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Energy storage systems – research for the energy transition

With the continuously rising share of renewable energies in the energy supply system, storage systems for electrical and thermal energy are becoming ever more important. If electricity is converted before it is stored, for example into hydrogen or other chemical energy sources, this energy can then be used in other energy industry-related sectors and thus for the much-needed coupling of the various sectors, all in addition to re-electrification of stored energy.

To date, however, only few storage technologies have reached the necessary technical maturity at a competitive cost level. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research have recognised the research and development needs in the area of energy storage technology and are developing tailored promotional activities as part of the 6th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government. With the Energy Storage Funding Initiative, both ministries have been supporting innovations for a wide range of storage technologies since 2011. But development is ongoing: the two ministries are pursuing new storage concepts and are further advancing existing technological developments also beyond the Energy Storage Funding Initiative.

  • SmartPowerFlow

    Scientists integrate a large redox-flow battery into the power grid of a German operator. more

  • Open sorption processes

    A junior research group investigated heat and material transfer to an aqueous solution of lithium chloride. more

  • Pump storage concept

    The project “StEnSEA” is investigating the installation of large storage facilities on the sea floor. more

News | 28.2.2017
Cross-programme funding initiative launched

Energy transition in transport

Until now, the energy and transport sectors were considered separately from one another in the energy balance. The “Energy transition in transport” funding initiative by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is entering into force to change that. It is intended to help bring the energy and transport sectors closer together and advance the technological possibilities in a cross-system approach encompassing a wide range of vehicles. ...


Interview | 9.1.2017
StEnSea project manager Matthias Puchta in interview

"The system can be flexibly used"

StEnSea works like a conventional pumped storage power plant, but does not operate with two basins but with hollow spheres on the seabed. Inlet water drives a turbine that generates electricity. The researchers recently tested a concrete prototype at a 1:10 scale in Lake Constance. In the interview, the head of the project, Matthias Puchta from Fraunhofer IWES, talks about the test results and the possible locations for such storage systems. ...


News | 25.7.2016
Thermochemical storage systems

Booster for metal hydrides

When metals combine with hydrogen to form metal hydrides, large amounts of hydrogen are stored in a confined space in the metal lattice. This reversible reaction takes place under slight pressure and releases heat. Metal hydrides are therefore suitable for storing both hydrogen and thermochemical heat. Previous disadvantage: The poor heat conductivity of the hydrides limits the charging and discharging speed considerably. To improve this, researchers are processing the metal hydrides together with graphite, which is highly thermally conductive, to form metal hydride composites in pellet form. With different groups of substances, they can cover the temperature range from room temperature to 400 degrees Celsius.



News | 14.7.2016
Workshop on phase change materials

Encapsulation challenge

Phase change materials (PCM) are a future technology with great potential for thermal energy storage systems. In early July, experts from the fields of research, teaching and enterprise came together to discuss the challenges of PCM technology. All researchers face a similar problem: encapsulation...


News | 7.7.2016

Sound waves reduce charging times

Accumulator charging time is particularly important for electric vehicles. Transport processes in the boundary layer between the electrode and electrolyte are among the limiting factors for charging speed. In the four-year BELAKUSTIK research project, scientists investigated whether charge transport can be accelerated with high-frequency sound waves.



News | 27.6.2016
Seasonal hot water storage tanks for buildings

Storage systems can stay outside

Hot water storage tanks are mostly installed in homes to provide domestic hot water heating and buffer storage for space heating. However, large storage systems that can store solar thermal heat for months take up considerable space in buildings. Researchers have therefore pursued a new approach: they have designed a hot water storage tank that is placed outside. It is particularly efficient thanks to innovative thermal insulation and special charging and discharging.



Interview | 4.4.2016
Interview with Professor Dr Ulrich Wagner

"Power-to-heat and thermal storage are of utmost interest"

In the merit-order study, researchers at the Research Center for Energy Economics (FfE) and 13 industrial partners jointly examined the nature of an economic system infrastructure for reliable energy supply until 2030. Professor Dr Ulrich Wagner, scientific director at FfE, speaks about the study in this interview. He explains the role of functional energy storage systems, and which storage options were most suitable in which situations.



News | 1.3.2016
Long-term heat storage systems

Exploratory drilling in the deep subsurface

On Monday the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences started research drilling on the campus of the Technical University of Berlin in Charlottenburg. The data collected is intended to clarify whether Berlin’s substratum is suitable for storing heating and cooling energy. The study is being accompanied by extensive wellbore measurements and laboratory tests.



News | 20.1.2016
PEM electrolysis

Prototype has been running for 1,000 hours

Hydrogen will become increasingly important in future for supplying energy because it enables large, renewably generated energy volumes to be stored for longer periods. Together with partners from science and industry, scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich are developing methods for producing hydrogen by electrolysing water as part of the Ekolyser project. They have tested more robust and cost-effective materials in a new test facility. The prototype has now reached its intended lifetime of 1,000 hours. It is planned that the developed technology will be ready for operational use on a broad scale by 2020.



News | 8.12.2015
SmartRegion Pellworm

Renewably stored electricity for the island

Wind energy and photovoltaic systems do not always generate power when it is needed. Schleswig-Holstein is therefore testing the local storage of renewably generated electricity on the North Sea island of Pellworm. The SmartRegion Pellworm project has now won first place in the German Renewables Award competition.



Supported by: The Federal Government on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag


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