The Americans are still the world champions in energy consumption, but global warming is causing people to change their way of thinking in the USA too. At renowned universities like MIT in Cambridge, research scientists are working intensively on new concepts to increase energy efficiency, save energy and harness renewable energy sources.
Their aim is not just to develop new technologies, but also to implement existing technical solutions as marketable products – for example energy-saving houses and cost-efficient solar-energy systems. “MIT will cooperate closely with Fraunhofer in this field,” explains Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “The new cooperation proves that our know-how is highly appreciated by elite American universities.”
Alternative energy and energy-saving techniques have so far been a niche market in the USA, but in the opinion of Prof. Eicke R. Weber, Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, that is about to change. “Up to now the market for solar energy has been disproportionately low in the USA. In our work with the research scientists at MIT, we would like to create mechanisms which will support dynamic growth in this area.” The partners in the cooperation complement each other ideally: “ISE is one of the world’s leading institutions in the field of energy efficiency and utilization of renewable energy, but our experience has been primarily focused in Europe. The economic and climatic conditions are different in the USA, as are the standards and regulations, and we benefit from gathering this experience locally.,” states Prof. Roland Schindler, who has been appointed executive director of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems at MIT. “The laboratory will enable us to expand our portfolio and help German companies gain a foothold in the U.S. market.”
Nolan Browne, Director of Business Development for Energy Sectors at the new Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy, believes that MIT will also benefit greatly from the cooperation: “Our aim is to create a bridge between the research at MIT and successful commercialization.” The auspices are good: Professor Tonio Buonassisi, the cooperation partner at MIT, was a member of Prof. Eicke Weber’s former research team at UC Berkeley.
The first research projects are already being prepared. “One of the key areas of work will be to advance the development of solar technology,” explains Browne. “We need cheaper components and a better output, because solar power generation will only be successful on the huge U.S. market if it can compete economically.” It will be necessary not only to improve conventional techniques but also to strike out on new paths. For example, smart circuits and software programs could control and optimize the output of solar power modules, while new materials and processes could make production more economic. Simple assembly systems could reduce installation costs.
Energy-efficient construction will be another major aspect of the new laboratory’s work. Here too, experts anticipate that demand in the USA will increase over the coming decades in the wake of rising energy prices. “We have many years of experience in the fields of building construction and renovation which focus on thermal insulation, reducing electricity consumption and saving heating costs,” states Schindler. “But in this case too, our work has been mainly in Europe. In the USA we have the opportunity to become acquainted with and adjust to climatic conditions which are quite different and also highly diverse.”
Activities at the new Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE will also include the development and optimization of production processes for alternative energy technologies – for example, fuel cells. The research scientists intend to test the functioning of newly developed components with rapid prototyping and to reduce production costs using packaging technology. Collaborative projects are also planned with the neighboring Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation CMI, one of the six institutes already established by Fraunhofer USA. “If everyone contributes their specialist knowledge, we will create a win-win situation,” concludes Browne.
Press Office | alfa
Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat
18.05.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Researchers control the properties of graphene transistors using pressure
17.05.2018 | Columbia University
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology