FEN2 (BMBF, 2020-2023)


Flexible Electrical Networks (FEN), 2nd Term: DC Socio-Economics. Niche Readiness and Market Diffusion of DC Technologies

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DC technologies have great potential for the energy transition. There are historical as well as technological reasons for the fact that it has not been sufficiently used up to now. The field of DC technologies differs greatly in terms of the degree of technology maturity of DC technologies and thus their market maturity. The use of DC technologies varies not only in terms of technological maturity, but also depending on the socio-technical conditions of their embedding - the use and implementation, for example, differ greatly depending on the country. So far, it has been largely unclear which socio-economic conditions must be in place in order not only to increase their level of maturity, but also to support and accelerate their market diffusion.

Research question

The overarching research question of the project is: Which DC technologies fit into which socio-spatial contexts because they make economic sense and can be socially embedded, and which factors determine their emergence, their development in niches and their market diffusion towards far-reaching transformation processes? The project considers the question using the example of the FEN application scenarios DC Commercial Building and DC Quarter. The supply of smaller rooms is an essential part of the implementation of the German energy transition. The focus is on the conditions for the successful establishment of DC technologies and combinations as well as supporting and inhibiting factors in their market launch and spread.

Goal of the project

The overarching goal is the development of a novel, integrative, interdisciplinary overall model for determining Niche Readiness Levels, NRL for short, of DC technologies and a multidimensional analysis approach for the interaction of technology and niche readiness in niches and the subsequent market diffusion dynamics. The approach heuristically uses the multi-level perspective, MLP for short, and independently develops an overall model for the field of a DC technology-based energy transition on the basis of conceptual and empirical work.

Our research project

In our sub-project we develop an acceptance cartography of DC technologies. To do this, we identify acceptance-inhibiting and acceptance-promoting factors, for example arguments, knowledge, role that influence the actions of decision-makers and their comparison. The survey is carried out using a multi-method approach: In addition to text mining with machine learning and natural language processing, we use expert interviews and stakeholder workshops. Based on data, critical topics for the introduction and communication of DC technologies are identified.

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with the grant number 03SF0592, Flexible Electrical Networks, FEN for short, Research Campus.

Contact person: Dr. phil. Claas Digmayer