Partner No 5: EIFER

Partner No 5: EIFER

The EIFER institute ( was founded in 2001 by the University of Karlsruhe and EDF, as a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) registered in Karlsruhe. EIFER is recognised by the EU as a Non-Profit Organisation. Its research activities are focussed on energy and environment. At the heart of the key energy transition trends in Europe, EIFER is committed in delivering research-based innovative energy solutions for the sustainable growth of cities, local communities and industries. Its three research priorities are the following:

  • Contribute to Sustainable City Engineering, through the development of tools and integrated approaches, for the multi-sectorial analysis of cities and territories (incl. environmental, sociological, health impacts and eco-systemic services), aiming at supporting decision-making process for strategic planning.
  • Develop Local Energy Concepts and Solutions, including renewable energy, distributed generation and storage means, mobility concepts (design and operation schemes), fulfilling indicators set by the local authorities, and providing new ways of balancing supply and demand.
  • Analyse Trends and Interactions within Energy Systems, through simulation at different scales and prospective analysis using a systemic approach (incl. technical, sociological, economic, environmental and political aspects) with a focus on the European Cases.

A specific focus of interest is to find out innovative local energy solutions for cities to tackle the challenges of the energy transition at urban and rural levels. The field of district heating offers many opportunities with renewable energy integration, energy efficiency improvement, increasing operative flexibility. The scope of our activities covers resources and potential assessment, heat demand estimation and prediction, design of centralised versus distributed energy concepts including cogeneration, power to heat, thermal energy storage and market oriented control strategies. It requires also a good networking with local authorities, energy agencies and urban planners as well as with operational units, local energy companies or energy services. EIFER has acquired through private and public funded projects a broad technical expertise in distributed system integration and energy management systems.

apl. Prof. Dr. Ute Karl holds a PhD in chemistry (University of Würzburg 1990) and an adjunct professorship at KIT in the field of environmental economics since 2008. She was head of a research group on environmental systems analysis at the French-German Institute for Environmental Research at KIT (formerly University of Karlsruhe TH) and subsequently at EIFER (since 2003). The research group at EIFER is focussing i.a. on the optimal design of distributed combined heat and power systems on both local and national levels. Since 2013 she is in charge of the scientific coordination in the EIFER management team

Daniel Fehrenbach holds a diploma in industrial economics from the University of Karlsruhe. He is working at EIFER since 2009 in the field of energy economics of combined heat and power and on the integration of renewable energy. His expertise includes economic optimisation with linear programming tools and the analysis of business models and regulatory constraints.

  • Fehrenbach, D., Merkel, E., McKenna, R., Karl, U., Fichtner, W. (2014): On the economic potential for electric load management in the German residential heating sector - an optimising energy system model approach. ENERGY, 71, 263-276.
  • McKenna, R., Heffels, T., Merkel, E., Fehrenbach, D., Killinger, S., Fichtner, W. (2013): Selected Approaches to Integration Management for Renewable Energies. UmweltWirtschaftsForum, 21 (3-4), 199-207.
  • Fichtner, W., Genoese, M., Hartel, R., Bublitz A., Merkel, E.,·Wietschel, M.,·Boßmann, T.,·Elsland, R., Möst D.,·Müller Th.,·Xi Pang, Silveira S., Morfeldt,·J., Poganietz W.,·Karl U., Fehrenbach D.,·Jędrysik E., Suwala W.,· Wyrwa A., Pluta M. (2013): Shaping our energy system - combining European modelling expertise, Case studies of the European energy system in 2050, Final report of the KIC InnoEnergy project “Energy Systems Analysis Agency ESA2”
  • Fehrenbach, D., Merkel, E., Karl, U., McKenna, R., Fichtner, W. (2013): Model-based evaluation of the economic potential of innovative residential heating technologies in TIMES. Paper presented at the European IAEE Conference 2013, Düsseldorf.
  • Schmidt, S., Jäger, T., Karl, U. (2012): The Transition of the Residential Heat Market in Germany - A System Dynamics Approach. Paper presented at the International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, St. Gallen, Switzerland.