Energy and Resources – Renewable Energy

In Germany, wind energy is the number one renewable power source. Offshore wind farms in particular require innovation, since they must be planned and built to withstand the wear of wind, water, salt, UV rays and waves over the 20 years or so of their service lives. Photovoltaic systems and solar thermal systems are what allow us to harness the sun’s energy for our use. Fraunhofer researchers are hard at work trying to make these systems even more efficient. Meanwhile, Germany now has a significant market for biomass energy and one of the primary aims of modern biotechnology is finding a way to produce biomass efficiently.

Energie und Rohstoffe

Projects

Wind energy: power electronics for renewable energy supply innovation cluster

Innovationscluster Leistungselektronik für Regenerative Energieversorgung
© Photo Fraunhofer ISIT

In the Power Electronics for Renewable Energy Supply innovation cluster, researchers from Fraunhofer IWES Northwest and the University of Hannover are working with 16 companies from the wind energy sector to investigate the causes and mechanisms of common damage to power electronics and identify areas for potential savings. The three-year project, which is funded by the federal state of Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Science and Culture and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, draws on operating data from more than 2000 facilities and is a major effort in the quest to make wind power more economical.

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Solar energy: III-V and concentrator photovoltaics

© Photo Fraunhofer ISE

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns.

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Bio-Energy: flower development in nicotiana tabacum

Bild: Tabakriesen
© Photo Fraunhofer IME

Tobacco plants bloom when they are just a few months old – and then they die. Now, researchers have located a genetic switch which can keep the plants young for years and which permits unbounded growth. In short, an ideal source of biomass.

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A long-term EKG for wind turbines

Cracks in offshore wind turbine foundations can be found using the movable sensor ring.
© Photo Fraunhofer IKTS

Researchers fitted a test pipe knot with two sensor ring demonstrators for practical trials in the Baltic Sea.

Offshore wind turbines have to take a lot of punishment, and this is particularly true for their foundations, which are anchored in the seabed. Divers periodically descend to inspect these structures for defects, but in the future, such checks will be faster and easier to carry out thanks to a new sensor ring. Researchers will be presenting a system for this at Hannover Messe from April 25 to 29, 2016 (Hall 2, Booth C16/C22).

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Wind Monitor

On www.windmonitor.de Fraunhofer IWES offers a comprehensive outline on the subject of windenergy in Germany and the world.

Study Solar energy

According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE commissioned by Agora Energiewende, solar energy will become the cheapest power source in many parts of the world.