DEFENDER - Defending the European Energy Infrastructures


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Besuch bei  ELES Copyright: DEFENDER Consortium Visit at ELES


Nikolaus Wirtz


Nikolaus Wirtz

Team Resiliency and Interoperability in Smart Grids


+49 241 80 49580




Stevic, Marija


Marija Stevic

Team Modeling, Simulation and HiL Methods


+49 241 80 49585




Abhinav Sadu


Abhinav Sadu

Team Leader Resiliency and Interoperability in Smart Grids


+49 241 80 49743



Critical Energy infrastructures (CEI) protection and security are becoming of utmost importance in our everyday life. However, cyber and system-theoretic approaches fail to provide appropriate security levels to CEIs, since they are often used in isolation and build on incomplete attack models, resulting in silos-like security management fragmented operational policies.

To face these challenges, DEFENDER will

  • model CEIs as distributed Cyber-Physical Systems for managing the potential reciprocal effects of cyber and physical threats
  • deploy a novel security governance model, which leverages on lifecycle assessment for cost-effective security management over the time
  • bring people at centre stage by empowering them as virtual sensors for threat detection, as first level emergency responders to attacks, or by considering workforce as potential threats.

DEFENDER will adapt, integrate, upscale and validate a number of TRL 4-5 technologies and deploy them within a TRL7 integrated yet adaptable framework for CEI security, resilience and self-healing “by design”, with a view to address, detect, and mitigate cyber-physical threats.

To this aim DEFENDER framework will combine a range of devices/technologies for situational awareness:

  • fixed sensors like PMUs (Phasor Measurement Units), mobile devices like drones and advanced video surveillance
  • intelligent processing for cyber-physical threat detection with
  • a toolbox for incident mitigation and emergency response and
  • Human-In-The-Loop for managing people interaction with CEI, while leveraging on blockchain technology for peer-to-peer trustworthiness.

The effectiveness of DEFENDER will be extensively validated on a CEI lab emulator at RWTH Aachen and on 4 real life demonstrators (in Belgium, Italy and Slovenia) fully covering the overall energy value chain, ranging from a nuclear generation plant, to a decentralized RES generation one, a TSO HV network, to a DSO network and a business prosumer.

The RWTH institute ACS drives work package 2 “Protective measures to reduce risk by Design” and heavily contributes to the laboratory validation of the developed approaches for protection and security by design.




Chijioke Eze, Abhinav Sadu, Marija Stevic and Nikolaus Wirtz represented ACS in the DEFENDER project meeting in Brétigny-sur-Orge (France), hosted by Engie SA. In addition to the meeting, several DEFENDER components and the DEFENDER security platform have been demonstrated and evaluated in a local testing area.


Nikolaus Wirtz presented DEFENDER at the fit4sec network meeting in Berlin. fit4sec is a program by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is aiming to strengthen German security research by providing support in writing proposals and building consortiums targeting EU research programs.


More Information


Abhinav Sadu, Marija Stevic and Nikolaus Wirtz represented ACS in the DEFENDER project meeting in Bled (Slovenia), hosted by Jožef Stefan Institute​ and the Institute for Corporate Security Studies.


Nikolaus Wirtz represented ACS in the DEFENDER project review of the first reporting period in Brussels.


The DEFENDER project organi​zed a workshop on "Personal data protection in Critical Infrastructures" in Rome on November 20th. Dr. Gianluca Lipari represented ACS at the workshop and presented the synergies with the SUCCESS project.


Nikolaus Wirtz represented ACS in the DEFENDER project meeting in Lecce (Italy), hosted by Engineering Ingegneria Informatica.


Abhinav Sadu and Nikolaus Wirtz represented ACS in a workshop in Ljubljana on vulnerability analysis of power and communcation networks with the slowenian TSO ELES.


Nikolaus Wirtz represented ACS in the DEFENDER project meeting in London, hosted by Venaka Media.


Malileh Haghgoo and Marija Stevic joined the plenary meeting of the H2020 DEFENDER project on 16 and 17 of April, hosted by Engineering in Rome, Italy.


ACS, represented by Nikolaus Wirtz attended the DEFENDER plenary meeting in Terni, hosted by ASM Terni S.p.A.


Several Work packages of the H2020 project DEFENDER met in Ljubljana for concrete elaboration of research activities across partners. A visit at ELES (one of the pilot site owners) regional control room and substation facilities supported the discussions. For ACS, Nikolaus Wirtz and Bettina Schäfer were participating.


The H2020 project DEFENDER held the kick-off meeting in Rome. Bettina Schäfer participated for ACS. DEFENDER (Defining the European Energy Infrastructures) is aiming at protection and security of critical energy infrastructures.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement no 740898.