On 14 February 2019, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) presented some of its planned research and management activities for 2019 at its annual press conference in Berlin. Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board addressed the challenges and goals for the coming year.
Solar researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have investigated whether it is economically viable for a solar thermal power plant to convert excess photovoltaic and wind power into heat and store it. Heat can be stored more cost-effectively than electricity, and can be recovered from the storage system as required in order to generate electricity.
Solar researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have investigated how solar energy can replace fossil fuels for the cement production process. The initial manufacturing stage, the calcination of raw cement powder, has been successfully tested using a rotary kiln in the solar simulator at the DLR Institute of Solar Research in Cologne.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been working with the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Melbourne on behalf of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to determine the necessary developments to achieve the aim of keeping global warming well below 2°C. This target is in line with the international agreements made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.
Three innovative 20-metre-long rotor blades that were developed within the context of the SmartBlades2 project will be assessed under natural weather and wind conditions in Boulder, Colorado (USA) over the next four months.
Dorottya Gubán's fingers move swiftly and unerringly across her test station. She sets a few more parameters, then starts the infrared furnace and heats the redox material that she has developed to 800 degrees Celsius.
Around 400,000 residential units are refurbished in Germany each year, including apartments, family homes and apartment buildings. The German Energy Agency (dena) attributes a crucial role to these energy saving refurbishments in order to achieve the climate targets.
In a sustainable energy system, energy storage systems are of vital importance for the integration of renewable energy sources. So far, however, there has been a lack of location-independent, cost-effective storage on a power plant scale. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are planning to construct the joint research facility NADINE (National Demonstrator for Isentropic Energy Storage) at the sites in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, with the aim of developing cost-effective and virtually loss-less energy storage systems.
Energy storage plays a key role in the sustainable energy system of the future, which is based on renewable resources. But until now, location-independent and cost-effective solutions for energy storage systems on a power plant scale have been missing. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Stuttgart, intends to build a research facility to research and develop technologies for highly efficient and cost-effective energy storage systems.
QFly, a system developed at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) for airborne quality assessment of solar thermal power plants, has been awarded the SolarPACES Technology Award 2018.
How can large amounts of energy be stored quickly, cost-effectively and over longer periods of time, where required? In the cross-sectoral GigaStore project, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is working on the further development of power and heat storage for all areas of application.
Dealing with fluctuations in solar energy is one of the biggest challenges on the way to a sustainable energy supply. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are working on a technology that will hopefully make it possible to operate energy networks with a high proportion of solar energy in a more stable and efficient manner.
There are currently no uniformly applicable standards or regulations for approval and market introduction of novel heat transfer fluid for operation in solar thermal parabolic trough power plants. In principle, the medium must be independently qualified in terms of its chemical and thermodynamic properties.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is involved in the development of the world's first hydrogen fuel cell powered ocean-going ferry for passenger and vehicle transport. The objective of the European Union-funded 'HySeas III' research project is to provide a shuttle service between the Scottish islands of Orkney and Shapinsay with a new type of ship powered by renewable energy sources, beginning in the year 2021.
How can ever-larger volumes of scientific data be processed and evaluated? And how can Earth observation data be meaningfully combined with ground measurements, thereby opening up new sources of information? In the cross-sectoral Big Data Platform project, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are devising new methods for the future-oriented field of Big Data Science. The interdisciplinary research project involves 21 DLR institutes from the research fields of spaceflight, aeronautics, transport, energy, digitalisation and security – all working together. The project is set to run for four years and has received more than 21 million euro of funding.
In its Fuel Cell Power Pack (FCPP), the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has developed an innovative fuel cell module that makes cargo bikes ready for everyday commercial use, extending their range and doubling the service life at a comparable price to purely battery-operated systems.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have taken a major step forward in the development of receiver technology for solar tower power plants. The innovative radiation receiver CentRec in the solar tower at the DLR facility in Jülich passed its first test at extremely high temperatures in May 2018. During the test, the researchers heated ceramic particles in the receiver to over 965 degrees Celsius, and in doing so demonstrated that concentrated solar radiation can be used to generate and store energy at very high temperatures.
An electrodynamic vibration exciter pulls and pushes at the 20-metre SmartBlades DemoBlade with a force of 100 kilograms. The rotor blade oscillates with a deflection of 50 centimetres at the tip. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are conducting precise analyses of these movements and the material stresses on the rotor blade.
The production of hydrogen using renewable resources plays a key role in the sustainable transformation of the energy and mobility systems. This is because it is a multi-use energy carrier that can be used directly for clean mobility in fuel-cell vehicles, as a store for variable renewable energy sources, or as a starting point for the production of synthetic fuels.
Energy is more than electricity; in order to increase the proportion of renewable energy not only in power generation but also in the areas of heating and mobility, energy must be transferred from one sector to another. At the Hannover Messe, from 23 to 27 April 2018, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will show how the coupling of sectors makes the energy system more flexible and more environmentally friendly (Hall 27, Stand H84).