Toward an efficient, resource-friendly energy supply - The “Materials and Technologies for the Energy Transition” program

The conversion, transport, storage, and use of energy must be interlinked in order to create a carbon-neutral energy supply. In the “Materials and Technologies for the Energy Transition” program, we develop specific solutions for these individual areas. Our researchers focus on five topics:

  • Photovoltaics and wind energy are the key technological building blocks for carbon-free electricity production. We find solutions to fundamental questions concerning materials and develop both high-performance components and systems as well as production technologies that are cost-effective, sustainable, and stable over the long term.
  • We are dedicated to researching the field of electrochemical energy storage – an approach that paves the way for compact, highly efficient storage devices for decentralized supply systems and sustainable electric mobility. We explore new battery materials and technologies, developing innovative processes for manufacturing cells and powerful battery systems for stationary and mobile applications.
  • Our chemical energy carriers area looks at efficient chemical and electrochemical conversion technologies that can be used to bridge the gap between energy supply and energy demand in the electricity sector as well as applications in the mobility and industrial sectors. New methods like power-to-X technologies aim to use eco-friendly approaches to convert renewable electricity into chemical energy carriers. These may include green hydrogen or synthetic fuels, for example, which can be readily stored and transported and are suitable for a wide range of applications in the energy system.
  • We research thermal high-temperature technologies that will make it possible for us to supply, store, and use electricity and process heat in the future while protecting the climate. In doing so, our work focuses on five key technologies and their integration: gas turbines that are flexible in terms of fuels and loads, solar thermal power plants, geothermal applications, high-temperature heat pumps, and high-temperature thermal storage systems.
  • The energy transition also involves establishing a sustainable circular economy to limit the consumption of natural resources. To this end, we explore ways of enhancing resource and energy efficiency.Our goal is to close the major raw material and product loops for carbon, metals, and minerals. To achieve this, we are developing new technologies and concepts for energy-intensive processes, for utilizing primary and secondary raw materials, and for the high-efficiency transport of electrical energy.

Translating findings – from research into marketable products and services for German manufacturers – is of high strategic importance for Helmholtz. We see the energy transition as a global challenge. That is why we aim to use application-oriented research as the basis for developing exportable, scalable technology solutions that can be put into practice around the world and individually tailored – to suit the resources and budgets available in the countries concerned.

Overview

  • The “Materials and Technologies for the Energy Transition” program works on options for developing innovative materials and scalable technologies for the energy supply of the future that can be implemented in Germany as well as in export markets.
  • We develop marketable technologies for energy storage and conversion with a view to closing material loops and conserving resources.
  • Our goal is to rapidly transfer the results of our research into applications in the form of products and services for the industrial sector.

Topics

  • Photovoltaics and wind energy
  • Electrochemical energy storage
  • Chemical energy carriers
  • High-temperature thermal Technologies
  • Resource and energy efficiency

Participating Helmholtz Centers

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

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