As one out of three "Knowledge and Innovation Communities" (KIC), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology together with InnoEnergy has won the bid. 35 partners from business enterprises, universities, research institutions, and business schools make up the European consortium. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will finance KIC InnoEnergy in a first phase with presumably about 30 million euros annually until 2014. Within the KIC, a sustainable energy system for Europe shall be developed until 2050.
"By establishing a European network within KIC InnoEnergy we meet the challenge of a sustainable and climate-neutral energy supply - we aim at closing the innovation gap in the energy sector in Europe", underlines Professor Hans-Jörg Bauer, spokesman of the KIT Energy Center and of KIC InnoEnergy. According to Bauer, a sustainable energy supply requires entrepreneurial thinking in research, education, and innovation as well as the integration of innovation knowledge in Europe. The KIC InnoEnergy consortium will be managed like a business as European Company SE with its own CEO.
Six regionally bundled European co-location centres make up the KIC InnoEnergy consortium whose proposal was successfully coordinated by KIT. These centers are "Benelux", "Iberia", "AlpsValleys", "Sweden", "Poland plus", and "Germany". The German co-location comprises KIT as the central location as well as the University of Stuttgart and the enterprises of SAP and EnBW. Among the partners of the consortium are the mineral oil company Total, ABB (Energy and Automation Technology), EDF (Électricité de France SA), KTH (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm), CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique, France), and Europe's leading business school ESADE, Barcelona. KIT's expertise and financial as well as personnel capacities were crucial in coordinating the preparation phase on a European scale. The KIT Energy Center played a central role in this effort, thereby confirming the center's status as one of the leading European energy research centers.
KIT InnoEnergy lines up to increase Europe's innovative strength. Close networking of the partners shall speed up commercialization.
Moreover, InnoEnergy is about securing Europe's global competetiveness in the field of energy technologies according to the SET plan of the EU Commission which requests sustainable energy concepts and technologies for a climate-neutral Europe in 2050. For this purpose, KIC InnoEnergy closely bundles all corners of the knowledge triangle of research, higher education, and innovation.
In the first four years, KIC InnoEnergy plans first-class education of 1500 master and Ph. D. students. 65 energy patents and 50 spin-offs shall be created. In addition, 90 new products shall be commercialized in the field of energy technologies. The annual budget of KIC InnoEnergy will amount to about 110 million euros in 2011 and increase continuously in the following years. About one quarter will be borne by the EIT, three quarters will be funded by the partners of KIC InnoEnergy. In addition, the state government of Baden-Württemberg has also promised funding. The state will fund the collocation Germany with KIT as a local center with an annual amount of up to 3 million euros for the next five years.
In close cooperation with each other, each of the six European co-location centres coordinates one important energy topic each for all partners in the consortium. The German co-location will focus on chemical energy carriers, such as hydrogen, alcohols or other hydrocarbons which are produced, for instance, by the upgrading of biomass with the help of sustainable primary energies. Such chemical energy carriers are characterized by universal applicability as well as high energy density and share the advantage of smooth integration into existing infrastructures, e.g. gas stations and pipelines.
KIC InnoEnergy prevailed over a total of 20 proposals submitted to the EIT in the fields of sustainable energy supply, climate change, and information technology. The total funding volume for all KICs on the part of EIT is 308 million euros.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is one of Europe's leading energy research establishments: The KIT Energy Center pools fundamental research with applied research into all relevant energy sources for industry, households, services, and mobility. Holistic assessment of the energy cycle also covers conversion processes and energy efficiency. The KIT Energy Center links competences in engineering and science with know-how in economics, the humanities, and social science as well as law. The activities of the KIT Energy Center are organized in seven topics: Energy conversion, renewable energies, energy storage and distribution, efficient energy use, fusion technology, nuclear power and safety, and energy systems analysis.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation and state institution of Baden-Württemberg. It fulfills the mission of a university and the mission of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. KIT pursues its tasks in the knowledge triangle of research, teaching, and innovation.