Chapel and crematory in the south cemetary of Leipzig, in the background an electrical power plant.
SPARCS Leipzig
23 november 2023 | Location: Espoo
building sustainability digital energy solution

The University of Freiburg recently hosted a seminar entitled “Digital Energy Solutions for Sustainable Urban Communities,” featuring Dr Simon Albrecht. The seminar aims to bridge the gap between students and cutting-edge developments in digital energy management, with a focus on the city of Leipzig.

The seminar began with a kick-off meeting on 25 October, with students being assigned topics on 30 October. Topics ranged from virtual power plants and dynamic charging for electric vehicles to artificial intelligence in district heating and engagement of local citizens in the energy transition. The selected topics cover a broad spectrum of digital energy management, addressing critical aspects such as virtual power plants, smart home product development, dynamic charging, AI-based district heating, local heat planning, resource planning simulation, optimisation tools, and housing and real estate in digital energy management.

Enriched learning experience

In collaboration with SPARCS partners – Leipziger Stadtwerke, City of Leipzig, University of Leipzig, and Wohnen & Service Leipzig, the University of Freiburg is actively involved in researching and demonstrating digital energy solutions. In this context, the seminar not only facilitated knowledge exchange between students and local partners, but also reached out to other SPARCS cities like Espoo, Finland. This cross-city collaboration enriches the learning experience by incorporating diverse perspectives and insights into sustainable urban energy solutions.

Energy experts from SPARCS presented their work at two sessions on 9 and 15 November, after which students were assigned seminar papers that delved into specific research questions related to the project. The seminar schedule is designed to allow students to immerse themselves in their chosen topics, with expert presentations, paper submissions, and final presentations spread over several months. This comprehensive timeline ensures a deep understanding of the subject matter and allows students to develop their expertise in a particular area.

Audience engagement and impact

The seminar is targeted at general economics students with an interest in information technology. The presentations aim to convey not only the technical aspects of each topic but also their societal importance. Students are encouraged to answer key questions about their chosen subjects, such as why it is crucial for society, the technologies involved, and the impact on the ongoing energy transition towards CO2 reduction.

As the students delve into topics like virtual power plants, AI-based district heating, and smart home product development, they are challenged to consider the broader implications and future developments in their respective fields. This approach ensures that the seminar not only imparts knowledge but also nurtures a holistic understanding of the role of digital energy solutions in shaping sustainable urban communities.