future.
  • Interest groups, political decision-makers, and the general public are integrated in the entire transition process.


Other participating Helmholtz Centers

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ)
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB)

Research Field Energy @ HGF



Cover lookKIT magazineKIT
March 2023: lookKIT - Energy Efficient & Autonomous

The new issue of lookKIT is dedicated to the highlights from technology development that KIT will show at Hannover Messe 2023. Read, among other things, how a team of the KIT's Institute of Technical Physics (ITEP) simulates future energy supply at the Energy Lab 2.0.

lookKIT 2023/1
Energy LabKIT
March 2023: KIT at Energy Solutions @ Hannover Messe 2023

From April 17 to 21, 2023, KIT will present selected highlights from the technological development  at Energy Solutions (Hall 13, Booth C70): KIT's Energy Lab 2.0 will be the key issue: Europe's largest research infrastructure for renewable energies will focus on real-time systems for energy technologies, power-to-X, geothermal energy, and heat utilization, among others.

Further information
Pflanzende PersonenMarkus Breig, KIT
March 2023: Participation campaign - "Sustainable living and working? Challenge accepted!"

Together with KIT researchers, citizens of Karlsruhe are looking for ideas and solutions for sustainable living and working.

Press release 012/2023 (in German)
Energy Lab
January 2023: Energy Lab - Model Lab for Energy Transition

In Karlsruhe, Jülich and Stuttgart, scientists from three Helmholtz Centres are working together on technologies for the energy system of the future. To this end, they have built Europe's largest research infrastructure for renewable energies.

Helmholtz Article (in German)
Holger HanselkaKIT
January 2023: Herculean task of transforming the energy system

A commentary by Holger Hanselka, President of KIT and Vice President of the Research Field Energy of the Helmholtz Association

Helmholtz Article (in German)
LookKIT HydrogenKIT
January 2023: Hydrogen - Energy Carrier of Unlimited Potential?

Hydrogen Is the Most Abundant Element on Earth – and It Is Very Rich in Energy.

Highly developed industrialized countries such as Germany require a clean, safe, and affordable power supply – the energy crisis shows this very clearly. Hydrogen might contribute to the solution, being the most abundant chemical element in the universe and on Earth. It offers virtually unlimited potential as a carrier of energy.

KIT Topic Highlight