MURREAL: Murtaler Reallabor - On the way to 100% renewable energy by 2040

MURREAL connects the actors of the industrial region Murtal with specialists in the field of high tech and materials with the raw material and energy sector, service providers and research and development. In this exploration for a real laboratory, synergies are to be worked out and business models are to be built up to consistently take the path towards 100% renewable energy and climate neutrality by 2040.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

Although the Murtal region with its once classic heavy industry has more or less managed the structural change to innovative high-tech companies, flagship companies and a broad portfolio of materials, there are still numerous challenges, such as the significantly high energy demand (due to the large companies, among others), a population decline or the shortage of skilled workers.

Specific challenges with regard to climate protection and energy transition lie - especially in view of "near-natural surroundings" - in the lack of awareness, ignorance and prejudices against renewable energy technologies. On the other hand, the region has a high potential of renewable energy sources and of waste heat and biogenic residual and surplus fractions due to its natural location. An extensive district heating network is also available.

Contents and goals

The exploratory project MURREAL aims at the creation of a comprehensive development path for a real laboratory to test the energy transition in the district of Murtal, with the clear perspective of a prototypical model solution also for other (similar) regions. Especially, since the initial situation in the Murtal is quite representative of numerous similar regions in Austria and beyond.

The Reallabor is an optimal opportunity to use the potentials in a coordinated way, to meet the challenges and to test or advance the energy transition - especially in view of the technical innovations to be included, as well as on the process level to master the organizational-social challenges along the way.

The detailed objectives for the exploratory phase consist of 

  • a detailed quantification of the status quo,
  • the development of energy transition scenarios,
  • the conception of the implementation pathway,
  • the conception of the reallaboratory (as an organizational part of the implementation pathway), and
  • the development of a best-practice knowledge platform.


The innovations in the exploratory approach lie in the specific application of the Theory of Change approach and in also taking into account the (energy) spatial, economic and legal framework conditions. The following innovations or results are to be generated: 

  • application of tools for an evidence-based, digital, comprehensible, replicable synopsis to an integrative energy system,
  • evaluation of scenarios in terms of energy and greenhouse gas dimension and with regard to regional value creation,
  • Simulation of innovative technologies, among others. Biomass to Liquid (BTL) and Power to Liquid (PTL),
  • conception of the real laboratory with qualitative participation, which ensures effectiveness, implementation and long-term sustainability as well as
  • transferability to similar regions by generating process guidelines digitally-interactively on a best-practice knowledge platform.

Expected results

The Energieagentur Obersteiermark pursues together with regional stakeholders and actors in the Murtal the goal to further develop the region towards climate neutrality. The development and valorisation of the regionally available renewable energy, the increase of energy efficiency in buildings and processes, as well as the creation of new synergies in the sense of a sector coupling via electricity-heat-fuels, and also in the interaction of industrial energy systems and waste heat, municipal infrastructures and the urban environment play a major role. This exploratory project is an important step in this direction. It provides a concrete implementation path for a possible future real laboratory including a regional economic evaluation.

Project Partners

Project management

Josef Bärnthaler / Energieagentur Obersteiermark GmbH

Project or cooperation partners

  • DI Petra Busswald - akaryon GmbH
  • DI Dr. Hartmut Dumke, DI Daniel Youssef - Technische Universität Wien Institut für Raumplanung
  • DI Dr. Lore Abart-Heriszt, DI Franz Huber - Universität für Bodenkultur Wien Institut für Raumplanung, Umweltplanung und Bodenordnung (IRUB)
  • Mag. Michael Eder - STRATECO OG
  • DI Hannah Politor, DI Dr. Stefan Kirchweger, Dipl. Math. Wolfgang Baaske - STUDIA-Schlierbach Studienzentrum für Internationale Analysen
  • Dr. Günter Wind - Wind - Ingenieurbüro für Physik

Contact Address

Energieagentur Obersteiermark GmbH
Holzinnovationszentrum 1a
A-8740 Zeltweg
Tel.: +43 (03577) 266 64-0