Energy Alliance Aids Germany’s Energy Industry

Research for the greater good is important to Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft, an applied research group based in Freiburg, Germany. Energy, and the many ways it can become more efficient, less polluting, more integrated and less bulky is on the group’s agenda with the new research branch the Energy Alliance. The Alliance has Euro 45 million (US $58 million) in funding, and is comprised of ten Fraunhofer Institutes.

“Together with industry, we aim to further extend Germany’s technological leadership in the efficient use of energy and access to renewable energy sources,” said Prof. Joachim Luther, the Alliance spokesman and Director of Fraunhofer ISE. Further aims are to help particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, but also politics and the energy sector, to draw on the industrially relevant research competence of the Fraunhofer Institutes. The office of the Alliance has been set up at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany. It serves as the central contact point for companies that would like to have their research needs analyzed, and guides them to Institutes with appropriate expertise. The advantage: From materials research to macro-economic systems analysis, the ten Fraunhofer Institutes together can offer comprehensive know-how on energy questions. “Particularly for complex research and development tasks, we can develop financially attractive solutions due to the new form of co-operation”, said Dr. Tim Meyer, CEO of the Alliance and Head of the Department for Electrical Energy Systems at Fraunhofer ISE. The Energy Alliance offers its services under four main topics: –Efficient energy technology, which includes the processes and technology for stationary energy conversion, heat and power cogeneration in the low and medium power range, hydrogen technology and fuel cells, and novel micro-turbines with the accompanying technology to purify liquid and gaseous fuels for use. The Energy Alliance is also co-operating with the energy economy to develop new procedures for integrating decentrally-generated electricity into the supply and distribution grids. — Renewable energy sources, which includes solar, wind and biomass. The Fraunhofer scientists here are concentrating on new materials and manufacturing processes for photovoltaics (PV), solar heating and solar cooling, as well as the production and usage of biogenic gases and fuels. Prediction tools and reliability analyses are being developed for wind energy systems. — Integrated energy systems, which encompasses integrated solutions for buildings and distributed energy networks so they can be planned, constructed and operated more cost-effectively. Intelligent controls and new management models allow new energy-saving potentials to be tapped and operating costs to be saved. — Storage and miniaturized energy technology, which includes the demand for smaller and more powerful components to supply off-grid power for information and communication devices. Here, the researchers are focusing on the miniaturization of fuel-cell systems, further development of lithium technology and high-power capacitors.
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