Until now, energy storage has mainly been used in devices such as mobile phones or notebook computers. Energy experts say this is going to change. As the use of renewable energy sources expands, the electricity grid will change and energy storage facilities will be required to take on an important role in this process.
The solar thermal power plant fed its full output of five megawatts into the grid for the first time on 25 January 2012. This power plant went into operation at the end of last year, and is the first parabolic trough collector array in which steam is generated directly in the collectors.
As a dependable technology, solar thermal power stations can play an important role in transitioning the power grid to renewable energy sources. In contrast to other renewable sources, they supply electricity on demand and can stabilise the grid.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Spanish Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) have brought an innovative, rotary test bench for parabolic troughs into operation at the Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA) in southern Spain. Using this test bench, researchers will be able to test parabolic trough collectors up to 20 metres long at any angle to the Sun and measure their efficiency.
How much power is there in the Sun? How warm does a cold thumb get when it touches a thermoelectric module? And what will the trains of the future look like? Visitors to German Aerospace Day at the German Aerospace Centre in Cologne on 18 September 2011 will have the opportunity to learn about DLR's work in the energy and transport research areas.
On 18 September 2011, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is holding its Aerospace Day in Cologne-Porz. On this date, DLR and the European Space Agency (ESA) – alongside other partners, will be showcasing their research projects from the aerospace, energy and transport sectors.
If companies and wind power equipment manufacturers find favourable conditions, the North Sea could become home to offshore wind farms with a combined generating capacity as high as 135 gigawatts by the year 2030. This is the result of a study conducted as part of an international project chaired by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and in which the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) was involved. The study made recommendations to politicians on the optimum way of developing wind power in the North Sea while remaining compatible with other uses of that body of water.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG started using biofuels on its regular scheduled flights on Friday, 15 July 2011. As part of this project, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will be taking exhaust gas measurements directly on the engine and comparing the emissions from kerosene and from the biofuel.
On 31 March 2011 the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Spanish utility company Endesa inaugurated a direct solar steam generation and energy storage pilot plant at Carboneras, located in southern Spain. In this type of solar power plant, steam is produced directly from concentrated solar radiation and used to drive a generator. The highlight of this facility is a new system that efficiently stores energy, both as sensible heat and latent heat. The stored energy can be used to generate electricity even at night.
At a meeting in Berlin on 16 March 2011, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) agreed to cooperate on research into concentrating solar energy technology. Senator Kim Carr, the Australian Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and Ulrich Wagner, the DLR Executive Board Member for Energy and Transport, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support this initiative. The technology is best suited to regions with high levels of solar radiation, which includes large parts of Australia.
Thanks to a fuel cell-powered electric nose wheel, aircraft will be able to save fuel while significantly reducing airport noise. A quiet and emission-free tarmac will be possible. After three years of development at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the system is now ready for its first rolling tests with the DLR A320 ATRA (Advanced Testing and Research Aircraft).
The missions and projects planned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in 2011 underline the importance of research in Germany, specifically in the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security. Highlights were presented at a new year press conference in Berlin with Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board, and Ulrich Wagner, Board Member for Energy and Transport.
Lighter aircraft save fuel and are environment friendly, but they also need to be safe and offer comfort for passengers. Gusts of wind are a particular challenge for lightweight aircraft, because they can cause the wings and horizontal stabilisers to oscillate, subjecting the passengers to a shaking motion. This has prompted the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to study a model of a lightweight aircraft's wing and tail unit in a wind tunnel at its Göttingen facility.