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DC-Socioeconomics. Niche Readiness and Market Diffusion of DC-Technologies
- 01.05.2020 to 30.04.2025
- Research Area:
- Support, Leadership and Management of Innovative, Collaborative Work
For years, the volatile energy sector has been intensifying its efforts to prepare for the politically targeted energy turnaround through technological innovations. These innovations include DC-technologies, which are gaining in importance. The field of DC-technologies varies greatly with respect to their individual degree of technological maturity and thus their readiness for the market. The project DC-Socioeconomics under the roof of the research campus FEN investigates the question of how a market diffusion of DC-technologies can be systematically prepared by selecting and designing suitable application niches.
DC-technologies have a high potential for the energy transition. Numerous innovations have already been developed in the first funding phase of the FEN research campus (2014 to 2019). There are both historical and technological reasons why DC-technologies have not yet become sufficiently established. Very important for the success of DC-technologies are the socio-economic conditions of their embedding in suitable niches. So far, it is largely unclear how the socio-economic conditions in these niches must be designed in order to support and accelerate the market diffusion of the technologies.
The IAW – Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft (Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics) – at RWTH Aachen University was already involved in the first funding phase of the research campus and conducted research on in-company training for the construction and operation of a medium-voltage DC-grid and on skills research. In the current project "DC Socioeconomics. Niche Readiness and Market Diffusion of DC-technologies", the IAW focuses on the work-organizational design of agile-integrated technology and niche development processes for DC-technologies. For this purpose, work organizational approaches for an agile coupling of the two domains of technology and niche development are to be identified, empirically examined and prepared in a reference model using the example of concrete technologies as well as existing FEN application scenarios (use cases).
The procedure for the subproject under the responsibility of the IAW is divided into five parts. In the first part, - an approach for the integration into the overall theoretical concept of the "DC-Socioeconomics" project is developed. The second part deals with the analysis and modeling of actual processes and structures in technology and niche development. In the third part, the effects of the previously identified agile-integrated processes and structures on the success of diffusion are empirically investigated. These results are then used in the fourth part to design a reference process model for integrated technology and niche development. The fifth part rounds off the procedure with the continuous integration of the partial results into the overall concept of the project.
The results of the project "DC-Socioeconomics" yield important implications for the successful establishment and economically sensible diffusion of DC-technologies as drivers of the energy transition. The jointly created model of Niche-Readiness Levels (NRL) under the perspective of market diffusion of DC-technologies provides essential design options of an energy transition that will take DC-technologies out of the niche and into the mainstream. With the help of the reference model for an agile-integrated technology and niche development, usable work-organizational design approaches for an improvedintegration of the two domains are derived. The results of the project "DC-Socio-Economics" provide important implications for the successful establishment and economically sensible diffusion of DC-technologies as drivers of the energy transition. The jointly created model of Niche-Readiness Levels (NRL) under the perspective of market diffusion of DC-technologies provides essential design options of an energy transition that will take DC-technologies out of the niche and into the mainstream market. With the help of the reference model for an agile-integrated technology and niche development, usable work-organizational design approaches for an improved integration of the two domains are provided.
The project is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) under the roof of the Forschungscampus Flexible Elektrische Netze (Flexible Electrical Networks Research Campus) and is supervised by Projektträger Jülich under the funding code 03SF0592.