Ergonomic Assistance Systems for Power Grid Control Centers

The safe operation of gas and power grids is ensured through reliable technologies and control center personnel. The increasing technological and systemic complexity of energy systems, as well as the heightened risk of cyber-attacks, lead to a significant increase in the amount of information that must be processed for safe grid management. The aim of the BMBF-funded project "Beautiful" is to optimize the working conditions of control center personnel in critical infrastructures.

The challenges of the energy transition are particularly evident in the control centers of distribution network operators. Control center personnel are responsible for the reliable operation of electricity and gas networks. However, increases in sector coupling and decentralized energy systems lead to a significant rise in information that must be taken into account by the control center personnel during network operations.

The goal of the BEAUTIFUL project is to optimize the working conditions of control center personnel so that they can effectively handle the growing volume of information. To achieve this, a scientific evaluation of cognitive ergonomics will be conducted using subjective measurement methods, along with the collection of physiological data through advanced sensors (such as eye-tracking and heart rate variability). The project involves the development of control room simulators that accurately replicate both current and future operating scenarios, including normal operations and potential failure situations. These simulated environments will serve as a basis for developing ergonomic assistance systems in the areas of system operation and IT security, enabling critical decisions to be made with confidence. Subsequently, these systems will be tested under real-world conditions using the example of energy supply in regional distribution networks. By integrating socio-technical systems into control centers, these can be equipped for an increasingly interconnected energy system.