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    Research funding for the energy turnaround increasing

    Energy research contributes towards the development of the processes and technologies necessary for achieving the goals of the energy turnaround. The German government has been continuously increasing funding for energy research since 2006. In 2013 alone, it spent 100 million euros more on this than in the prior year. This reinforced above all the research areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. It provided just under 300 million euros for each of these subjects.  more...
     

    Power plants become partners of renewables

    The “Partner-Dampfkraftwerk” research project, which has now begun, aims to significantly improve the demand-driven integration of electricity from fluctuating energy sources. For this purpose, their goal is that existing power plants will reliably balance out the fluctuating power from wind turbines or photovoltaic systems, in order to ensure grid stability. The optimisation measures could already be installed in the short term in existing power plants. With this aim in mind, four power plant operators are collaborating with three research institutes and two components manufacturers, under the project management of VGB PowerTech.  more...
     

    Direct steam generation for more efficient solar power plants

    At the Almería Solar Centre in Spain, a test plant for direct steam generation has commenced operation. Instead of thermal oil, water is heated in the receiver tubes in the parabolic troughs. This allows higher temperatures and saves on plant components. This year the scientists are testing the control system in the 3-megawatt plant.  more...
     

    Phase change stores heat

    When it comes to transporting heat from boilers to heating surfaces or supplying cooling energy to cooling ceilings, water has proved to be an excellent heat transfer medium. However, in some application areas it is now facing competition: various research groups are working on heat transfer fluids that have at least double the energy density. Phase change materials such as paraffin, which are finely distributed in water, store heat when they melt and release it again when they solidify.  more...
     

    Rail travel with water and wind

    It is a core problem of the energy revolution: the fluctuating yields from renewable energy sources have to be integrated into the electricity supply without endangering its safety and economic feasibility. Here the Deutsche Bahn railway company provides a prime example: by 2020, the company intends to draw more than one third of the 12 billion kilowatthours it consumes each year from green electricity. Researchers have calculated that doubling the green electricity used today will increase the electricity costs by around five per cent. The German railway power grid is distinguished, however, by many unique features.  more...
     

    Leisure pool creates a stir

    In November 2011, the "Bambados" Swimming Pool - a leisure pool built to the passive house standard - opened in Bamberg, Upper Franconia. The monitoring is starting at the beginning of April. The measurements will show whether the concept proves itself in practice and whether the planned energy savings can also be achieved in reality. In the BINE interview, Esther Gollwitzer from the Passive House Institute (PHI) discusses the concept behind the new leisure pool and draws an initial balance.  more...
     

    Jump starting electrical storage

    Representatives from science, research and industry converged on the town of Münster to attend the 2012 Battery Day and the subsequent Advanced Battery Power symposium. This year, the conference focused on the potential offered by electrochemical energy storage. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) confirmed at the conference that energy storage played a crucial role in grid stability.  more...
     

    Pallet truck on alcohol

    Ten thousand hours of operation: This record was set by the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at the Research Centre Jülich using a hybrid system based on direct methanol fuel cells. In the project, which has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, a fuel cell stack has been designed for use in electric forklift trucks.  more...
     

    New operating system for stand-alone grids

    Even in a remote village far from the public electricity grid there is modern everyday life with radios, washing machines and electrical appliances. In energy terms this is a “standalone” system. The electricity is supplied by a hybrid system that combines various renewable energy sources and an additional diesel generator, and is buffered with a battery system. An information and control network with a new operating system keeps the stand-alone grid (mini-grid) stable.  more...
     

    Heat and electricity from bioethanol

    Its sounds ideal: a domestic energy plant that generates heat and electricity works almost without emissions and also exclusively utilises the sun and bioalcohol as renewable energy. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy systems ISE are working on such a plant. The heart of the system comprises a fuel cell combined with a newly developed reformer that generates the hydrogen required for the fuel cell from bioethanol.  more...
     

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