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DFG project "Blackstart" – new strategies against blackouts II

DFG project "Blackstart" – new strategies against blackouts II

Natural disasters, cyber attacks, weak points in the system: the DFG project "Blackstart" at the universities in Passau and Oldenburg, devoted to the causes of blackouts and strategies for black starts, is now going into its second funding phase.

'The challenges posed by a blackout can be coped with if one is prepared to take them on', says Professor Hermann de Meer, holder of the Chair of Computer Networks and Computer Communications at the University of Passau. In these times of the energy revolution, such a challenge consists in adjusting to the new structure of small, networked units, which are, moreover, susceptible to new sources of error. It is a question of catering to these altered conditions.

Current developments emphasise the importance of the DFG basic research project "Multi-criteria black start of ICT-¬permeated regenerative energy systems – electricity- and ICT-error-tolerant containment strategies ('Schwarzstart')". The project is already in its second funding phase. The researchers from the universities of Passau and Oldenburg are taking a very close look at the following new causes of power failures:

  • natural disasters
  • cyber attacks
  • weak points in the system, for example when decentralised energy sources such as wind and solar energy are not sufficient to cover consumer demand, or when local IT is not sufficiently equipped to control the decentralised energy supply.

Apart from that, the research team are investigating the so-called black starts that follow blackouts, in particular ways in which to escape the dilemma of modern IT being required for the restart but at the same time dependent on electricity itself. And electricity alone is not enough: the IT must also be in a position to initiate a decentralised black start, coordinate it and carry it out without any errors. The computer scientists from Passau are concentrating on the role of IT. They are working closely together with scientists from the University of Oldenburg, who are contributing their expert knowledge in the field of power supply networks. 

Initial insights from basic research, including methods for the configuration of self-sufficient energy islands, are being tested by the Passau research team in the EU Horizont2020 project LocalRES.

Participants and funding

Professor Hermann de Meer, holder of the Chair of Computer Networks and Computer Communications, is heading the project "Schwarzstart" (Blackstart) together with Professor Sebastian Lehnhoff, Professor of Energy Informatics at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. They are partnered by Professor Christian Rehtanz, head of the Institute of Energy Systems, Energy Efficiency and Energy Economics (ie3) at the Technical University (TU) Dortmund. 

Apart from that, Professor Rehtanz is spokesman for the priority programme 1984 of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which is already funding the Blackstart project in the second phase. The programme is entitled: "Hybrid and multi-modal energy systems: system-theoretical methods for the transformation and operation of complex networks." 

The priority programme is also funding another project headed by Professor de Meer, and it too is going into extra time. In the project ResiServD, the research team are occupying themselves with so-called brownouts in the new supply of electrical power.


Principal Investigator(s) at the University Prof. Dr. Hermann de Meer (Lehrstuhl für Informatik mit Schwerpunkt Rechnernetze und Rechnerkommunikation)
Source of funding
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft > DFG - Schwerpunktprogramm
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft > DFG - Schwerpunktprogramm

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