Dr. Daniel Lehmann

Electric cars are an example of a further combination of energy and mobility. At STEAG subsidiary STEAG Energy Services (SES), Daniel Lehmann is dealing with the topic of e-mobility and researching possible uses – both within and outside the Essen-based energy company.

Daniel Lehmann studied electrical engineering and information technology at the Ruhr University in Bochum and received his doctorate there in 2011 at the Institute of Automation and Computer Control. After one year as a postdoctoral student at the Institute of Automatic Control of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, he joined STEAG Energy Services GmbH in 2012, where he has headed the Advanced Process Control group since 2016. In addition to making conventional power plants more flexible, he is also involved in large battery systems and electromobility, as well as various R&D activities. Since 2017, the 37-year-old has also headed the patent department at STEAG.

Why is STEAG interested in electromobility?
Electromobility will have a significant impact on our power supply system and will also create new opportunities for storing electrical energy. Storage means flexibility, and this flexibility is of great importance looking forward. Even with relatively few electric cars, it will be possible in future to store and release large amounts of energy in a targeted manner in order to compensate for the volatility of renewable energy sources and avoid additional grid expansion. In addition, all services relating to electromobility, and particularly the expansion of the charging infrastructure, are already of interest to STEAG’s service subsidiaries SES and STEAG Technischer Service (STS).

What products and solutions for electrically powered traffic is SES working on?
Initially, we approached the issue pragmatically and purchased charging infrastructure for STEAG’s internal use. We first wanted to gain practical experience so that we could “have a say” on the subject. That was three years ago. We now already have more than 30 STEAG-owned charging points, and we have learned that e-mobility requires more than just ordering a charging point from a catalogue. Where do we set up the charging station, is the mains connection sufficient, who puts the charging station into operation, and what funding options are actually available? These were just some of the questions we were confronted with, and in the end we did everything ourselves. As a result, SES and STS are now jointly implementing their “all-inclusive package” for charging infrastructure for external customers – from planning, commissioning and maintenance to the integration of storage facilities and renewables. Our agenda also includes network-based and “smart” charging through the connection of the charging infrastructure to the trading platforms of STEAG’s Trading & Optimization (T&O) division, and integrated mobility concepts.

How, and above all how quickly, will e-mobility develop in the coming years? Will we all soon be driving electric cars with no steering wheel?
The question is not so easy to answer. In fact, all the signs have been pointing to electromobility for some time now, although in spite of subsidies the numbers of new registrations are well below expectations. There is simply still too much uncertainty on the one hand and conflicts of interest on the other. In principle, e-mobility makes sense above all in cities: I personally say this from the perspective of the bicycle commuter. I take a rather critical view of electromobility in other areas such as long-distance transport. In my opinion, there are good alternatives here. I believe that intermodal (first this, then that) and multimodal (this today, that tomorrow) mobility concepts with e-bikes, car sharing and rental car models will become established in the future and the importance of owning one’s own car will gradually decrease.