Smart and Sustainable Society

The third theme, Smart and Sustainable Society, aims at designing, realising and validating technologies to make possible electrical networks and electro physical devices for transporting and manipulating electrical energy in a flexible, controlled and sustainable way regarding efficiency of costs, power and materials. The focus lies on intelligent power networks, smart actuators, automotive applications and the reduction of pollution and waste.

Energy supply
Quite some conditions have and will continue to reshape the energy supply system, such as the needed introduction of renewable, but also less-predictable and less-controllable power sources (solar, wind, micro-turbines,...), market liberalization for electric power with (partly) price-sensitive producers and consumers and the arrival of plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles. Any centralized strategy to assess stability, let alone optimality of such a huge, complex, connected system will fail. Still, the question remains how to cope and control such a connected system with hundreds of millions of active and only partly predictable prosumers (producer and/or consumer) and guarantee, each point in time, a balance between production and consumption, when only very limited storage capacity of electric energy is available and any large scale disturbance brings society to a hold with billions of Euros losses.

Smart designs: reduction of waste and pollution
Previously, general-purpose electrical motors have been selected as plug-on devices for delivering easily controllable mechanical power in complex mechanical equipment. Nowadays, smart, dedicated electromagnetic and electromechanical actuator designs are required to cope with the single one industrial requirement of increasing performance with lower costs. The only solution is a smart, dedicated design with the actuator and its control being an integral part of the equipment with reduced mechanical complexity. The same trend can be observed in automotive technology. By introducing electricity as a flexible, easily manipulable power source in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric cars, driving efficiency can be improved considerably. Nowadays, electrical components for energy and communication count for more than 50% of the added value of a modern vehicle. Sustainability requires a reduction of waste and pollution, so more efficient and more effective devices and processes have to be designed.