Research Group MicroEnergy Systems

What do we understand by the term microenergy systems?

Microenergy systems preferably use locally available energy resources such as the sun, water, biomass or wind and transform them into electricity, heat/cold, light or driving forces. The producers either use these products directly or share them with consumers in the surrounding area. These energy systems therefore make the decentralized use, distribution and control of energy resources possible and foster the development of solidarity based regional circular economies.

Microenergy systems are characterized by their simplicity, user-friendliness, resilience, upgradability, modularity and longevity, and have preferably a strong local value chain.

The microenergy sector

The microenergy sector is characterized by households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which have no or only a weak access to electricity and modern fuels. Despite the relatively low energy demand for many applications, the costs for meeting energy needs are proportionally larger.

In the microenergy sector, more than 3 Billion users still depend on solid fuels for cooking and heating. This has a huge impact on health and in some cases on the environment. Woodfuel or biomass is normally freely collected in the surroundings. The growing demand and the shrinking free availability of woodfuel and biomass leads to shortages and accordingly to commercialization and occasionally to conflicts of interest between different parties.

Inefficient appliances and energy usage patterns are widespread in the microenergy sector. Accordingly, the substitution potential through renewable energy powered systems and energy efficient appliances and behaviors is huge. However, access to these systems requires well-adapted and sustaibable implementation strategies.