ehub Platform

ehub utilizes the demonstrators NEST and move and combines them to an energy and control district. This includes components, grids as well as real life demand patterns. ehub is used as platform for research questions and product development.


The ehub platform integrates two physical demonstrators:


  • Units (1-15)
    Units represent prosumers with the size of future buildings. According to their usage, e.g. Fitness center, shared flats or working spaces, each unit produces real life demand and supply patterns.
  • Backbone
    The backbone hosts the units and supplies them with electrical, thermal or gas based energy. Excess energy can be stored or converted with district size systems.


  • move, the demonstrator for future mobility, provides examples to show the entire pathway of using renewable electricity for mobility – in the form of hydrogen, synthetic methane and grid batteries. Fuel cell vehicles, gas vehicles and battery electric vehicles are subject of investigations.


Major Systems

Unit Overview Data since
Backbone 1'500m2 office (~2 meeting rooms, reception, presentation rooms, break room, engineering rooms, toilets)
Electrical and thermal consumer
Ceiling/floor heating/cooling
Ventilation (AC), shading
District Battery NMC-g; 100kWh, 260kVA
Scap; 1kWh, 100kW
Buffer storage in high, medium and low temperature each 2200l 
HT-Heatpump; thermal output 28kW 
NT-Heatpump; thermal output 100kW
Fuel Cell; thermal output 2kW, 20kW
2x Ground heat exchanger; each 260m; each 14.6kW charge and 9.7kW discharge 
1x 12m thermpipe; 7kW charge and 4.7kW discharge 
1x 69m3 Ice storage; 20kW charge and 30kW discharge
Vision Wood (vw) 162m2 apartment (~2 bedroom for residents)
Electrical and thermal consumer
Floor/ceiling heating/cooling
Ventilation (AC), shading
Meet2Create (m2c) 279m2 office (~9 workstations and two meeting rooms)
Electrical and thermal consumer
PV System; 0.7kWp
Ceiling/floor heating/cooling
Ventilation (AC), shading
Solar Fitness & Wellness (sfw) 197m2 fitness wellness (~max. 8 fitness visitors at a given time)
3 saunas with conventional (electrical) and prototypical (thermal) system
Electrical and thermal prosumer
PV System; 24.7kWp; 3 inverters
Solar thermal; 2kWp
CO2 Heat pump System 14kWth
Radiator and floor heating
Ventilation (AC), window and shading
Urban Mining & Recycling (umar) 155m2 apartment (~2 bedroom for residents)
Electrical and thermal consumer
Solar thermal planned; tbdkWp
Floor/ceiling heating/cooling
Ventilation (AC), shading
SolAce 103m2 office (~6 workstations and one bedroom)
Electrical and thermal prosumer
PV System; 2.134kWp; 1 inverter
Solar thermal; 5kWp
Ceiling heating/cooling
Ventilation (AC), shading
DFAB HOUSE (dfab) 240m2 apartment (~3 bedroom for residents)
Electrical prosumer; thermal consumer
PV System; 5kWp; 3 inverters
Heat pump Boiler 14kWth
Radiator floor heating/cooling
Ventilation (AC)
move 300m2 mobility topics
Fuel stations 
Charging stations
Hydrogen production
Methane production (planned)
PV System; 130kWp
Battery installation; 22kWh, 22kW

Download topological distribution of major systems here.


Conceptual communication structure

All these parts are integrated via individual PLCs communicating over a standardized communication bus OPC UA. Several research project, and the Empa SCADA system are integrated over the same bus.

The system is designed such that research projects can read life and historical data. Additionally to that projects can also write setpoints to the physical infrastructure, according to their specific research question. Interfaces will be provided by the Empa ehub team.

Only the specific actors and sensors relevant to the research question are accessible/viewable such that there is no need to consider other components/controllers in the overall system.

If no research project is active, a "fallback" controller is active which operates the infrastructure. This fallback mode behaves like a regular industry controller/implementation and can serve as benchmark for research implementations. The specific interfaces will be provided by the Empa ehub team.

Transparency of network infrastructure

Parallel research projects can also be considered transparent. An overview over the installed components and the related grid topology can be found in here.

Historical data is logged in a SQL database every minute. Triggers can be defined such that higher resolution data will be stored for project purposes. Live data can be accessed over the OPC UA bus. Electrical  and thermal measurements every second.

One can access controllable infrastructure remotely via defined interfaces provided by the ehub team (Empa). Typically, a python OPC-UA client is provided (connections acknowledged via certificates). Researchers can also implement controllers on the local infrastructure, via python client, LabView or MatLab connectivity or via REST API.

Typical Project Timeline

Typical projects target the validation of a novel control algorithm on the demonstrator. Before validating one has to define, analyze, and simulate a new controller. After these steps hardware-in-the-loop tests can be conducted. During these steps, different Information can be made available. 
Definition: Project idea, define involved components, set boundary conditions, workload estimation, define timeline, and envision future use cases  
Analysis:  Complexities, Added Value of the project, possible methodology options
Simulation: Modelling of the relevant components and grids, stochastic sensitivities
Validation: Programming, Interface-handling, conduction of defended tests, Iterations
Transition: Deployment of the solution on the market