Carbon dioxide

  • A Boost for Photosynthesis

    Cryo-EM structure of the linked complexes of CcmM (red) and Rubisco (green) in liquid droplets (yellow). Formation of this network is the first step in carboxysome biogenesis in cyanobacteria. Illustration: Huping Wang, Andreas Bracher © MPI of Biochemistry

    Photosynthesis is a fundamental biological process which allows plants to use light energy for their growth. Most life forms on Earth are directly or indirectly dependent on photosynthesis. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany have collaborated with colleagues from the Australian National University to study the formation of carboxysomes – a structure that increases the efficiency of photosynthesis in aquatic bacteria. Their results, which were now published in Nature, could lead to the engineering of plants with more efficient photosynthesis and thus higher crop yields.

  • Closing In On the Secret of Possible New Enzymes

    The Peter Comba Research Group. © University of Heidelberg

    Researchers at Heidelberg University have gained new knowledge on the possible biological function of patellamides. In laboratory experiments, they were able to demonstrate that this natural product displays important catalytic activity in combination with copper(II). The team of scientists headed by chemist Prof. Dr Peter Comba developed a special method to determine whether this activity can also be observed in the patellamide-producing organisms. This means that stable copper(II) patellamide complexes could be confirmed in living cells – which would imply that these compounds can act as catalysts.

  • EU project INNOVIP: new technologies for long-lasting and cost-effective vacuum insulation panels

    Vacuum Insulation Panels. FIW München

    High-tech building insulation: EU research project INNOVIP to develop new technologies for long-lasting and cost-effective vacuum insulation panels. Munich – The demands from Brussels are ambitious: by 2050, office and private buildings in Europe must lower their CO2 footprint by around 80 percent, compared to 1990 levels (1). Optimal thermal insulation will play a key role in achieving this target. Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) are particularly promising in this regard, but are still very expensive and difficult to work with. Moreover, to ensure a high level of market acceptance, the lifetime of the panels has to be improved.

  • Key Technologies Driving Germany's Energy Transition

    Germany's Kopernikus research initiative is intended to develop technological solutions over the next few years designed to make the energy transition a success.

    With government funding of EUR 400 million, the Kopernikus Initiative is the biggest research venture ever to deal with Germany's energy transition. Siemens is involved in three out of the Initiative's four research projects.

    For centuries, people thought the Earth was the center of the universe. Not until the 16th century did mathematician Nicholas Copernicus suggest the opposite – founding how we think of the world today. Now, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research has named the biggest research project in its energy transition after him: the Kopernikus Initiative. And Siemens is an active member of three out of the Initiative’s four research projects.

  • Less fuel and lower CO2 emissions with POLYVEST® ST tires

    Less fuel and lower CO2 emissions with POLYVEST® ST tires. Evonik Industries AG

    • Evonik expands its range of rubber additives for tire applications
    • POLYVEST® ST can significantly reduce rolling resistance in tires

    Essen, Germany. Evonik is expanding its silica/silane system, and with it the technology of modern tire production. Newly developed POLYVEST® ST has the potential to further decrease rolling resistance in tires, thus significantly reducing the environmental impact and fuel consumption of vehicles. This has been confirmed in tests on natural rubber based rubber compounds.

  • Lighter than Aluminum and Stronger than Steel: Innovative Materials with Carbon Fibres made from Algae

    e-scooter step made of a composite material integrating granite and carbon fibers made from algae. Image: Andreas Battenberg / TUM

    In combination with granite or other types of hard rock, carbon fibres make possible all-new construction and building materials. Theoretical calculations show: If the carbon fibres are produced from algae oil, production of the innovative materials extracts more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the process sets free. A research project spearheaded by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is to further advance these technologies.

  • Making progress with electricity

    The new BINE-Themeninfo brochure, “Electromobility”  © BINE Informationsdienst

    In the car industry, combustion engines are no longer the yardstick against which all values are measured. Electric drives have begun to become established on the market. The new BINE-Themeninfo brochure, “Electromobility” presents current research results on technology and economic efficiency. Here, the focus is on battery and fuel cell technology, the materials used and the impact of increasing electromobility on the power grid.

    FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.

  • New laser processes for innovative lightweight design

    Laser-remote cut metallic foam made of aluminum (left) and steel (right). © Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

    Lightweight design is one of the mostly progressive research areas involved in accomplishing the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, as well as the reduction of CO2 emissions. Innovative materials, such as carbon or glass fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP/GFRP), as well as metal foams, contribute to the successful implementation of the target set by the Federal Government. The Fraunhofer IWS has been researching in this field for many years to provide promising and affordable solutions for our industrial and research partners. One of these solutions is the laser-remote cutting technique.

  • New membrane reactors supply "green" raw materials for chemical industry

    New membrane reactor for the effective production of basic chemicals with significantly increased yields. Fraunhofer IKTS

    In the future, closed carbon loops play an important role to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and ensure safe and cost-effective access to carbon sources as the basis for products of the chemical industry. In order to increase the efficiency and thus profitability of the synthesis processes required for this, Fraunhofer IKTS has developed a new membrane reactor in cooperation with the Thuringian company MUW-SCREENTEC GmbH.

  • Reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions: promotion or steering?

    Countries by carbon dioxide emissions world map deobfuscated.

    Policy interventions to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions have a variety of effects on the economy and on households. A study carried out as part of the National Research Programme “Managing Energy Consumption” (NRP 71) has provided the first detailed impact assessment of the efficiency and social balance of the energy policy measures “steering” and “promotion”.

  • Research at Fraunhofer ISE Investigates Integrated Photovoltaic Modules for Commercial Vehicles

    Principle of the vehicle-integrated PV modules for refrigerated semitrailers developped by Fraunhofer ISE. ©Fraunhofer ISE

    Thanks to considerable cost reductions in photovoltaic modules, solar energy holds increasing appeal for use in the mobility sector. Depending on the type of application, even diesel fuel for trucks can be replaced by photovoltaics to some extent. Fraunhofer ISE has carried out and evaluated yield analyses of PV power supply for commercial vehicles, such as refrigerated transport vehicles, using real-life solar irradiance data. Based on its findings, the institute sees great potential in this field and is working together with partners from the logistics and automotive sectors to conduct research into special PV modules for use in commercial vehicles.

  • Robust Laser Technology for Environmental Satellites

    Representation of the MERLIN instrument based on the Myriade satellite platform. CNES/illustration David DUCROS, 2016.

    In 2021, the Franco-German satellite MERLIN shall be launched to study methane emissions on Earth. On board is a laser system that works precisely under extreme operating conditions. The technology for this has been developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and will be presented at the LASER World of Photonics 2017.

    As a climate gas, methane has not yet garnered as much attention as carbon dioxide, but is – per molecule – 25 times more potent in causing global warming. However, carbon dioxide is present in the atmosphere about 200 times more frequently and is, in absolute terms, more effective. Since 2007, the methane concentration in the atmosphere has risen rapidly, although science has not yet clarified why this has occurred.

  • Study: Viruses support photosynthesis in bacteria – an evolutionary advantage?

    The association between the virus protein and bacterial pigment is incredibly stable. Furthermore, the complex is highly fluorescent. Credits: AG Frankenberg-Dinkel

    Viruses propagate by infecting a host cell and reproducing inside. This not only affects humans and animals, but bacteria as well. This type of virus is called bacteriophage. They carry so called auxiliary metabolic genes in their genome, which are responsible for producing certain proteins that give the virus an advantage. Researchers at the University of Kaiserslautern and the Ruhr University Bochum have analysed the structure of such a protein more closely. It appears to stimulate the photosynthesis of host bacteria. The study has now been published in the prestigious journal ‘The Journal of Biological Chemistry’.

  • Tailor-Made Membranes for the Environment

    Transmission electron microscope image of the membrane, provided by the Ernst Ruska-Centre. The two phases for proton and electron conduction are marked in colour. Forschungszentrum Jülich

    Jülich, 30 November 2016 – The combustion of fossil energy carriers in coal and gas power plants produces waste gases that are harmful to the environment. Jülich researchers are working on methods to not only reduce such gases, but also utilize them. They are developing ceramic membranes with which pure hydrogen can be separated from carbon dioxide and water vapour. The hydrogen can then be used as a clean energy carrier, for example in fuel cells. The researchers have now been able to increase the efficiency of these membranes to an unprecedented level. Their research results were published in Scientific Reports.

  • The Pyrenoid is a Carbon-Fixing Liquid Droplet

    This image depicts a rendering of a cryo-electron tomogram of a Chlamydomonas pyrenoid, with tubule membranes (green and yellow) awash in a “sea” of Rubisco enzymes (blue). © ScienceDirect

    Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

  • Use of bacteria to produce valuable substances from carbon dioxide

    Ball-and-stick model of the carbon dioxide molecule, one of the most important chemical compounds in the world - vital for life as we know it, but catastrophic at excess levels. Colour code: Carbon, C: black Oxygen, O: red

    Goethe University Frankfurt coordinates European two million Euro project. Microbes are already used on a wide scale for the production of fuels and base chemicals, but for this most of them have to be “fed” with sugar. However, since sugar-based biotechnology finds itself in competition with food production, it is faced with increasingly fierce criticism. Carbon dioxide has meanwhile become the focus of attention as an alternative raw material for biotechnological processes. Goethe University Frankfurt has now taken charge of a collaborative European project, the aim of which is to advance the development of processes for microbial, CO2-based biotechnology. The project will be funded over the next three years with € 2 million.