Energy efficiency

  • “Electricity as a Raw Material” at ACHEMA 2018: Green Energy for Sustainable Chemistry

    Demonstrator for the production of ethene from CO2. Fraunhofer IGB

    Hydrogen peroxide, ethene, alcohols: The Fraunhofer lighthouse project “Electricity as a raw material” is developing electrochemical processes that use renewable electricity to synthesize basic chemicals - with the aim of making the chemical industry more sustainable. From June 11 to 15, Fraunhofer UM-SICHT will be presenting the results together with eight other Fraunhofer Institutes at ACHEMA 2018.

  • Battery production goes Industrie 4.0

    Thanks to the early warning and emergency management system, impurities in the water supply can be quickly tracked down. Fraunhofer IPA

    A battery that can be charged in seconds, has a large capacity and lasts ten to twelve years? Certainly, many have wanted such a thing. Now the FastStorageBW II project – which includes Fraunhofer – is working on making it a reality. Fraunhofer researchers are using pre-production to optimize large-scale production and ensure it follows the principles of Industrie 4.0 from the outset.

    Imagine you’ve had a hectic day and then, to cap it all, you find that the battery of your electric vehicle is virtually empty. This means you’ll have to take a long break while it charges fully. It’s a completely different story with capacitors, which charge in seconds. However, they have a different drawback: they store very little energy.

  • Battery Research at Graz University of Technology: New Breakthroughs in Research on Super-batteries

    Stefan Freunberger vom Institut für Chemische Technologien von Materialien der TU Graz zählt auf in seinem Forschungsgebiet zu den weltweit führenden Wissenschaftern. © Lunghammer – TU Graz

    Researchers at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria have discovered a means of suppressing singlet oxygen formation in lithium-oxygen batteries in order to extend their useful lives. Since 2012, Stefan Freunberger of the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials at TU Graz has been working on development of a new generation of batteries with enhanced performance and longer useful lives, and which are also cheaper to produce than current models. He believes that lithium-oxygen batteries have significant potential. In 2017, in the course of his work, Freunberger uncovered parallels between cell ageing in living organisms and in batteries. In both cases, highly reactive singlet oxygen is responsible for the ageing process.

  • Directly-cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials

    Sectional view of the electric motor. © Fraunhofer ICT

    Making electric cars lighter also involves reducing the weight of the motor. One way to do that is by constructing it from fiber-reinforced polymer materials. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT are working together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT to develop a new cooling concept that will enable polymers to be used as motor housing materials. And that’s not the only advantage of the new cooling concept: it also significantly increases the power density and efficiency of the motor compared to the state of the art.

  • Economical Engines Due to Less Friction

    The Diamor® coating developed at the Fraunhofer IWS could contribute to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing friction in the engine cylinder between the coated piston pin and the connecting rod bushing. © Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

    Together with the automotive industry, researchers at the Fraunhofer IWS have been working to develop processes for friction-reducing surfaces of engine components over the past few years. Now, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced even further by enhancing surface technology. The Dresden Institute is researching in this direction with various partners in the joint project "Prometheus".

  • Efficient and Flexible – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Innovations in Storage at Energy Storage Europe

    The test cell has been successfully implemented in research projects at Fraunhofer ISE and duplicated for project partners. Fraunhofer ISE

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is presenting innovative solutions and projects on renewable energy storage and grid integration at the Energy Storage Europe, the leading international trade fair for storage in Düsseldorf, Germany from March 13-15. Fraunhofer ISE is presenting at a joint booth of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance (Hall 8b, booth B39). Parallel to the trade fair, the 12th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference (IRES) and the 7th Energy Storage Europe Conference (ESE) are taking place.

  • Efficient extraction of oil vapours in industry

    During cold rolling of aluminium, the required fan power can be halved by a new extraction hood.  © Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH & Co. KG

    Before aluminium is transformed into metal sheets and foils, the metal passes through several hot and cold rolling processes. Sprayed roller oil cools and lubricates the work rolls and prevents damage occurring to the thin metal strips during the processing. The BINE-Projektinfo brochure entitled "Extracting fumes in rolling mills" (05/2017) presents a new extraction hood for the vaporised rolling oils. It has been calculated that this system will enable a typical rolling mill to save up to 330,000 kWh of electrical energy per year.

  • Energy-saving New LED Phosphor

    The crystal structure of the SALON phosphor is the reason for its excellent luminescence properties. Uni Innsbruck

    The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.

  • 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.

  • How a FAU researcher disassembles molecules

    Prof.Dr. Andreas Hirsch, holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at FAU, has received an ERC Advanced Grant for the second time. FAU/Boris Mijat

    The EU is granting the chemist Andreas Hirsch of Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) 2.49 million euros to conduct research into black phosphorus on the molecular level. The holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at FAU aims to develop new areas for its application, for instance in the fields of electrical energy storage and solar cells. It could make batteries last longer or enable solar cells to produce more electrical energy. This is the second ERC Advanced Grant to be approved for a research project headed by Hirsch. That makes him the first FAU researcher to achieve this feat.

  • How protons move through a fuel cell

    The experiments have been conducted with Barium ceric oxide. The crystal is non conductive in a dry state. When moisture comes in, the protons form OH-bondings and move through the crystal. Empa

    Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

    As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton conductivity is crucial for the latter; protons, i.e. positively charged hydrogen ions, are formed from hydrogen, which is used to power the fuel cell.

  • ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

    Robot based Additive Manufacturing using Laser Metal Deposition. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    The ICTM Conference has established itself as a networking hub for the international turbomachinery industry. For the fourth time in a row, this biennial event was organized by the International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing ICTM in Aachen and in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology IPT and Laser Technology ILT. This year’s conference took place February 15-16, 2017. More than 250 experts from 19 countries discussed how to more efficiently develop and manufacture turbines for power plants and aircraft in the digital age.

  • Investing in the Energy Supply of Tomorrow

    Fraunhofer ISE's TestLab Power Electronics. ©Fraunhofer ISE

    Fraunhofer ISE’s New Research Lab for Power Electronics and Grid Technologies in the Multi-Megawatt Range. With the grid expansion and modernization process for the German energy transformation, a growing number of applications for advanced power electronics and grid technologies arise. Power electronic devices, or converters, are key for connecting power supplies, consumers and storage systems and are playing an ever more important role in our energy supply. Further, these devices must be tailored to meet the increasingly complex requirements that ensure the flexible and reliable operation of our future energy system.

  • It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-charging Solid-state Batteries

    The solid electrolyte serves as a stable carrier material to which the electrodes are currently applied on both sides using the screen printing process.  Forschungszentrum Jülich / Regine Panknin

    There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature.

  • 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.

  • Launch of project ECO COM'BAT: Sustainable energy storage with high-voltage batteries

    Efficient lithium-ion pouch cell with the base materials. © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    Cruising range is one of the greatest challenges for the rapid implementation of electromobility in Europe. Ten partners from industry and research organizations now join forces in the EU funded project ECO COM'BAT, coordinated by the Fraunhofer Project Group Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies, part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, to develop the next generation of lithium-ion batteries – the high-voltage battery. Better performance is not the only goal for the new battery. Compared to conventional batteries the new type should be more powerful and even more sustainable due to the substitution of conventional, often expensive, rare or even critical materials.

  • Lubricant for Oil Tankers

    The aquatic fern Salvinia molesta traps underwater in a thin layer of air, which it can hold for many weeks. © Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Barthlott/Uni Bonn

    If ship hulls were coated with special high-tech air trapping materials, up to one percent of global CO2 emissions could be avoided. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the University of Bonn together with colleagues from St. Augustin and Rostock in a recent study. According to the study, ships could save up to 20 percent of fuel as a result of reduced drag. If so-called antifouling effects are also considered, such as the reduced growth of organisms on the hull, the reduction can even be doubled. The study has now been published in the journal “Philosophical Transactions A”.

  • More Efficient Energy Harvesting With Magnets

    Thermomagnetic generator on a laboratory scale. Photo: IFW Dresden

    Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW) have developed a new magnetic generator to convert waste heat into electricity. A clever arrangement of the components has succeeded in improving the electrical yield by orders of magnitude. Thus thermomagnetic generators qualify for application-suitable technology for the energy harvesting of from waste heat. Many processes in everyday life and in industry generate waste heat that is not hot enough to be used effectively. As a rule, it is discharged into the environment unused, for example, in the case of large IT servers or at the exit of power plant cooling towers. To date, there are very few technologies available for the conversion of low temperature waste heat into electricity. 

  • New Material Makes Cooling Devices More Energy-efficient

    For their tests, the scientists coated a conventional heat exchanger with the new material, in cooperation with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. Photo: Dirk Lenzen

    Waste heat from industry can often not be utilised because of its low temperature. With this material, it can be used in environmentally friendly cooling systems for example in the field of building technology. The research team from Kiel will present its material and its applications at the Hannover Messe 2018. Cooling devices are considered to be power guzzlers, in which polluting refrigerants are still used, even after the ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). An environmentally friendly alternative are systems which use water instead.

  • New Material to Push the Boundaries of Silicon-Based Electronics

    Fraunhofer IAF develops electronic components and systems based on GaN. The image shows a processed GaN wafer. © Fraunhofer IAF

    The electronics market is growing constantly and so is the demand for increasingly compact and efficient power electronic systems. The predominant electronic components based on silicon will in foreseeable future no longer be able to meet the increasing industrial requirements.This is why scientists from the university of Freiburg, the Sustainability Center Freiburg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have joined forces in order to explore a new material structure that may be better suited for future power electronics.