While I’m happy to tutor the Ministry of Economic Affairs in defining energy efficiency, it seems, or parts of this House, to understand the importance of energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is probably interesting enough, at least for research, as the message below shows. At the same time, energy efficiency is often the cheapest source of energy for industrial companies today, and the resource is not well known.
Holistic consideration of energy consumption in production processes
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) is setting a new trend in energy research with the “eta factory” research project. With the “Energy-efficient factory for interdisciplinary technology and application research” the energy efficiency of an entire industrial production process is considered and optimized for the first time.
Federal Minister Dr. Philipp Rösler: “Increasing energy efficiency – also in the industrial sector – is a central element of the energy transition. It is therefore also a focus of our energy research program. With the holistic view of the production process, we create space for further innovations. As a modern industrial location, we need this to successfully implement our energy transition.”
Under the leadership of the Technical University of Darmstadt, twelve companies and five research institutes and universities have joined forces to work on the factory of the future as part of the “eta factory” project. The aim is to reduce the primary energy requirements of industrial production by up to 40 percent. For this purpose, a research factory will be set up and continuously optimized as an overall system from a production chain in connection with the building.
The BMWi is funding the project with 7.9 million euros. The results of the project will also serve to train young scientists and will be incorporated into the future conception of energy-saving production facilities via an industrial working group.
Is research just a fig leaf?
In principle very interesting and important, but industrial energy efficiency is also a topic for practice, not just for research. As long as the BMWi does not recognize the importance of energy efficiency for the German economy in practice, I have to point this out again and again and see such research projects only as an alibi measure. This research is certainly important for the holistic view of energy consumption in the production process, I don’t want to downplay that. But energy efficiency is a great opportunity for the German economy and not a burden to reduce its own energy consumption and the