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 their 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



In der Leitwarte des Smart Energy System Control Laboratory (SESCL) im Energy Lab 2.0 am KIT werden Daten aus Energiesystemsimulationen visualisiert.Markus Breig, KIT
November 2022: New data infrastructure for energy system research

With the energy transition comes digitisation: in order to build and control the networked and climate-neutral energy system of the future with all its components, vast amounts of data are needed. The newly established National Research Data Infrastructure for Interdisciplinary Energy System Research (nfdi4energy) is intended to facilitate the exchange and accessibility of such data sets and thus accelerate research.

KIT News
ederal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (second from the left) started the simulation at KIT’s Energy Lab 2.0.Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT
October 2022: Future Energy System: Federal Research Minister Starts Large-scale Simulation at KIT

With the goal of climate neutrality in mind, KIT researchers of Energy Lab 2.0 have built a detailed “digital twin” of the German energy system. It integrates real technical plants, such as a solar park, grid storage systems, and power-to-X facilities, and can now be used to virtually test the future energy system with all its components. On October 28th, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger started the simulation during her visit of KIT.

Press release 096/2022
Banner WorkshopFZ Jülich
2nd International workshop on "Open Source Modelling and Simulation of Energy Systems"

From 27th to 29th March 2023, the second international workshop on "Open Source Modelling and Simulation of Energy Systems" takes place in Aachen. Deadlines for paper submission and registration can be found in the following link.

Power gridKIT
September 2022: Power supply - understanding unstable grids

Increasing the capacity of existing lines or adding new lines may also reduce the overall system performance and even promote blackouts - prediction tool is published in nature communications. 

Press release 086/2022
Holger HanselkaKIT
September 2022: "What matters is how the winter turns out"

If the winter is mild, Holger Hanselka, President of KIT and Helmholtz Vice President for the Research Field Energy, believes it is likely that there will be no bottlenecks. For a very cold winter, he says, scenarios have to be developed now. In the medium and long term, he sees great potential in geothermal energy.

Helmholtz interview
StromnetzMartin Lober / KIT
September 2022: Better prediction of fluctuating electricity demand and consumption

A data-driven load model developed by KIT researchers improves planning and operation of power grids.

KIT News