North Rhine-Westphalia funds five projects of the Leading-Edge Cluster Industrial Innovations (SPIN) with over eight million euros

Minister Pinkwart: Pioneering innovations for the energy system of the future in the Ruhr metropolitan region

The Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy informs:

The Ruhr metropolitan region, with its major international corporations, world-leading SMEs and excellent research institutions, has everything it takes to be a pacesetter for climate-friendly innovations in the future. The »Leading-Edge Industrial Innovation Cluster« (SPIN), supported by the state government as part of the Ruhr Conference, brings together the expertise of well-known companies, start-ups and research partners between the Rhine and Ruhr rivers with the aim of advancing future technologies in pilot projects. Economics and Energy Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart today handed over funding decisions amounting to more than eight million euros for five SPIN projects. The funded projects help to prepare the energy system for the expansion of renewable energies and to pave the way for SMEs to a digitalized Industry 4.0. The solutions are to be implemented quickly, tested, widely applied and then exported.

Minister of Economics and Innovation Pinkwart: »Our SPIN initiative shows: In the Ruhr region, innovations are being brought to life. Together, we are driving forward the climate-friendly transformation of our industry and setting the course for an intelligent energy system of the future. The SPIN projects are setting a good example here and bringing future technologies to fruition.«

»With its network, SPIN is paving new paths for collaborations in the Ruhr region and beyond - in line with our guiding principle 'You can't think about the future alone,'« says Thomas Bagus, Chairman of the Board of SPIN e.V. and Head of Production, Generators and Steam Turbines at the Mülheim an der Ruhr site of Siemens Energy Global GmbH & Co. KG, about the Leading-Edge Cluster.

The SPIN innovation platform creates new alliances between industry, the energy sector, digital technology and application-oriented research in order to position the region successfully in the global competition for new technologies. The focus is on the development of climate-friendly technologies, processes and products for the successful transformation of our energy system. The Leading-Edge Cluster is one of the first major projects from the Ruhr Conference on shaping structural change and is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Ruhr Conference is a comprehensive initiative of the state government to shape the Metropole Ruhr as an economically strong and livable future region for all people. From the very beginning, the process has been designed for broad participation and the commitment of people and partners from all areas of society. Important impulses for the further development of the opportunity region are being set in five central fields of action: networked mobility - short distances; successful economy - good work; living diversity - strong cohesion; safe energy - healthy environment and best education - excellent research.

Implementation of the 73 projects developed in the thematic forums and approved by the state government began in early 2020. In the coming years, further projects and ideas from partners such as municipalities, chambers of industry and commerce, chambers of trade, and companies under the umbrella of the Ruhr Conference will strengthen these impulses and support the development of the Opportunity Region Ruhr.

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Project information



The Fit4eChange project makes distribution grids fit for the energy transition:

The aim of the project is to continuously monitor energy flows and loads in low-voltage distribution networks, which are used very dynamically, in real time. Intelligent sensor systems are used to collect, collate and communicate relevant information. This is the only way to enable grid-serving control and optimal integration of generators and consumers.

Project partner: Fraunhofer IMS, Turck duotec GmbH, Nuromedia GmbH, ithinx GmbH, Netze Duisburg GmbH, EEBus Initiative e.V, ELE Verteilnetz GmbH



Making Industry 4.0 usable for SMEs

Cloud-based Industrial Internet of Things platforms (IIoT platforms) offer great opportunities to optimize production processes and flexibly coordinate existing workflows. The WIN4KMU project is removing hurdles for SMEs in the use of IIoT solutions and is driving forward the seamless connection to other Industry 4.0 platforms. To this end, an industry-neutral IIoT platform is being developed that SMEs can use to digitize their production processes with as little implementation effort as possible.

Project partner: SHS plus GmbH, q.beyond AG, Ruhr-Uni-Bochum Lehr-stuhl für Produktionssysteme, Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung an der RWTH Aachen



Potentials for and through biogas plants in a cross-industrial network

The DIANE project is working on the development of a cross-industrial network in a commercial area around the biogas plant in Hünxe. The aim is to integrate the existing biogas plant with an electrical output of 2.6 megawatts into the material and energy supply of the commercial area and to promote its interaction with the surrounding businesses. The various players are to be brought together to form a commercial and industrial network in order to coordinate business and production processes that have hitherto been independent of one another.

Project partner: Fraunhofer UMSICHT, Loick Bioenergie GmbH und Bi-oenergie Hünxe GmbH


Digital Service Center

The project partners are developing a cloud-based platform that provides information on the status of an energy generation plant and its components based on operating data. This information helps the operator to run the plant more energy-efficiently and to determine the optimal time for maintenance measures. The software to be developed uses advanced artificial intelligence methods, such as informed machine learning, Bayesian networks, state-of-the-art knowledge representation and deep learning. This makes it possible to detect emerging faults in plant operation at an early stage and to provide qualified indications for measures to be taken. Business models are being developed with which this software can be offered as a digital service center in the cloud.

Project partner: Mitsubishi Power Europe GmbH, STEAG GmbH, Fraun-hofer Institut für intelligente Analyse- und Informationssysteme (IAIS)



Battery energy storage systems are needed wherever there is an imbalance between generated and consumed electrical power in electrical energy systems. In mobile applications such as trains or ships, for example, BESS are increasingly being used either autonomously or in combination with other energy sources for propulsion. The aim of the project is to compensate for the disadvantages of current BESS by using a newly developed technology. The resulting high-voltage battery storage system has a system voltage of 5,000 volts, is particularly compact in design and can be continuously monitored using an intelligent maintenance concept. As part of a hybrid power plant and in combination with a gas turbine, such a storage system enables, for example, immediate grid feed-in when turbines are cold-started and reduces the cyclical loads on turbine generator set components. Thanks to reduced maintenance intervals and higher efficiency, KV-BATT makes a significant contribution to CO2 savings and optimizes operating costs.

Project partner: Siemens Energy AG, Fachhochschule Dortmund, Weis-sgerber engineering GmbH, Dortmund


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