Energy | 09. August 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken | 11 Comments

Energy question of the week: Which type of electricity generation has the least impact on climate?

Coal-fired power stations burn lignite or, for the most part, coal imported from overseas. Solar cells need crystalline silicon that first needs to be extracted from quartz, an energy-intensive process. Therefore, when examining the climate compatibility of power generating plants, it makes sense to not restrict the analysis just to the operation of the plant. Instead, the total energy required should be considered across the entire service life of the plant, typically in excess of 30 years. Viewed against this benchmark, which type of power plant has the best environmental credentials? read more

Space | 06. August 2010 | 1 Comment

TanDEM-X answers its first call for crisis assistance

Satellite data is an indispensable tool for quickly assessment of the situation in cases of natural or environmental disasters and for guiding emergency teams on ground. DLR's 'Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information' (Zentrum für satellitengestützte Kriseninformation; ZKI) and many other international organizations have been using the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X for three years to rapidly obtain reliable data in all weather conditions for such crisis situations. Now, our new satellite, TanDEM-X, has also provided assistance for the first time in a crisis – gathering information on the flood catastrophe in Pakistan. We were able to help not only with radar images but we also used TanDEM-X for interferometry in formation with TerraSAR-X for the first time. This has provided a more reliable technique to map floods instantaneously and more accurately, in one pass and without the need for archived data. read more

Space | 02. August 2010

TanDEM-X ground segment kicks off!

Höhendatensatz: Vulkan Longonot in Kenia

The successful setup of the 'wide' flight formation between the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites marked the beginning of the 'TerraSAR-X Add-On for Digital Elevation Measurements' mission in its literal sense: Now, with both satellites flying as a team – three seconds apart – and seeing the same region of the Earth's surface, tricky instrument commanding is no longer needed to acquire interferometric data sets. Ordering, planning and commanding of the synchronous acquisitions, as well as reception and, in particular, processing of the data sets from both satellites are performed completely automatically. read more

Energy | 02. August 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Energy question of the week: Can we secure our fuel supply with the help of algal blooms?

Every hot summer, gigantic carpets of blue algae spread across the Baltic, much to the disapointment of seaside visitors looking for a quick dip in the cool water. Cyanobacteria inhabit the yellow-green plumes and can lead to poisoning if ingested. However, these same microorganisms can also produce flammable hydrocarbon chains known as alkanes and alkenes. Might they be suited to diesel and petrol production? read more