Intelligent Energy Europe – A project by the European Commission
The aim of the EU-funded EmPower project is to support the dissemination of intelligent energy technologies which are already available, but whose potential remains largely unexploited due to a lack of experience or technical knowledge by secondary users (installation companies, planners, etc.), thus limiting demand.
Such knowledge gaps are significant in regions which enjoy both a lively local supply and strong potential demand of intelligent energy solutions, but also widely across EU regions, whereby some are particularly suited to deploy specific solutions, which originate from the experience of other regions. Engineering companies, architects, installers, and local institutional actors should be empowered to take full advantage of novel intelligent energy solutions, and transmit those advantages to their clientele.
The prompt adoption of those solutions stimulates the market and generates more investment in innovation, activating a virtuous circle of economic and technological progress, which some EU regions have already witnessed. Some of the partner regions in the EmPower project are technology leaders in intelligent energy solutions, while others – due to geographical location, natural resources or local regulations – are, or are poised to become, very significant markets for those innovative solutions.
EmPower activities therefore focus on the training of technicians, who are responsible for installation and/ or maintenance of energy-related products, and other key service providers, e.g. architects, who contribute to plan and advise end users on the choice of equipment.
A further aim of the project is to increase the dissemination of intelligent energy solutions which have been developed or which are distributed by SME in participating regions, to promote vertical and horizontal networking in order to further their implementation, and to stimulate customer demand.
Finally, the initiative aims to stimulate the transfer of technologies between partner regions, and to promote sustainable innovations by local businesses e.g. architects, who contribute to plan and advise end users on the choice of equipment.
EmPower Project partners
- ZTS – Zentrum für Technologiestrukturentwicklung Region Riesa-Großenhain GmbH
- Aufbauwerk Region Leipzig GmbH
- Regional Development Agency of Western Macedonia
- Region of Western Macedonia
- Technological Research Centre of Western Macedonia
- Instituto Technologico de Aragon
- Federacion Aragonesa de Municipios, Comarcas y Provincias
- Fundacion Circe Centro de Investigacion de Recursos y Consumos Energeticos
- Tartu Linnavilitsus
- Tallinna Tehnikaulikool
As part of their studies at HHL, many students participate in a field project. In general, all projects are conducted together with a corporate partner. The projects are real-life consulting cases provided by corporate partners. Groups of 4 to 5 students act as a consulting team for a corporate client. Below you will find a selection of projects supervised by the chair of Economics and Information Systems.
Student Consulting Projects (Selection)
- Development of new business models for the WEP-Group
- Development of a business concept for positive energy house for EnergieCity Leipzig
- Models for citizen participation in establishing alternative energy plants in Central Germany for Sakosta GmbH
- Economic and legal evaluation of SunCoal, a biomass to coal process for SunCoal Industries GmbH
- Feasibility Study on Establishing a Logistics and Road Transportation Company in Saudi Arabia
- Market Potential Study for Robert Bosch GmbH
- Business Plan for Stratos Business Solutions AG
- Business Plan for the Laboratory for Molecular Diagnostics and Genetic Variation Analysis
- Development of a comprehensive market analysis referring to the energy turnaround for sustainability for an innovative product developed by the Architectural Institute of HTWK Leipzig
Student Consulting Project: Creating Strategic Alliances for New Wall Element
The project client, Professor Frank Hülsmeier, Head of the Energy Design group at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK) and Matthias Tietze, Project Manager, approached HHL to perform a detailed analysis of their latest research result, a new facade element called VakuTex. Although only 11 cm thin, VakuTex is a high-tech wall that can insulate against cold and heat. HHL’s full-time MBA students Alexandru Canariov (Team Leader), Miguel Amable, Ankur Garg, Huizhen Xu and MingYue Chen seized the chance to test their skills and knowledge learned in the classroom during the 6-month consulting project.
After reaching the initial goal of the field project, which was to conduct a classic consulting format analysis by using frameworks, tools and topics such as market selection, market analysis, market size, market growth and market entry strategies, the students continued their role as advisors. The team analyzed what kind of strategic alliance could move HTWK forward and lead to a win-win situation for HTWK and a financial partner. They contacted a number of potential companies, eventually identifying a first strategic investor. The students even organized the first meeting and supported the HTWK in its presentation, during which the product was tested in a real life setting and received overall positive feedback from the investor.
Student Consulting Project with Suncoal Industries
An example of student-led field project supervised by the Chair of Economics and Information Systems is the cooperation with Suncoal Industies GmbH where the task included an “Analysis of possible Business Models and Marketing Strategies for Suncoal Industries”.
Over a period of four months the team members conducted this project for Suncoal Industies GmbH, a start-up that has created a specialized process transforming biomass into non-fossile coal for heat and electricity production. SunCoal is a carbon-dioxide neutral, non-fossile fuel based on renewable energy sources, with the potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and further the goal to decrease global CO2 emissions.
Due to its high importance for society, the renewable energy sector in Europe is to a large extent subsidized by governments, which makes it a highly attractive sector for high-tech startups which presently witnesses increasing market competition. In such circumstances, the choice of a right business model and strategy plays a key role for a company active in this field.
The student team conducted a preliminary market analysis, and evaluated different marketing strategies for SunCoal. The goal of the market analysis was to identify a useful segmentation of potential customer types, and their estimated willingness to pay for SunCoal. Furthermore, the team analyzed the success chances of different business models for SunCoal, provided the company with recommendations on strategy implementation, and identified some potential risks associated with the product and/or company.
The German Gas Transport Auction
This project was commissioned by ONTRAS GmbH, a fully-owned subsidiary of VNG, and focuses on the “Evaluation of the auction design for gas transmission rights in Germany”. From September 2011 a new regulation in the German gas transmission sector has come into place, which requires network operators to set the prices for gas transmission via a government-mandated auction mechanism, rather than through individual negotiation with each shipper.
From the year 2012 this system of auctions will be introduced and standardized at the European level. ONTRAS, which is a major network operator in the German gas transport market, asked us to evaluate the strategic implications, threats and opportunities arising from the draft auction, and to assist them in their dialogue with the regulator while the German and European gas transport markets are being reshaped.