Sector coupling

With sector coupling, energy flows can be combined across industry boundaries and taken into consideration holistically. The goal is to make energy sufficiently available everywhere – at the right time, in the right place.
Two people with protective clothing and a blueprint

Power supply with maximum efficiency

Power generation, distribution, storage, and consumption are considered as a holistic system in sector coupling. Individual sectors exchange energy with each other so that it is available in the right form where it is needed. By collecting and evaluating data on energy consumption and generation, the energy flow is optimally controlled.

This means that sectors must be networked not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of communication. Standardized communication protocols within different networks enable the necessary communication, independent of system boundaries. The principle of sector coupling works on a small scale, for example, within a company, as well as across companies. Phoenix Contact provides products, solutions, and services for the electrification, networking, and automation of the energy, industry, infrastructure, and mobility sectors.


  • Sustainable power supply
  • Resource-efficient production
  • Comprehensive optimization for climate protection
  • Storage of energy generated from renewable sources
  • Consistent data and information flows
  • Everything fits together – for a sustainable world

Connect with our team of experts

The All Electric Society team of experts
“We will advise you on questions regarding sector coupling and support you with our solutions”.
Outside view of E-Mobility GmbH in Schieder

Buildings can do even more Coupling of solar power, production, battery storage, and e-mobility

Today, buildings offer much more than just a roof over you head – they are the place for sector coupling made real. The smart building provides a meaningful link between solar power, control engineering, production, battery storage systems, and even charging stations. Phoenix Contact develops the appropriate solutions for this and connects charging stations with photovoltaic systems, ventilation and lighting with energy management, and production with the battery storage system. The whole thing works bidirectionally. Here, e-cars also become temporary energy storage systems and supply the building. This is sustainable and smart at the same time.

Schieder manufacturing infrastructure

Production systems with more pilot control Coupling battery storage systems, production control, and the energy market

It’s all in the mix – and it’s also all in the quantity. If I create a connection between building and production, I can harmonize supply and demand very well. How much energy will a production order actually require? Would it be worth thinking about the day after tomorrow and replenishing the battery storage system in good time? Do I use my own photovoltaic system for this or do I buy electricity from the public grid if the kW-hour is cost-effective?

Networking and, above all, digitalization provide the right answers to these questions. The work is worthwhile. Coupled sectors are sustainable and economical at the same time.

Factory site

Keep energy in the process Limit losses with storage, machine networks, and fewer conversions

Let us simply leave the energy where it belongs – in the production process. We use sector coupling to prevent losses effectively. Every kilowatt-hour that does not have to be generated saves money and is good for the global climate.

This can be achieved, for example, with a combination of buildings, battery storage systems, and the production machines. In essence, this coupling is about using the right energy source in the right place at the right time. And if we also couple this network with a battery storage system and use direct current, then nothing is lost due to the constant conversion and wasted braking energy. This is our path to the All Electric Society.

Person with tablet in front of an automated guided vehicle system

Fill the storage with logistics Use AGVs as mobile storage systems for load management

We have become accustomed to automated guided vehicle systems that perform intralogistics tasks completely autonomously in the factories. The AGVs (automated guided vehicles) find their way themselves and recharge their batteries independently at the end of their shift.

What we should become accustomed to now is that the AGVs can do much more than just intralogistics. After all, their energy storage system has a lot of potential for temporary peak load management for the entire factory. Our idea is to consider every energy storage device used to be a supplier – that is, as a source for the energy grid of coupled sectors. This takes us further along the path to an All Electric Society.

Cruise ship on the sea

Ship and port and a lot of potential Hydrogen for power-to-X and mobile energy applications

On the ocean – infinite expanses; and upon arrival in the port, things suddenly become very tight – especially for cruise ships. Resistance to these white giants is growing. The inhabitants of popular port cities are literally fed up with the emissions from these diesel-powered electricity generators. These are needed to keep the hotel operations of the cruise ships going when the main engine is off while berthed against the quay wall.

But there is also a different way – when process technology, electrolysis, and shipping are connected, fuel cells become possible. Here, the hydrogen produced from renewable sources is then used as a source of electrical current on board. Fuel cells do not generate exhaust fumes – and that makes the cruise-ship industry a little cleaner.

Aerial view of a city

Infrastructure: Your application with renewable energy PV systems and electrolysis systems connected to mobile energy generators

We all know them: stinking diesel generators that provide power on construction sites and in outdoor applications. Emergency power generators are also still using gasoline and other fossil fuels. How sustainable could the world be if we use mobile fuel cells instead and generate the hydrogen with the surplus energy from solar systems and wind farms?

The coupling of PV systems with the process technology electrolyzers makes the infrastructure more sustainable. And this sector coupling is already anything but a dream of the future, but a tangible reality. For example, fuel cells are increasingly replacing diesel for the emergency power supply in railway companies’ network operations.

Offshore platform

Hydrogen makes energy generated from renewable contents storable PV systems, process technology, and traffic systems coupled for sustainable logistics

What to do with the energy from the wind and sun when it is not needed at the moment? And how can ships and airplanes really be brought into the renewables fold on long-haul routes?

The solution: use surplus wind and solar power for the electrolysis of water – and then use the hydrogen generated in the process to synthesize valuable e-fuels. The sector coupling of photovoltaics and wind power, process technology, and transport offers future-oriented development potential, in particular for very windy and very sunny regions. We convert the power of the sun and wind into chemical energy – and use it to make it storable. This clears the way for clean logistics routes in the air and on the ocean.