Research Activities at TU Darmstadt
The TU Darmstadt has a proven record of excellent research and education on numerous energy topics within the different departments, ranging from fundamental research in the natural sciences to application-motivated research and development in engineering sciences. This is reflected by the main research areas of the TU Darmstadt Energy Center and the curricula of the different departments contributing to the Graduate School.
The TU Darmstadt Energy Center is an interdisciplinary research and competence center at the TU Darmstadt aimed at enabling a reliable, economic and sustainable energy supply for further development and prosperity of our society. This institution integrates more than 30 research groups including Civil Engineering, Material Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences and Economics.
Energy Technology Integration Platforms
Formation & Use of Designer Fuels
Fuels as chemical energy carriers provide the advantage of high-energy content, easy transport and storage, as well as reasonable conversion efficiencies. In addition, fuels generated from renewable but discontinuous primary energy sources as e.g. solar and wind energy (solar fuels, for example) allow balancing the fluctuations in the electric power production from these sources by easy storage and transport. Therefore, specifically designed fuels (designer fuels) can be more frequently used for power trains and transport. However, fuel production from renewable primary energy sources and their utilization offer so far a mostly unsolved challenge for a novel energy system.
The given scientific and engineering limitations of an efficient and economic solar fuel cycle define the research objectives of this platform:
- The efficient production of H2 from discontinuously available primary energy carrier
- The efficient conversion of CO2 with H2 to methanol and related hydrocarbons
- The development of adapted combustion and convertor
Building Integration and Energy Self-Sustaining Settlement Areas
Design and construction activities of buildings have long-term effects and values with an enormous impact on future resources. Thus, energy efficiency plays a crucial role in the future activities of the building industry. Germany is leading in the development of energy technologies and is therefore in an excellent position to demonstrate and promote the sustainable resource management together with industry.
The scientific objectives of this integration platform can be summarized as follows:
- Integrating existing energy sources and innovative energy systems in urban environments
- Development and integration of renewable energies for buildings and residential areas
- Development and integration of local storage technologies
Smart Energy Networks
Electrical power systems (and energy distribution systems in general) are facing one of the largest technological changes ever. Coming from a bottom-down structure that has successfully been developed and optimized based on centralized power conversion (fossil, nuclear, water) in increasingly large units for economic reasons, today more and more micro energy converters (wind, solar, bio mass) feed into the system at different locations. One of the strategies that must be developed is the concept of “virtual power plants,” in which many individual and different micro generators and storage units are combined. In their combination, they should behave like a common power generation unit, contributing to system stability. The following are aims of this research group:
- Development of systems and components for high-voltage direct current transmission and high-voltage direct current grids
- System integration of renewable energy converters and storage devices
- Monitoring and optimizing smart grids
Flexible Energy Converter With Low CO2 Emissions
Classical energy converters, e.g. for electrical power generation, for application in industrial processes or for transport applications require dramatic modifications to meet future challenges of a continuous transition process from a carbon based energy economy to new technologies based on renewable sources. The following are objectives for this Energy Integration Research Platform:
- Increased system performance of converters
- Understanding unsteady operation of converters
- Understanding the characteristics of mixed fuel supply including designer fuels based on biomass or solar fuels
- Development of efficient CCS removal technologies