We plan energy systems from a cellular perspective

In close collaboration with practitioners of energy modelling and energy project developers we developed an open-source planning tool

The open-plan-tool is still under development, however it is already released for a general use

You can checkout the latest version of the open-plan-tool

If you want to collaborate or are interested in the project, you can find more information on:

Energy cells explained

The cellular approach is a new energy system model framework based on decentralized energy systems and sector coupling

The cellular approach describes an energy system organized in so-called energy cells

Energy cells inside a larger energy cell

The fundamental idea of the cellular approach is to optimize energy system planning at all possible levels, from the smallest energy cell to the largest one.

An energy cell can contain and combine many forms of energy such as electricity, heat, gas, etc.

Cross-sectoral, open-source planning tool

Heat and electricity inside a house

Sector coupling

The tool is intended to be used for the optimised planning of energy cells for the (partial) supply of the electricity and heat requirements of neighbourhoods, industrial yards and industry in Germany. As active subsystems, energy cells can facilitate the integration of renewable energy and considerably reduce network expansion, since they can be planned and controlled among each other.

Open science circle

Open licence

The project will follow the promising open-science approach already implemented by RLI in many projects and will make all data, methods and program code available under a suitable open license. This is intended to comply with scientific standards, because only results generated with open and citable tools and data can be reproduced and reproduced in the field of software-based research.


Stakeholder dialogue

Close cooperation within the consortium and with a wide range of stakeholders and users will expand the research network, opening up a broad field of new, significant and explicitly application-oriented research questions. The open_plan project complements other previous open-science research projects of RLI, such as open_eGO (OpenEnergyPlatfrom), open_FRED (feed-in time series on OpenEnergyPlatform) and enables the comparison, validation and improvement of energy system modelling.


Sector coupling

Sector coupling

Combination of different generation components and demand categories for designing optimized systems and operational strategies

Data management

Data management

Integration of open libraries, e.g. resource data and grid components and usage of open exchangeable formats

Scenario analysis

Scenario analysis

An automated creation of scenarios allows for an easy comparison of different options and to understand sensitivities



All results will be reproducible based on transparent calculations, both product-based and generic



A large variety of different energy cells requires modular components to represent different levels of complexity and functionalities

User friendly

User friendliness

The tool was developed with a strong focus on easy use without requiring programming language expertise

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About us

The open_plan project consortium is composed of the Reiner Lemoine Institut (RLI), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sonnenenergie (DGS) and the Potsdam Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK). It is funded within the framework of the "Technology-oriented systems analysis" funding area of the BMWi's 7th Energy Research Programme "Innovation for the energy transition".