June 14, 2023 | New technologies for a sustainable future


  • The GREENTECH FESTIVAL will take place on the grounds of the former Tegel Airport in Berlin from 14 to 16 June 2023.
  • DLR will be showcasing technologies for storing energy with lime, the world's most environmentally friendly car, and a project for the remote-controlled transport of humanitarian goods.
  • Focus: energy, transport, sustainability, technology transfer, mobility of the future

From 14 to 16 June 2023, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be presenting futuristic technologies and current research projects from the fields of energy, mobility and robotics at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL in Berlin. The focus of the festival, which will take place in the grounds of the former Berlin Tegel Airport, is on green and sustainable developments. At the DLR stand, visitors can experience innovative lime-based energy storage systems, see ZEDU-1 – the world's most environmentally friendly car – and explore a remote-controlled vehicle concept for humanitarian aid missions.

Calogy – smart heating with lime

A team from the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics is working together with the University of Stuttgart to find out how buildings can be heated in a climate-neutral way by employing a thermal storage system that uses quicklime. The researchers are currently testing a pilot plant, thus bringing this technology into use for the first time and on a larger scale than in the laboratory. To generate heat, lime storage tanks use the chemical reaction between quicklime and water. When these two substances react, they can generate temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Celsius. The heat output can be regulated by altering the amounts of lime and water.

An important characteristic of lime storage systems is that they have almost no heat losses. Lime can chemically store energy over a period of months. With this principle, energy from renewable sources can be stored during summer and used for heating in winter. The Calogy exhibit at the DLR stand explains exactly how this works.

ZEDU-1 – the world's most environmentally friendly car

On the way to environment and climate-friendly road transport, electric drivetrains with batteries and fuel cells are in the forefront. However, they do not yet enable completely emission-free driving. This is because abrasion of brakes and tyres produces fine dust and microplastics. With the prototype Zero Emission Drive Unit – Generation 1, or ZEDU-1 for short, DLR has developed and successfully tested a completely emission-free road vehicle in collaboration with the automotive company HWA.

Instead of a conventional disc brake, the vehicle has what is referred to as a multi-disc brake. This is not installed in the wheel but is integrated as a closed unit in the electric motor. Thanks to the specially developed high-performance electronics, the braking energy is almost completely recovered. The researchers used the freed-up space for another innovation; the closed wheel housing of ZEDU is aerodynamically designed in such a way that negative pressure is generated when driving. This causes the tyre abrasion products to collect in a specific place. A fan unit in the front of the vehicle extracts the particles and sends them through a filter system – similar to a hoover. In this way, only filtered air leaves the vehicle.

The technology has already proven itself. During initial test drives at a speed of 50 kilometres per hour no tyre abrasion products were released into the environment. At higher speeds, the emissions were reduced by 70 to 80 percent compared to conventional road vehicles. The unique prototype ZEDU-1 is a guest at the DLR stand at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL.

AHEAD – safe transport across difficult terrain

Vehicles transporting relief supplies are often on the road in difficult terrain. They sometimes have to cross regions that also pose risks for the drivers. These can be diseases, animal attacks or even floods. These risks are difficult to assess in advance, especially in areas that are rarely entered by humans. In the Autonomous Humanitarian Emergency Aid Devices (AHEAD) project, researchers from the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and a consortium of other DLR institutes and technology partners have been investigating how remote-controlled trucks can be used to safely deliver relief supplies to their destinations without a human crew.

DLR collaborated with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on the project. The team developed a concept for how robotic, remote-controlled vehicles could traverse a regionally flooded route in South Sudan. The concept employed SHERP vehicles, which the WFP already uses. These off-roaders can move over any terrain, even in water or swamps. They can overcome climbable obstacles with heights of up to one metre. The researchers equipped the vehicles with multiple sensors and systems to control them remotely. The concept was successfully tested at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen at the end of 2022.


Denise Nüssle

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