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    Themeninfo I/2016

    Thermoelectrics: power from waste heat

    Waste heat is produced in all areas of daily life – in industry, homes and transport. In Germany alone, this adds up to a waste heat potential of 300 TWh per year. This energy volume corresponds to nearly half the total energy consumed by German industry. Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) can tap into this huge energy reservoir and transform the "waste energy" without moving parts into a higher form of energy.  more...
     
    Themeninfo II/2015

    Net Zero Energy and Net Energy Plus Buildings

    Buildings generally have the potential and infrastructure to generate the energy required by them on site. This provides the principle behind net zero-energy or net energy-plus buildings, whose numbers are steadily increasing around the world and especially in Germany. They have names like “energy-plus house”, “zero emissions house”, “efficiency house plus”, “activated-plus house” or “solar active house” and, internationally, “net zero-energy building”, “carbon neutral home”, “EQuilibrium™ House” and “Bâtiment à énergie positive”.  more...
     
    Themeninfo I/2015

    Ventilation in schools

    In Germany, the shortened overall length of secondary education and increasingly frequent all-day teaching mean that children, adolescents and teachers these days spend more hours of the week in school buildings than previous generations. Modern school buildings need to be able to offer a diverse education and facilitate the use of schools as a learning and living environment. In addition to the socially widely discussed educational approaches, an essential aspect of state-of-the-art schools also includes the provision of buildings with a higher user quality. Given the drop in pupil numbers, this is mainly concerned with the structural and energy-efficient retrofitting of existing buildings rather than with new-buildings.  more...
     

    Sustainable refurbishment of museums

    There are more than 7,000 museums in Germany. However, many museum buildings are now in need of refurbishment and their systems technology is outdated. At the same time, the financial position of cities and municipalities has become so acute that public amenities, such as swimming pools and libraries, are being forced to close. There is therefore a move towards transforming museums into independently operated enterprises that have to bear at least part of the maintenance, upkeep and utility costs for their buildings themselves.  more...
     
    Themeninfo I/2014

    Researching in the global network

    International research collaborations are becoming increasingly important. Germany is involved in a variety of ways in international energy research. An important pillar in this regard is its involvement in the International Energy Agency (IEA). Germany is a founding member of this organisation. An IEA field of activity particularly relevant to energy research is its energy technology network.  more...
     

    Solar thermal power plants

    The annual solar irradiation on the earth provides more than 8,000 times the world’s energy requirements. Mathematically speaking, about 1 % of the surface area of the Sahara Desert is sufficient in order to meet the world’s electricity requirements with solar thermal power plants. A solar thermal power plant was already constructed close to Cairo at the beginning of the 20th century. Using parabolic mirrors, the power plant captured and concentrated solar energy and used it to heat oil for boiling water. This in turn was used to drive steam turbines and produce electricity.  more...
     

    Electrically driven heat pumps

    Electric heat pumps have become firmly established in the German heating market. In recent years they have gained an eight to ten per cent share of the market. Approximately every fourth new building is heated with a heat pump. Whereas until a few years ago ground source heat pumps were still sold the most, the sales figures have shifted in recent years in favour of air source heat pumps. Carefully planned, heat pump systems compare very economically with other heating systems.  more...
     

    RAVE - Research on the offshore test field

    High, far, deep and rough - this is how the RAVE research initiative itself describes the typical challenges faced by offshore wind energy. During the next few years, a dozen large-scale wind farms are being installed far off the coast of Germany in the North and Baltic seas. These are already earmarked to make up more than one third of the installed wind energy output by 2020. The sea-based wind farms will therefore make a considerable contribution to generating 35% of electricity from renewable energies by 2020, as envisaged by Germany´s energy policy.  more...
     

    Innovations in Photovoltaics

    New developments make it possible: solar power can be produced increasingly cheaply. The solar power industry is close to achieving grid parity, which means that it will no longer cost more to generate solar power than the current consumer price. Researchers are presenting solar cells with ever-higher efficiencies and new records are constantly being set, only to be broken again. The series of successes is one of the clearest indications for the rapid progress being made in photovoltaics.  more...
     

    Insulation through vacuums

    What works for thermos flasks can also be used for thermally insulating buildings: insulation by means of a vacuum. For this purpose, panels made of compressed silica powder, which is an extremely porous material, are enclosed in a largely gas- and water vapour-tight envelope made of special high-barrier films or stainless steel and evacuated. The thermal insulation provided by these vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) is five to ten times that achieved by conventional insulation systems. This means that vacuum insulation requires a correspondingly lower thickness of insulation material to achieve the same insulating effect, which is highly beneficial when there are space constraints or high thermal insulation requirements.  more...
     

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