March 15, 2019

DLR at the Hannover Messe 2019 – Digitalisation – a success factor for the Energy Transition

  • At the Hannover Messe, DLR will be showcasing what the digitally networked and intelligent energy system of the future will look like.
  • Multimedia exhibits will be the highlights on the DLR stand 'Digitalisation: Research for the Energy Transition'. They shed light on the role of digitalisation in implementing the Energy Transition.
  • DLR Technology Marketing presents current innovation ideas and spin-offs from the field of energy research.
  • Focus: Energy, energy transition, energy storage, climate change, digitalisation, Big Data

Digitalisation is a crucial factor in the success of the Energy Transition. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be showcasing how a digitally connected and intelligent energy system could look in the future from 1 to 5 April 2019 at the Hannover Messe (Hall 27, Stand H70).

Digital, networked, intelligent – the energy system of the future

"For the further expansion of renewable energy sources, it is important not only to develop and implement new systems, but also to optimise their use and interaction within the overall system," says Karsten Lemmer, DLR Executive Board Member for Energy and Transport. "DLR energy research is addressing these challenges in an application-oriented way, together with industry."

The energy system of the future consists of a multitude of different sub-systems, ranging from private photovoltaic plants to large-scale offshore wind farms, power plants and storage, as well as consumers. The aim is to optimally network and control these many components so that power and heat are available reliably and exactly when they are needed. Digital models are performing this task by virtually connecting the individual components of the energy system, thus enabling complex analyses and forecasts. This requires a large amount of data to be collected, processed and evaluated. DLR is developing appropriate technologies for working with 'Big Data' in the energy sector.

Energy management for the city of tomorrow

A demonstration model right in the centre of the DLR stand shows how the digital management of energy supply works in practice. Using the example of a city, the model provides a visual representation of energy demand, power generation and energy flows, and connects the power, heat and mobility sectors. At the same time, the exhibit gives an insight into the approaches that DLR is researching with a view to making energy supply more sustainable in the future.

Thermal storage power plants – key technology and a clean route away from coal

One major challenge in the use of renewable forms of energy is the fact that the available power fluctuates depending on the weather conditions and time of day. At the Hannover Messe, DLR energy researchers are presenting a concept for converting existing coal-fired power plants into thermal storage power plants. Instead of burning fossil fuels, these power plants obtain their energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power. At the same time, storing energy in the form of heat allows them to counteract fluctuations in the grid and supply electricity as required.

Digital research – faster development

There are many facets to the digital dimension of energy research. In order to create models of the overall energy system, the experts require an accurate understanding of how the individual system components behave.

DLR researchers are looking closely at the processes that occur within a battery cell, with a view to developing a next-generation battery, and investigating the complex interactions between electrochemical processes in extensive simulations. Combined with experimental work, this knowledge is helping to increase the performance, service life and safety of batteries for a variety of applications.

In virtual space, components can be designed, qualified and further developed more quickly and easily. For instance, DLR researchers are developing special combustion chambers for micro gas turbines using combustion simulations. The small gas turbines can be used in combined heat and power plants for decentralised energy supply and are notable for their high overall efficiency and low pollutant emissions.

Innovation idea for successful technology marketing

DLR Technology Marketing promotes the transfer of technology from cutting-edge research to applications and presents innovative ideas together with current spin-off and transfer projects from the field of energy research.

Solar thermal power plants use concentrated solar energy to generate power using heat. The facilities required for this often extend over a very large area, usually in very inhospitable desert regions, which makes it difficult to inspect and maintain them. DLR researchers are developing the remote-controlled Q-Fly drone to provide assistance with this. The monitoring system flies over the solar field on a predetermined route, acquiring images, measuring any contamination and detecting leaks and mechanical damage. At the heart of the system is the automated analysis software, which provides the operators and service providers with important information for optimising the efficiency and service life of the plant.

Limestone storage facilities offer the possibility to store energy from renewable sources cost-effectively, with low losses and over long periods of time. DLR researchers are currently working on developing this storage concept for lower power applications. The aim is to create seasonal energy storage that can supply family homes and apartment buildings with emission-free heat.

In addition to DLR's 'Digitalisation: Research for the Energy Transition' stand (Hall 27, Stand H70), visitors will also find more exhibits relating to DLR's energy research at the shared Hydrogen + Fuel Cells EUROPE stand (Hall 27, Stand D62).

DLR will be reporting live from the Hannover Messe in German and English via its Twitter feeds on 1 April 2019.


Denise Nüssle

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart
Tel: +49 711 6862-8086

Philipp Burtscheidt

Media relations editor
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-2116