Flexible Electrical Networks (FEN2)-DC Socio-Economics


Project duration : 4/2020 – 3/2025

Funded by: BMBF Ministry

DC (Direct Current) technologies have a high potential for the energy turnaround. However, due to historical and technological reasons, they have not been sufficiently exploited to date. The field of DC technologies differs greatly in terms of the technological maturity of DC technologies (Technology Readiness Level, TRL) and thus their market readiness. In addition, the use of DC technologies varies not only in terms of technological maturity but also depends on the socio-technical conditions surrounding each use case, e.g. cross country differences. So far, it is largely unclear which socio-economic conditions are necessary or conducive for the development and an accelerated market diffusion of DC technologies.

As such, this project aims to answer the question: Which DC technologies fit into which socio-spatial contexts because they are economically viable and socially implementable, and which factors determine their emergence, their development in niches, and their market diffusion towards mass transformation processes? The project tackles this question with the FEN Use Cases DC Commercial Building and DC Quartier as examples. The focus is on the conditions for the successful establishment of DC technologies (and combinations thereof) as well as on supporting and inhibiting factors of their market introduction and diffusion.

More specifically, the project plans to develop a novel integrative interdisciplinary overall model to determine the Niche Readiness (NRL) of DC technologies as well as a multidimensional analysis approach for the interaction of Niche Readiness and market diffusion dynamics.

This project runs for five years from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2024. It is part of the FEN (Flexible Electrical Networks) Research Campus funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is a joint effort by the following institutes at RWTH Aachen University.