News 2020

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  • Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have presented the latest figures on the annual electricity generation in Germany. The share of renewables in the net electricity generation (the amount coming from the socket) has exceeded 50 percent for the first time, rising from 46 percent in 2019. Electricity production by wind was again the most important source, with a share of 27 percent. Together, the generation from wind and photovoltaics (183 TWh) surpassed fossil fuels (178 TWh) for the first time.

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  • Following recent EU energy policy development calling for a massive deployment of heat pumps in Europe in the years to come, the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) appointed a new extended board to represent the industry from 2020 to 2022. Dr. Marek Miara, Business Developer Heat Pumps at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, has now joined the board. He was appointed based on his scientific background in heat pump research and development and on his past involvement in the EHPA.

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  • The Energy and Environment Foundation, India, is organizing jointly the Virtual 4th World Water Summit 2020 and the Virtual 11th World Renewable Energy Technology Congress from December 15 to 16. Coinciding with the conference, the annual »Energy And Environment Foundation Excellence Awards« will be presented to outstanding and distinguished energy personalities in the environment and energy sector to serve as a tribute to the awardee’s professionalism and commitment to demonstrate excellence in the fields of Water and Renewable Energy. Dr. Matthias Vetter, Head of Department Electrical Energy Storage at Fraunhofer ISE, has received the award in the category »Renewable Energy Sector«.

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  • Opportunities for joint action
    © TNO

    Industrialization of water electrolysis (WE) technologies is considered a critical step for the large-scale implementation of clean hydrogen and deep-decarbonization of our society. While Europe is strongly positioned to capture the economic value of the growing markets associated with clean hydrogen production, the timeline set by the energy transition requires a more coordinated effort. With the »HySpeedInnovation Joint Action Plan«, a number of leading European Research and Technology (RTO) institutes describe the upscaling challenges that lie ahead and how they can tackle these challenges in order to make Europe a leader in the field of electrolysis. The RTOs (TNO, Fraunhofer ISE, Fraunhofer IFAM, Forschungszentrum Jülich, SINTEF and CEA) also recommend a supporting role for the European Commission and national authorities. Other knowledge institutions from EU Member States have also embraced the call, as has the network Hydrogen Europe Research, which represents several hundred companies and organizations in the field of hydrogen.

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  • For the second year in a row, the Eva-Mayr-Stihl Young Scientist Award of the University of Freiburg goes to a young scientist from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Dr. Felix Predan received the award for his dissertation entitled "Development of highly efficient four-junction solar cells based on antimonides," which he wrote at the Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATECH), University of Freiburg and at Fraunhofer ISE. As part of his work, Felix Predan developed a novel four-junction solar cell based on gallium antimonide (GaSb). With numerous innovative process technologies, a solar cell efficiency of 43.8% under concentrated sunlight could be demonstrated. This efficiency value represents one of the highest efficiencies ever published for the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy. Due to the special circumstances this year, the prize was awarded in the form of a video message by Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein, instead of at a presence event.

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  • © Fraunhofer ISE/Dirk Mahler

    Electricity from solar panels will be a major pillar of a sustainable energy system, and in view of the climate goals, the transformation of our energy system requires a major growth in PV installation. Silicon solar cells which dominate the markets worldwide have seen a tremendous cost reduction, at the same time their efficiency has increased to a level which reaches the theoretical limit of the material. Therefore, Fraunhofer ISE is working on new approaches such as tandem photovoltaics – combining a Silicon based bottom cell with thin layers of III-V semiconductors – in order to produce solar cells with an efficiency going far beyond the theoretical limit of Silicon. Such shifts in technology and materials, however, may have unforeseen environmental impacts, given that the manufacturing of the new generations of tandem solar cells involves energy intensive processes, and requires new and occasionally toxic materials. The III-V/Si tandem PV technology still being at an early R&D stage, motivated the participants in the EU funded project SiTaSol to assess its full environmental impact, including the complete life cycle from production to waste. Researchers from the University of Leiden together with colleagues from Fraunhofer ISE have looked at all the relevant aspects and published their encouraging results in the prestigious journal Energy & Environmental Science. Apart from looking at the life cycle environmental impacts of state-of-the-art III–V/Si PV design concepts, the study also serves as an early guidance to identify more sustainable manufacturing processes of III–V/Si tandem cells that will eventually achieve an optimal balance between cost, efficiency and environmental impacts.

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