Research Focuses

Focuses of our research

Research focus

Climate Action Innovation

Climate change is one of the most significant societal challenges we must confront. That is why this year we are consolidating and intensifying our research activities in this field. Within the research focus Climate Action Innovation, we explore appropriate and intelligent responses to climate change and develop measures to reduce temperature increases. Our focus is not only on advancing the energy system but also on increasing resource efficiency. In our research this year, we are incorporating two main streams: on one hand, digital innovations that actively promote climate protection and contribute to accelerating sustainable development in the fields of energy, mobility, production, and supply and disposal (Green by IT); on the other, IT, which is examined throughout its entire lifecycle in terms of resource-efficient and climate-friendly utilization (Green IT).

In this research focus, we are examining important and critical infrastructures, including manufacturing industries, smart districts, and energy-intensive data centers. We are also advancing future-oriented solutions for transportation and traffic, such as e-mobility.
The energy transition has significantly increased the requirements for optimizing networks and intelligent energy management. Therefore, the FZI’s research will continue to support supply security through solutions for greater grid service and sustainable business models. To enable this, the FZI is also working on the further development of the ecosystem of smart metering systems (consisting of smart meters/advanced metering infrastructure and smart meter gateways) this year.

The growing interconnection of many facilities and stakeholders in the field of supply and disposal makes open societies vulnerable. The FZI can share its profound knowledge of IT security to create more resilient critical infrastructures. With a focus on climate neutrality, efficiency improvements in energy consumption and resource utilization are essential instruments, so we include the consumer perspective in commercial, industrial, and residential sectors in our research. Additionally, we bring our professional expertise to the training of climate coaches as part of the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Klima.Neutral.Digital project, thereby providing comprehensive support for small and medium-sized enterprises.


  • Tight integration of knowledge at the FZI from the application fields of Energy, Production, Mobility, Transportation and Logistics, as well as the research focus Safety, Security, and the Law
  • Profound methodological and domain expertise, particularly in the area of intelligent energy management: It ranges from modeling and simulation to energy system optimization, regulatory expertise, and a deep understanding of the IT architecture of systems and the control of hardware components like e-mobility charging infrastructure or CLS management (Controllable Local System) for smart metering systems
  • The research has a high “Technology Readiness Level,” especially in the area of energy informatics. This benefits the demonstration of innovative concepts and solutions in real laboratories and the development of effective practical solutions for industrial customers – all in one place


With the new direction of the research focus, two directions will be mainly addressed in the future: first, how digital innovations help accelerate sustainable development in various application domains (Green by IT), and second, contributing towards designing climate-friendly IT itself (Green IT).


Lab environments, advancing participatory formats, outstanding experts, and startups as transfer guarantors

The FZI drives knowledge and technology transfer through the FZI House of Living Labs, the virtual AI showroom of the Digital Hub Karlsruhe Applied Artificial Intelligence, and its living labs in public spaces like the Smart East commercial district.

To engage and exchange with stakeholders such as the (professional) public, participatory formats are being further developed, for instance the Smart East user circle (“Smart-East-Anwenderkreis”).
Recently, the FZI was involved as one of five consortium partners in the new Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Klima.Neutral.Digital project and contributes its expertise to motivate SMEs and trade towards the goal of climate neutrality.

Outstanding experts also ensure transfer from the research focus: scientists participate in professional committees, such as the Forum Network Technology/Network Operation in the VDE in the “Koordinierte Steuerung über intelligente Messsysteme” working group (coordinated control via intelligent metering systems) or the VDI committee for guidelines on information and IT security of operational management systems in the energy industry. FZI directors also bring IT and sustainability knowledge gained at the FZI into industry and business. For example, FZI Director Prof. Hartmut Schmeck contributes to climate protection in the construction and real estate industry as a member of the scientific advisory board of the Smart Building Innovation Foundation.

Startups are also transfer guarantors: Accordingly, the FZI supports technology and knowledge transfer in the energy sector to startups through cooperation with the AXEL energy accelerator. And in early 2023, the charging optimization spin-off InnoCharge emerged directly from the Climate Action Innovation research focus.

Research infrastructure

Living Labs, expansion of the Living Lab smartEnergy and Industrial Intelligence, production demonstrator

  • For the Climate Action Innovation research focus, the research and infrastructure for the following Living Labs will be expanded as ideal conceptualization and testing spaces:
    a) SynergieQuartier Walldorf
    b) flexQgrid field test in Freiamt
    c) Karlsruhe commercial district Smart East
  • In 2023, the Living Lab smartEnergy at the FZI House of Living Labs will be further expanded. Innovations for optimized and bidirectional charging of electric vehicles will be developed and tested more intensively.
  • The FZI Living Lab Industrial Intelligence is also expanding its demonstrator landscape to demonstrate the potential of energy- and resource-flexible production in a resilient circular economy.
  • An interactive production demonstrator is being developed, aiming to achieve intelligent optimization of order control through a digital twin. Conditions such as fluctuating energy availability, dynamic electricity prices and delivery deadlines will be considered.

Application Fields

Supply and Disposal
Education, Research and Administration
Buildings and Public Space
Mobility, Transportation and Logistics
Services and Commerce


Fabian Kern

Department Manager
Division: Intelligent Systems and Production Engineering

Natalja Kleiner

Department Manager
Division: Innovation, Strategy and Transfer

Highlight projects Climate Action Innovation

Research focus

Intelligent Transportation Systems and Logistics

Research focus

Applied Artificial Intelligence

Research focus

Safety, Security and the Law

Research focus

Digital Democracy and Participation