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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB - ENERGY

ENERGY n energy supply based on the use of finite primary energy sources such as crude oil, natural gas and coal leads to a rapid rise in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere – and thus to unpredictable climate changes. The transition to a sustainable, environmentally friendly yet reli- able and economical source of energy supply – in view as well of the ambitious climate change targets – is therefore one of the major challenges Fraunhofer IGB meets in the use of electric- ity, heat, and chemical energy (fuels). Sustainable energy conversion The efficient production of biogas from organic waste, by-products of the food industry and agriculture, sewage sludge or wastewater by means of anaerobic technologies has been a key research area at IGB for decades. Increasingly, low mass flows from decentrali ed sources are gaining in importance e make contributions to increase photosynthesis capacity by developing processes for cultivating microalgae. Their storage substances can be used either directly (lipids), after fermentative conversion to ethanol (starch), or after digestion to biogas (residual biomass) for energy. We also advance the exploitation of further regenerative energy sources by means of highly innovative membrane technology (gas separation, ethanol fuel cells, osmosis power plants). Energy efficiency in engineering processes – Energy consumption in the process industry is substantial savings are offered via optimi ations such as through efficient separation pro- cesses as well as through the minimization of process steps. For the separation of high-purity methane from biogas as a basic chemical or fuel, we investigate absorption and membrane processes or ionic liquids that have a high capacity to bind CO2. Noteworthy in this context are also energy-efficient drying processes with superheated steam at atmospheric pressure as well as methods for rapid energy input by means of microwave fields, e g as in pyrolysis processes e have developed an anti-icing coating on film that makes it possible to operate wind tur- bines in freezing weather. Energy storage – To achieve the climate objectives, waste heat that is generated in power plants and many other industrial processes, must be increasingly used. To make excess waste heat available for temporally and spatially decoupled heat requirements, the Fraunhofer IGB is developing thermo-chemical sorption systems for the long-term storage of heat. In addition, new techniques are being developed to utilize electrical energy by binding and converting CO2 into chemical energy carriers, e.g. in the form of longer-chain hydrocarbons. Integrated material flow and energy concepts for municipalities and regions are also to be tackled through approaches using state-of-the-art technologies – in order to replace histori- cally evolved solutions. Therefore, the IGB is also involved with the Fraunhofer Alliances Energy, Construction, and Water Systems as well as with the Fraunhofer System Research for “Morgenstadt”. 123