What does research actually do at the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences? A great deal! And we want to show that too. So it's high time for a magazine that packs concentrated research knowledge in a way that is easy to understand. The HFT Stuttgart's science magazine "metropol" has succeeded in doing just that in style.
The first issue already deals with an everyday and red-hot topic: How does energy transition work? The example of the municipality of Wüstenrot is used to illustrate this. More than 10 years ago, a small community near Heilbronn decided to take the energy transition into its own hands and was looking for a strong partner. They found one in the HFT Stuttgart. In the form of several projects since 2010, the community has been transformed step by step into a plus-energy community. The community now produces more energy than it actually needs itself. It even feeds its surplus energy back into the system. A goal that many larger cities and municipalities can only dream of.
"Everything starts on a greenfield site" is not only how the main article in the magazine starts, but also the project in the municipality of Wüstenrot. Better said: underneath it. And it takes the form of agrothermics. Pipes - buried deep in the ground - lead from precisely this meadow to an adjacent settlement. Why? The technology uses the ground's geothermal energy to supply the residential buildings in the settlement. This means that it provides heat in winter and cooling on hot summer days. Ten years ago, this form of energy supply was still completely new and unexplored. There were no empirical values.
The brains behind this idea are Dr. Dirk Pietruschka, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology at the HFT Stuttgart, and Thomas Löffelhardt, Technical Manager of the Building and Energy Division of the Wüstenrot Municipality. A few years earlier, when they didn't know each other at all, Löffelhardt and his counterpart - Dirk Storz, Managing Director of the company "die Erneuerbaren" - shared a vision in a friendly atmosphere at the "Billardstüble Greuthof" in Wüstenrot: Wüstenrot is becoming independent and is to become a plus-energy community by 2020. At an event held as part of the "Energetikom", they met Dirk Pietruschka, who not only brings specialist knowledge, but also the right idea in the form of agrothermics. The cooperation takes off. "Before we could get started, we first had to convince the local council. Together we won them over to the idea of the village investing in a technology that had not yet been tried and tested," says Löffelhardt. But it didn't stop at the PlusEnergy settlement. In the last decade, the municipality has initiated and mastered five major research projects together with researchers from the HFT Stuttgart.
An entire community becomes a research field for different disciplines
At the moment, the fields of acceptance and mobility research are very much in demand in Wüstenrot, because energy transition not only means a change in energy supply, but also in areas such as one's own mobility. For example, the mobility behaviour of people in Wüstenrot is being studied with the aim of identifying where exactly charging stations for e-cars should be installed or how a bidirectional charging system can best be implemented. In this system, e-cars serve as intermediate storage and are coupled with the house electricity. To prevent the grid from collapsing, it must be analysed, for example, when charging would be best. In addition, there is the idea of car-sharing in Wüstenrot. A sustainable and important need, because many cars stand unused for days in the driveway or on the street. Why not simply share e-cars and thus contribute to the energy transition? The idea is well received and several neighbouring communities are participating in this project. So you can see that things are still interesting in Wüstenrot and that there are still many ideas that would like to be realised.
Such a sense of climate competence and sustainability cannot be taken for granted - especially for a small community. It is therefore not surprising that people from all over the world, e.g. China, the Caribbean and the USA, are now making pilgrimages to Wüstenrot to find out what a small municipality has achieved with a lot of courage and élan together with the population. The complete story about this unique project can be read in the first issue of the HFT Stuttgart's science magazine "metropol".
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