Key Services

Based on the research and transfer cycle, we identified five key services, which must be addressed to support researchers in energy system research and provide a non-discriminatory access to research data, software, best practices as well as other relevant information within the research and transfer process: (1) Competence to help to navigate the interdisciplinary research field, (2) Best Practices to get information on successful conduct of research in the field of energy systems and their research data management, (3) Registry to find suitable data sets and software modules, (4) Simulation to couple existing simulations and, therefore, increase the reuse of software artefacts, and (5) Transparency to involve more stakeholders in all research stages, especially integrating their data, and to convey the appropriate key research results to all relevant stakeholders. In Figure 1, we show how these five key services can be aligned with the research and transfer cycle. In the following, we give a more detailed overview of these services, which will be the focus of nfdi4energy.

Figure 1 CPES research and transfer cycle supported by the nfdi4energy key services


Building on the platform EnArgus , which gives an extensive overview on over 30,000 energy research projects, a database of scientific institutes, scientists, and relevant industrial partners will be created as part of TA1. It will be used as a foundation and reference point for metadata of the different DOs in the other services. The database will be searchable and can also help to identify the right research and transfer partners like scientists and companies for upcoming research projects.

Best Practices

This key service will provide an overview of good practices of research data management and usage in research projects, list training courses, e.g. on software engineering for non-computer scientists, and give guidelines for using the other services of nfdi4energy. Successful examples of cross-institutional research data management provide a low-threshold offer, which is complemented by mapping community standards collected through surveys and information to support the establishment of the FAIR standards through domain-specific guidelines and recommendations, e.g. on licensing. The development of the material will be part of TA1 and will be supported by the use cases in TA6. Besides textual description, the Best Practices Service is enriched with audio-visual material, hosted by the TIB AV-Portal , which offers a whole range of services including automatic video analysis, Digital Object Identifier (DOI) allocation, video recording, and long-term archiving. We will also include and extend existing tutorials of the OEP, and provide an integrated access for the research community based on the developed nfdi4energy platform.


A registry for metadata for DOs like research data and software, based on existing approaches like the OEP, is developed based on an intense requirement engineering and involvement process for the community (TA4, TA5, requirements: TA1). Registry supports the creation and continuous integration of appropriate metadata based on standards and controlled vocabularies like the OEO (partly developed by the RLI), SARGON, and other relevant standards. The Registry service will be based on existing general services like the PID-Services of the TIB, DataCite, DOI, ORCID, and the TS of TIB. Access restrictions for data and software will be considered. The Registry service supports researchers in finding the right input data, existing models, and scenarios. We will include existing datasets from all co-applicants into our registry and integrate the whole community. For storing data, the Registry service will recommend existing repositories like the OED, which is a community developed and hosted PostgreSQL database for open energy system research with a RESTful API specifically designed for storing high temporal resolution data.


The Simulation service provides Simulation-as-a-Service (SaaS) capabilities on the platform as well as support for “on premise” distributed (co)-simulation and hardware-in-the-loop simulation facilitated by community-driven harmonisation of simulation interface standards (TA5). The creation and use of simulations by non-computer scientists are key goals, e.g. for the Citizen Science aspects of the nfdi4energy project but also for supporting multi domain models for experts from various energy domains. Distributed simulations, enabling the combination of different domains, abstraction layers, and increased performance, have to be supported by an improved simulation middleware. We build on existing co-simulation tools for close or tight simulation coupling like mosaik and interface exchange standards like the functional mockup interface (FMI). In order to achieve loose coupling and facilitating even larger scenarios, we will adapt existing approaches from the mobility domain. For hardware-in-the-loop simulation, we will incorporate the VILLAS framework, which enables the coupling of different laboratories for hardware-in-the-loop simulation. Furthermore, we will follow an ontology-based approach for including necessary semantic knowledge from the Registry service to assist in simulation creation and validation, heavily relying on our own related work from Schwarz and Lehnhoff. While favouring an open source ecosystem, the Simulation service also supports the integration of non-open datasets and non-open source software to support intellectual property (IP) exploitation.


The Transparency service supports the comparability of scenarios, reflects social and societal aspects and needs and integrates components from Citizen Science. Thus, this service plays an important role for the identification of new research questions and societal challenges occurring in energy system research and transformation. In science, results are regularly published in scientific journals as well as on academic conferences. While these options mainly reach other scientists, in the context of the energy systems’ transition, it is important to convey new information to the general public (TA2) as well as into businesses (TA3), from both ongoing and finished research projects. Therefore, the Transparency service will be used within the whole research and transfer cycle and is the place to present simulation plans and discuss them with the society, industry, and scientific community.

All five key services will include persistent identification, licensing, and provenance and will enable semantic integration to fulfil the FAIR criteria. Within nfdi4energy, we combine these five key services into one platform, which enables linking the services and simplifies their use for the energy system research community. We build on existing infrastructure and include and combine knowledge from the research domain of energy systems and knowledge on basic research infrastructure (TIB).