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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 UNIDO Report Explores Potential of Industry 4.0 for a Transition Towards Sustainable Energy

    Industry 4.0 is transforming industries. Will it also help to reduce emissions? IASS

    A new report launched today by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) looks into the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also referred to as Industry 4.0, to accelerate the transition towards sustainable energy. The report, produced in collaboration with the German Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the Indonesian think tank Sustainability & Resilience.Co (su-re.co), also provides key recommendations for future policies.

  • Power Plants that Purr - Quiet Industrial Facilities

    Noise sources in a converter facility are modeled by Siemens experts in order to produce a realistic overview of acoustic emissions within the facility.

    How can the noise generated by power plants and substations be minimized? A team from Siemens Power and Gas' Acoustics Department specializes in simulating and optimizing noise and vibration reductions.

    Few people would be irritated by the sound of leaves rustling in a gentle breeze. However, if a power plant were to produce the same level of sound in its surrounding environment — about 35 decibels — people would respond very differently. With this in mind, a dedicated team of acousticians at Siemens’ Power and Gas division is using advanced simulation to reduce power plant ambient noise to the lowest possible levels.

  • Saving Energy by Taking a Close Look Inside Transistors

    Physicist Martin Hauck fits a silicon carbide transistor into the measuring apparatus: researchers at FAU have discovered a method for finding defects at the interfaces of switches. FAU/Michael Krieger, Martin Hauck

     

    Transistors are needed wherever current flows, and they are an indispensable component of virtually all electronic switches. In the field of power electronics, transistors are used to switch large currents. However, one side-effect is that the components heat up and energy is lost as a result. One way of combating this and potentially making considerable savings is to use energy-efficient transistors. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have developed a simple yet accurate method for finding defects in the latest generation of silicon carbide transistors. This will speed up the process of developing more energy-efficient transistors in future. They have now published their findings in the renowned journal Communications Physics.*

  • Smart Buildings Through Innovative Membrane Roofs and Façades

    Shopping center “Dolce Vita Shopping Complex“ in Lisbon, Portugal with ETFE membrane elements. Each roof element provides potential for integration of either solar cells or electrochromic films. © Hightex GmbH

    The Cooperative Research Project FLEX-G started on June 1, 2017 under the federal construction technology initiative named ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (FR 03ET1470A). The main goal of the research project is to investigate technologies for the manufacturing of translucent and transparent membrane roof and façade elements with integrated optoelectronic components. The focus lies on a switchable total energy transmittance (often referred to as the solar factor or solar heat gain and “g-value” in Europe) and on flexible solar cell integration to significantly contribute to both energy saving and power generation in buildings.

  • SoCUS – New Cost-Effective Sensor System to Measure State of Charge

    Sensors with 1 cm and 2 cm diameter to measure the state of charge of the battery. © Photo K. Selsam, Fraunhofer ISC

    Batteries are indispensable for electric vehicles and other mobile devices that require electrical power. Complex battery management systems (BMS) are needed to estimate, for example, the range and durability of the battery. Therefore, they determine the state of charge for each cell on the basis of Current (Coulomb Counting) and Voltage. As BMS calculations are based on default values, they are prone to error. Especially with frequent partial charge and certain battery cell types, no precise measurement of the state of charge is possible. In addition, these systems consume some of the energy themselves.

  • Stronger consideration of the fight against energy poverty in energy efficiency policy

    Lack of access to electricity is one indicator of energy poverty.

    In order to combat energy poverty in low-income households, alongside classical social policy measures, it makes sense to consider this target group more strongly in energy efficiency policy. If the ambitious energy and climate targets in Europe are to be met, it is essential that all end-users save energy. Commissioned by the European Parliament, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, SQ Consult and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya have put forward proposals for how to better integrate low-income households in current energy efficiency policy.