Research Field Energy

Global bottlenecks are predictable - in the reliable supply of energy and the safe disposal and treatment of wastes, residues and emissions. Helmholtz energy researchers are looking for solutions to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The programmes in the funding period 2015-2019

The field of energy research at the Helmholtz Association consists of eight Helmholtz centres: the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, and, finally, the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) as an associate member of the Helmholtz Association.

The research field "Energy" is divided into seven research programmes. All the programmes are implemented in interdisciplinary working groups and international collaborations. The association provides research infrastructure, resources for large-scale experiments, pilot facilities, test systems for large components, high-performance analysis systems and high-capacity computers.

Research Programmes

Renewable Energies

This programme investigates and further develops innovative technologies that complement an energy system based on the consumption of renewables.

Storage and Cross-Linked Infrastructures

This newly conceived programme is dedicated to the research and development of energy storage systems and efficient infrastructures designed to balance the volatile supply of renewables, and to address the different challenges posed by energy transmission and distribution.

Future Information Technology (FIT) – Fundamentals, Novel Concepts, and Energy Efficiency

The rationale of the research programme is twofold: First, it explores the fundamentals of solid-state based new technologies and strategies for a future green ICT. The focus lies on the development of highly energy-efficient concepts and processes for the storage and processing of information. Second, the programme will tackle material-related fundamental problems and microscopic mechanisms in the fields of energy harvesting, conversion and storage.

Technology, Innovation and Society

The aim of this cross-disciplinary programme is to research the environmental, economic, political, ethical and social aspects of new technologies in order to support decision-making processes in politics, the economy and society as a whole.

Nuclear Waste Management, Safety and Radiation Research

This research programme addresses safety issues related to nuclear waste management, including the long-term safety of final storage repositories and the safety of nuclear power plants.

Nuclear Fusion

This programme collaborates with European and international partners on the development of a fusion power plant.

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Around 600 employees at ten Helmholtz Centers are researching hydrogen technologies. The Competence Map Hydrogen summarises the extensive research activities.

Competence Map Hydrogen (Handout, June 2020)