THI researches AI systems to secure critical energy infrastructure

Artificial intelligence to help detect damage caused by hacker attacks or natural disasters in gas grids more quickly.

Artificial intelligence is to help detect damage caused by hacker attacks or natural disasters in gas networks more quickly. (Source: Pixabay)

A reliable gas supply is an important prerequisite for a functioning economy and for ensuring services of general interest for our society. This includes not only the sufficient availability of gas, but also the safety of the gas grids. In order to avoid failures, it is important to monitor the networks and detect malfunctions at an early stage. The research project "IKIGas", in which Technisches Hochschuel Ingolstadt is working together with the companies PSI Software in Berlin, Avacon Netz GmbH in Salzgitter, PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH in Dortmund and, as an associated partner, Thyssengas GmbH in Dortmund, will be researching innovative, powerful and self-learning tools for the analysis, prognosis and decision-making support of the condition of gas networks over the next three years.

The focus is on fully exploiting the potential of the gas infrastructure for a secure supply of raw materials and energy and protecting it from threats. With the help of Industrial Artificial Intelligence (AI), anomalies that can be triggered by natural disasters, geopolitical tensions, terrorism, organised crime and major emergencies are to be detected more quickly and suitable measures identified more efficiently. This is intended to strengthen the performance and resilience of the gas network and significantly improve the security of supply for industry and households, as well as ensure a reliable and uninterrupted supply of energy, heat and raw materials.

The THI researchers around Prof. Dr. Alexander Schiendorfer from Digital Production Cluster of the AImotion Bavaria Institute are using methods of statistics, machine learning including reinforcement learning and mathematical optimisation for this purpose, whereby it is possible to transfer findings from production systems.

The envisaged solution will be realised in the form of a demonstrator and extensively tested and validated by the participating gas suppliers. The future use of AI-based assistance systems will support the safe operation of increasingly complex gas grids. This can shorten reaction times in crisis situations and avoid cascading effects. The solution can make a significant contribution to the security of gas and energy supply.

The research project is part of the programme "Artificial Intelligence in Civil Security Research II" and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The total grant is 1.4 million euros. The project duration is from August 2022 to June 2025.

About THI:

Technisches Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) is one of the leading mobility universities in Germany. More than 6,500 students are enrolled at the THI, and around 800 employees work in teaching, research and the science-supporting areas. For students, the THI offers a wide range of over 70 bachelor's and master's degree programmes in engineering, information sciences and economics. In the area of research, TH Ingolstadt occupies a top position among universities of applied sciences nationwide. With over 60 research-active professors and their almost 200 scientific staff, the THI covers a wide range of research fields. With the CARISSMA research building, it forms the nationwide leading scientific centre for vehicle safety. And as the Bavarian AI mobility node, it is establishing - supported by the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria - a Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AImotion Bavaria) with around 100 scientists.

About PSI:

The PSI Group develops its own software products to optimise the flow of energy and materials for utilities (energy networks, energy trading, public transport) and industry (metal production, automotive, mechanical engineering, logistics). The industry products, which are built from standard components, are sold both directly and via the multicloud-capable PSI App Store and can also be adapted by customers and partners themselves. PSI was founded in 1969 and employs over 2,200 people worldwide.

About Avacon Netz:

Avacon is one of the largest regional energy supply companies in Germany and operates gas pipelines with a length of about 21,000 kilometres and a network sales volume of about 38.4 billion kWh per year. Consumers from the North Sea coast to southern Hesse, from the Dutch border to Saxony-Anhalt are supplied with energy in the form of electricity and gas via the smart energy grids. In order to achieve the climate policy goals, AVACON actively supports the creation of the framework conditions for hydrogen feed-ins into the distribution grid. AVACON is actively involved in the further development of existing technical regulations, in the validation of components for the hydrogen market and in creating acceptance for hydrogen among the population.



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