Thursday, 22 October 2020
Dr. Stefan Brendelberger, employee of the Institute of Solar Research, and the companies HelioHeat and Lumoview, founded by SF employees, are among this year's finalists for the Falling Walls Foundation's “Breakthrough of the Year”. The non-profit organisation founded in 2010 has set itself the task of promoting and recognising innovations and breakthroughs in science, business, politics, culture and civil society. Every year the foundation honors pioneers in ten categories. A jury will select 10 winners in each category from the more than 600 finalists. Among these, the winners of the winners will be chosen. In keeping with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the foundation's main question is: Which walls will fall next?
All finalists briefly introduce themselves with videos on the Falling Walls Foundation website.
Dr. Stefan Brendelberger - Breaking the Wall of Solar Kerosene (Category: Engineering and Technology)
Stefan Brendelberger is working on climate-friendly fuel for aircraft: solar kerosene consists only of CO2, water and sunlight. It behaves in a very similar way to fossil fuels, so it can be used in existing turbines without any modifications, but at the same time leads to far fewer CO2 emissions than fossil fuels. The energy for creating solar fuels comes - as the name suggests - from the heat of the sun: Heat from concentrated solar energy drives a chemical reaction in which water and CO2 are split and form a synthesis gas. This gas goes through further chemical processes until it reaches its final liquid state (Sun-to-liquid). A major challenge in the research and commercial exploitation of solar fuels is to produce large quantities at low cost. A very energy-consuming and therefore costly (but absolutely necessary) step is to remove oxygen from the chemical reaction chain. Stefan Brendelberger and his team are researching how to use oxygen-absorbing materials and less pressure to make this step more energy-efficient and therefore cheaper, so that solar fuels are affordable in the future and make an important contribution to lower-emission flying.
HelioHeat GmbH - Breaking the wall of fossil fuels (Category: Science Start -Ups)
The need for industrial heat is higher than the electricity consumption of the whole world. HelioHeat's technology can generate industrial heat from renewable sources in an environmentally friendly and CO<sub>2</sub>-neutral manner at any time of the day or night. HelioHeat is the first company in the world to commercialise a solar receiver that was patented at DLR. This receiver uses ceramic particles as both an absorber and storage medium in solar thermal power plants. The heat produced in a solar power plant can easily be stored and used at a later point in time - directly as industrial heat or as electricity. If the sun is not shining sufficiently, electricity from wind or PV power plants as well as renewable fuels, such as green hydrogen, can also heat the ceramic particles. The ceramic particles used are non-toxic and harmless to humans and the environment. HelioHeat's technology can already compete with the costs of energy from fossil sources - and is expected to make a contribution to more environmentally friendly pasta in an Italian plant of the Barilla company starting late 2021 (see DLR press release from October 9th).
Further information about the company Helioheat: www.helioheat.de
Lumoview Building Analytics GmbH - Breaking the Wall to energy efficient buildings (Category: Science Start -Ups)
Lumoview Building Analytics is the most efficient way to digitize buildings. The company has developed an easy-to-use measurement system that scans an entire room in just two seconds. It scans visual aspects, uses infrared technology as well as various laser and air quality measurements. From all this data, the system uses computer vision and machine learning to generate a room plan, a building plan and a 3D model. In addition, users can enter their own metadata and notes via the app. This technology is particularly relevant for energy consultancies and energy suppliers, for example, as it allows weak points in thermal insulation to be identified quickly and easily.
Further information about Lumoview: www.lumoview.com
This year the Falling Walls Conference and the Berlin Science Week will take place together for the first time online as the World Science Summit from November 1 to 10 (digital access is free for everyone). This year's winners will be announced on November 9th.
Best of luck to our finalists!