Articles for "Future of energy"

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Energy | 29. December 2010 | posted by Dorothee Bürkle | 2 Comments

'The Future of Energy' Year of Science: A different question every week, 1 answer and 150 comments

During 'The Future of Energy' Year of Science, DLR prepared one question each week on the topic of energy, answered by the science journalist, Jan Oliver Löfken. Users were invited to post their questions and comments on the blog, and we responded as they came in – we received a total of 150 contributions. Read 51 posts on our Energy Blog and see how researchers want to safeguard our energy supply in the future and what policies are being put in place for this in the world of politics. read more

Energy | 22. November 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Energy question of the week: What is the EU's strategy for securing energy supply for the future?

20-20-20. The European Union's energy and climate policies have revolved around these figures for years. By the year 2020, 20 percent of our energy will come from renewable sources, reducing greenhouse gases by at least 20 percent and increasing energy efficiency by 20 Percent. All 27 member states are required to achieve these objectives. But now, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, has put forward an energy strategy for the entire EU. What are the most important plans for the future of energy supplies? read more

Energy | 15. November 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken | 3 Comments

Energy question of the week: Can nuclear waste be made safe?

With the decision to extend the service life of German nuclear power stations and the demonstrations against Castor waste transport, the issue of a definitive solution for storage of nuclear waste is a hot topic once again. For instance, the suitability of the salt deposits in Gorleben, Lower Saxony, is being investigated once again, and other potential storage locations in Germany are being looked into. But is there no alternative to storing nuclear waste for thousands of years underground? read more

Other | 25. October 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken | 7 Comments

Energy question of the week: How much longer will world reserves of the nuclear fuel uranium last?

As controversial as nuclear power is, with its still unresolved risks, waste storage problems and high capital costs, it currently meets about 14 percent of global electrical power demand through 430 power stations. However, as is the case with crude oil, coal or natural gas, reserves of uranium 235 – the fuel used in atomic power stations – are finite, meaning that they will run out one day. This poses a simple question: how much longer will our natural uranium reserves last? read more

Energy | 11. October 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken | 4 Comments

Energy question of the week: Why is energy storage so important?

Whether driving a car, switching on a light, or turning up the heating – we take it for granted that there'll be sufficient energy for us to use at that very moment. But this only works if two basics are in place. Firstly, energy needs to be transported quickly and reliably to the consumer in the required form. Second, energy storage guarantees straightforward access and acts as an 'energy buffer' to fill the gaps in distribution. So, what kinds of storage do we get our everyday energy from? 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

Energy | 28. June 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken

Energy question of the week: Can burning ice solve our energy problems?

Crude oil, coal and natural gas are not the only fossil fuels hidden deep below the surface of the Earth. Right around the globe, enormous quantities of methane hydrates can be found as many people already know, especially since Frank Schätzings famous novel 'The Swarm' (Der Schwarm). This white combustible ice consists of water and methane gas. If thawed in a controlled fashion, many billions of tons of methane could be obtained from it. The question is: do methane hydrate have a genuine role to play in our energy future? read more

Energy | 31. May 2010 | posted by Jan Oliver Löfken | 1 Comment

Energy question of the week: Is there such a thing as free electricity?

When we pay our electricity bill, we are paying for more than just the operation of wind turbines or nuclear power stations. What with rental for the electricity meter, costs for using the power grids, value-added tax and a tax on electricity, coupled with a surcharge for the preferred sourcing of green power, the final price we pay is effectively double the generation cost. Having said that, is it conceivable that there is such a thing as free electricity in the ever more dynamic power market? read more