Topics of the Research Program
We believe that an energy supply based mostly on renewable sources requires the following objectives to be met:
- Adequate storage to compensate for volatile power generation, bridge fluctuations at different time-scales in supply and demand, and fulfil the requirements of an electric vehicle network.
− Technology and infrastructure to master new challenges of energy transmission and distribution and cope with strongly distributed power generation.
− A much better link between different energy carriers (e.g. electricity, gaseous and liquid fuels, heat) to secure a reliable, flexible and economical energy supply.
− Higher efficiency for energy-intensive industrial processes, and more flexibility for conventional power plants to better integrate them into an energy system largely based on renewables.
To achieve our objectives, we choose a strategy with multiple technologies. Thus the Storage and Cross-linked Infrastructures programme focuses on a number of small- and large-scale solutions and also addresses fuels and thermal energy storage. The various technologies also differ in maturity as well as in their projected time-frames for implementation.
The following programme topics have been set-up to achieve our objectives: Emphasis is given to Electrochemical Energy Storage (Topic 1) due to its urgent strategic importance for mobile and stationary applications. Electrolysis & Hydrogen (Topic 2) aims to make use of a temporary surplus from renewables and to explore the use of hydrogen for large-scale storage and enhanced electric mobility. Converting hydrogen and CO2 into Synthetic Hydrocarbons (Topic 3) yields storable liquids and gases and curtails CO2 emissions. Fuel Cells (Topic 4) link energy conversion to storage and have manifold applications. Thermal Storage (Topic 5) conserves large amounts of heat from sources such as industrial processes and concentrated solarthermal power plants. Finally, new network concepts and storage integration and new grid technology will be developed in Superconductivity, Networks & System Integration (Topic 6).