Stuttgart Research Initiative “Discursive Transformation of Energy Systems“
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SRI DiTEnS is developing methods for discursive transformation in local energy systems, using urban digital twins involving virtual reality to support decision making among stakeholders.

Making energy and heating infrastructure more sustainable is a massive, transformational process that is affecting many areas of life. The Stuttgart Research Initiative DiTEnS is developing approaches for the technical, economic, and ecological planning of urban energy and heating systems, including consideration of social and visual/aesthetic aspects of this adaptation. Specifically, it is focusing on the development of discursive decision-making processes that, especially in cities, effectively involve decision makers at all levels. To support these processes, HLRS is creating digital twins of urban locations that realistically simulate potential improvements in energy and heating systems.

Digital twins make it possible both to inspect the objects under consideration using 3D virtual reality techniques and to conduct multimodal, multiscale analyses of potential changes in infrastructure at the levels of individual buildings, neighborhoods, and energy systems. This approach enables stakeholders to “experience” planned changes, such as the appearance of new solar panels or even noise emissions from certain technologies. It can also help to determine target values for different scenarios, taking into account all energy carriers and applications (heat, electricity, transport), corresponding infrastructures, and stakeholder concerns. In this way, digital twins can help in the evaluation of the repercussions of such plans on infrastructure as a whole, and can support the decisions of the individual stakeholders with regard to the necessary coordination and investment. The project will develop an integral data model and adaptive algorithms (especially for data generation) to enable rapid adaptation to new use cases.

DiTEnS will initiate a study to comprehensively understand the energy and building infrastructure of the University of Stuttgart, and will recommend potential steps that could be taken to achieve a climate neutral campus by 2030. Among the questions the investigators will consider will be how excess heat generated by HLRS’s supercomputer could be reused to heat other buildings, including what additional measures must be taken in the university’s district heating network and in buildings to make this possible. Using the knowledge gained, DiTEnS will also conduct additional case studies, working with communities surrounding Stuttgart and across Baden-Württemberg to investigate other strategies for sustainable transformation of urban energy and heating systems, and for using digital twins within participatory planning processes.


01. April 2023 -
31. March 2029




Carl Zeiss Foundation
CZS Breakthroughs Program in Resource Efficiency and Future Energy Systems

Project partners

  • University of Stuttgart, Institute of Energy Economics and Rational Energy Use (IER)
  • University of Stuttgart, Institute of Power Transmission and High Voltage Technology (IEH)
  • Institute for Building Energetics, Thermotechnology, and Energy Storage (IGTE)
  • Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS)


Logo: Carl Zeiss Stiftung