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


Technologies for the Energy Transition

© Fraunhofer ISE / Thomas Klink

"Energiewende": An energy transition. Over 2000 Fraunhofer staff members are researching the widest possible variety of technologies in order to make sure that in the future more electricity enters power grids from renewable sources. One example is the concentrator solar cell.

Wind energy: power electronics for renewable energy supply innovation cluster

Innovationscluster Leistungselektronik für Regenerative Energieversorgung
© 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

© 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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A long-term EKG for wind turbines

Cracks in offshore wind turbine foundations can be found using the movable sensor ring.
© 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 Fraunhofer IWES offers a comprehensive outline on the subject of windenergy in Germany and the world.